I was born and raised in Minsk, Belarus, and came to Canada with my parents five years ago. I study social anthropology at Simon Fraser University and learned about Oxfam’s work from Oxfam’s Regional Staff, Miriam Palacios, who made a presentation in my class on international development. Having spent a lot of time in academic setting examining what does not work, it was refreshing and very inspiring to learn about what actually does work from a practitioner. I realized that Oxfam’s vision of international development compliments my own ideas, especially when it comes to placing focus on women’s rights.
I was given an opportunity to participate in the We Can End All Violence against Women campaign (We Can) that was launched in British Columbia in 2007, and currently I am chairing Oxfam’s We Can campaign committee in the region. I am also involved with a number of other projects related to women’s rights, as well as in the work of Oxfam’s Regional Steering Committee.
My most rewarding experience as an Oxfam member was the chance to attend the Regional Assembly in October of 2007. Being a brand new member at the time, I found myself in a very friendly, welcoming and inspiring atmosphere. I met wonderful and dedicated people, and learned about the organization itself, its goals and strategies. I felt honoured to be the part of the incredibly important work that Oxfam does in Canada and globally. It was truly empowering.
My involvement with Oxfam has been quite a transformative experience. Being a student of social science, I got a chance to test many of the theories and to apply my knowledge in the `real world setting. I have acquired alot of valuable skills and met very interesting people. Oxfam keeps challenging me both personally and professionally, therefore, I continue to learn and grow.