When I first arrived in Ottawa I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited about the Canadian and life experience I was going to have. I was happy to finally meet Ashley, the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program Coordinator, who put a lot of effort into preparing me and the other participants before our arrival in Canada.
One of the best things that happened to me during the program was meeting Andrea, the brave journalist and activist from Guatemala; and Alice, the eloquent activist from South Sudan who has great experience working with different civil society organizations. I was very impressed by the work they do in their countries. Since meeting Andrea and Alice, I have learned a lot about the political, economic and social backgrounds of Guatemala and South Sudan. They gave me better insight into the human rights situations in Guatemala and South Sudan.
A great thing about the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program, aside from the intensive trainings and sessions at the Nobel Women’s Initiative, is that we were able to practice what we learned. Nobel Women’s Initiative set up meetings for us with Members of Parliament and other government officials. These meetings were a great opportunity for me to share and reflect on the situation back in my country, Sudan, and the work I carry out as a woman human rights defender. The meetings were also a good opportunity to expand my network here in Canada and New York City, and reach out to different NGOs and activists.
One of the many inspiring people I met during the program was Nobel Laureate Jody Williams. I was very inspired and encouraged by her work to ban anti-personnel landmines, and defend human rights, especially women’s rights.
The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program has been instrumental in teaching me how to organize, mobilize, and facilitate for the causes I believe in. The program has definitely taken my activism to a higher level of effectiveness. This experience has motivated me and given me the tools necessary to pursue the issues that I am interested in. I will try to bring back what I have learned to other young people I work with in my country.