First of all I would like to thank my organization Edu Net and other colleagues who encouraged me to participate in the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program organized by Nobel Women’s Initiative. During my residency in Ottawa, I enjoyed the sessions facilitated by the skillful trainers, lobbied Members of Parliament and spoke on one panel entitled “Young women leading change” at the University of Regina and another at the University of Ottawa. These experiences were priceless.
The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program has empowered me to be a strong women’s advocate and to help other young girls realize their potential to create a brighter future for them. I’m determined to amplify their voices to the international community whenever I have opportunities.
I am now back in Myanmar continuing my work at Edu Net. However, I am trying to apply my knowledge and experiences in my organization. I am now planning some advocacy in our target communities so that they become more interested in promoting opportunities for young women. Last month, I met a head monk of the monastic school in our project area and had a discussion with him. At his monastic school, I learned that he practiced student-centered approaches. I had a chance to share my knowledge on how to organize within the community and which advocacy strategy would be more suitable for this community to include other community members in our efforts to promote women’s rights and education.
Apart from applying my knowledge in my work, I am going to network with other women’s organization in Myanmar and work closely with them. I had a meeting with officials from an organization “Women for the World” in Myanmar and we discussed ways to work together and be change agents and activists for women’s rights in Myanmar.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Nobel Women’s Initiative for accepting me as a member of their team but also to give me this great opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills which I can apply in my organization for the betterment of disadvantaged women and girls. Before I came back to Myanmar, I came to realize, I am not alone. The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program has strengthened my knowledge and provided me with new skills which I can apply in my work from the community level to the government level. Personally, I think that if we want to bring change to our community, we must be the change ourselves and an agent of change for people who are disadvantaged and forgotten like women and girls of the marginalized communities.
During the panel session, one person asked me a question: what I would encourage future women rights activities who are interested in women rights movements do. My answer was that even though Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Su Kyi had been arrested for so many years, she did not give up on bringing democracy for the citizens of Myanmar. She was my inspiration and she encourages me not to give up and try my best to address violence against women and girls.
Su Thet San 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 Guatemala and Liberia.