"I was first drawn to Oxfam when I finished my degree in Visual Art and Women’s Studies in 2011. I was looking for a space in which to engage in women’s issues and to continue my growth and education beyond university. I started out by simply listening and gradually became more comfortable until I was out there, using my public speaking skills to speak about Oxfam’s campaigns. The Advocacy and Outreach Committee (AOC) is organized into sub-committees, and I chose to get involved in research. Through the gathering and simplifying information, I have developed confidence in speaking publicly about issues that are important to me.
Engaging in Oxfam’s work, I have further developed my research and public speaking skills. I have gained a significant amount of leadership experience, which I will continue to build on, and which will surely benefit me in the future. I have learned a huge amount, but most of all, I have been able to express the importance of women’s rights and why they are central to finding solutions to ending global poverty. This level of analysis makes Oxfam Canada’s approach to social justice informed and responsive to the realities of our world. An approach that is unlike anything I have seen anywhere else.
Oxfam’s communal and inclusive approach has inspired me to continue on with my work in the AOC. Anyone can volunteer, and the roundtable approach to decision making in community organizing has allowed for many ideas to be voiced and heard. Although these may sometimes seem like small actions, I truly believe that the personal is political – and our committee work is a political action. Our form and our focus (Oxfam’s agenda) give me hope for the future of social justice and women’s rights.
Finally, Oxfam has helped me greatly in my search for something more. I was tired of simply observing suffering in my world community and I wanted to take action. At first, I saw myself as a helper, someone who was very different from the people who needed help. Over time, after engaging many different people and issues from all across our globe, I see that there is very little that separates me from everyone else. I continue volunteering with Oxfam because it fills me with hope. I see hundreds of people continue to give their time and money year after year – there are so many compassionate people who care and want to be there for people who are suffering, and that is what keeps me motivated to continue giving my time to Oxfam."