I remember how excited I was when I found out that I had been selected to participate in the Sister-To-Sister Mentorship Program and feeling curious about all of the new people I was about to meet and the new things I would learn. I also remember looking down from the airplane window when I landed in Ottawa and thinking “this is actually happening!”
Everything I learned throughout the curriculum sessions and the everyday work at the Nobel Women’s Initiative is very important and useful for any human right’s activist. But, what stayed with me the most is the deep commitment to their work and their respect for the women whose voices they amplify. That’s really important. All around the world, women are doing amazing efforts to achieve peace, equality and justice, but we all do it in different ways; some do it through politics, legal processes, advocating, networking, protesting or education, others do it by spirituality, support groups, healing or arts. And all of these different approaches are equally valuable and essential for making our societies better for women.
Being able to recognize the diversity of the women’s movement for peace is priceless, and learning to understand the differences and similarities between women from all kinds of backgrounds really helps to open your mind and creating that sisterhood that will help achieve true equality for women.
I’m very grateful for all of the absolutely amazing people I met because of the Sister-To-Sister Mentorship Program, specially my fellow participants Su Thet San and Josephine Gekpelee, the staff of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Leymah Gwobee and Jody Williams and all of the amazing women activists we met. I’m also grateful because this experience has allowed me to connect with other activists in Guatemala. I feel so inspired by all of them and learned so much from the great work they do.
It’s difficult to say exactly what the future holds for my career as I embark on different projects and explore various ideas. What I do know is that I will continue to stand up for women’s human rights, to help women find the justice that has been denied for so many of them and to work with other women to try to make this country more fair and equal for all of us. It’s exciting to know there are so many Guatemalan women working to achieve this and to see the women’s movement getting stronger and moving forward. There is still much to do, specially to encourage more women and girls to fully participate in the decision making-processes and make their voices be heard, but we will succeed in our efforts.
Thank you all!
Gabriela was one of the Nobel Women’s Initiative Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program participants in 2013. She has just returned home after spending six weeks in Ottawa with our team and two other young women’s rights activists from Liberia and Myanmar.
Read the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program blog to find out more about Gabriela’s experience in Canada.