A few weeks ago I arrived in Canada with nothing more than two suitcases and a few doubts. I came with a lot of curiosity about the local culture and a lot of interest in learning from Nobel Women’s Initiative.
My expectations of the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program were completely exceeded. The level of learning and the content of each workshop was deeply rewarding.
One aspect of the program that was very interesting for me was having the opportunity to speak with Canadian Members of Parliament. I shared the stories of Guatemalan women and communities working to protect their environment from Canadian mining companies, and how the Guatemalan government criminalizes them for their efforts. I proposed specific actions that the government of Canada can do to protect women human rights defenders, and influence the actions of Canadian mining companies operating abroad.
It was also very important for me to have the opportunity to meet so many activists and human rights defenders. Canadian activists, similar to those in my country, are working very hard to forge respect for indigenous communities in Canada, and to end impunity and violence against women. The ties of solidarity that I have woven this month are very strong and will continue to grow. I am eager to link the knowledge and experiences I gained from the program with youth in my country, and with those who work alongside our communities.
I treasure every moment of my time in Ottawa, including seeing the forest in autumn, walking along the canal, and meeting two wonderful women full of strength and energy, Maha and Alice. These women inspire me in every single way. Learning about their history, their daily struggles, and witnessing their efforts, patience and determination has been a reaffirmation of the importance of our work. I will return home full of hope. My bags are now full of ideas and books, and I will carry so many wonderful people inside my heart.