"I am a passionate advocate for the rights of women around the world. My passion derives from my unique journey to getting to where I am today. When I was three years old, my family fled the civil war in Somalia and we came to Calgary where I was raised and educated. As a current nursing student at Mount Royal University, my dream is to engage and empower women globally while one day creating a nursing program for my war torn homeland of Somalia.
Last summer I took part in organizing and participating in ‘Step Up For Somalia’, a walk that raised over $30,000, in which we donated to Oxfam Canada’s East Africa Fund to help those affected by the drought and famine. Our walk was to honor the lives of all the women, men, and children who were walking for nearly 40 days to find food and water. We wanted to show solidarity that we saw them, felt their pain, and wanted to help in some small way. It was a full circle moment for me because I came from Somalia but with my education, I was now in a position to give back.
The experience was amazing because it showed me the power of a single person. It began with a simple idea, and before we knew it, we were receiving support and donations from around the world, and the media quickly took notice. Within weeks, the walking movement had spread and a total of ten other cities walked for Somalia. It taught me that the youth can have a powerful impact in creating social change and that we can make a difference.
My interest in Oxfam is rooted from my strong belief in the importance of educating and empowering women around the world. I admire Oxfam’s approach in creating a world free of poverty and injustice through the promotion of gender equality and through the empowerment of communities within developing countries.
As the current Regional Youth Liaison for Oxfam Canada, I have had the opportunity to encourage and engage youth within the Prairie region in issues related to food sustainability. Through participation in various community and campus club events, I have been able to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for Oxfam’s work on a local level. On International Women’s Day, our University of Calgary Oxfam campus club stood in solidarity with campuses across Canada in support of women working in the Global South – we had over 100 students sign our “hands-on” petition.
While I volunteer to help others, volunteering with Oxfam Canada has also changed my life. Through volunteering with Oxfam, I have learned about important social and gender issues. Oxfam Canada has also allowed me to discover the essential role that advocacy plays in bringing about social justice. Oxfam is an organization that has had a huge impact in my life and in the lives of millions of women around the world; and I know that it takes every single volunteer to make that happen."