I am passionate aboutI have always been most passionate about education. Or at least, I have been
for the past 15 years. I was exposed to the reality that not everyone has
access to education at a very young age, and that stuck with me since.
Education is a human right that is so often violated for a whole host of
reasons, but is one of the greatest tools for peace building, empowerment,
gender equality, and positive change.
When I started out as a teacher 9 years ago, I never thought that I would end
up in the type of education I am now, which is sexual and reproductive health
education. But, after engaging with it over the past year, I can't imagine a
more neglected and perfect area of education to be involved in. The
organization I work for, The Unmentionables, provides sexual and reproductive
health education and items, as well as empowerment and protection programming
to forcibly displaced populations around the world. It is working within this
context that has reminded me that sexual and reproductive health education is
something every person needs. It's become my new passion, and I don't see
that changing anytime soon.
ActionsIn the year I've worked with The Unmentionables, I have been able to see the
incredible impact that is possible when working with like-minded, dedicated
and innovative people. Since January, when we launched the majority of our
programs--which include Education, Health & Hygiene and Protection--we have
directly reached over 8,000 people who have been forcibly displaced from
their homes. My contribution to this is mostly through education, where I am
responsible for developing our current curriculum and have been lucky enough
to train 12 incredible women in Greece and Uganda in it. These women have
then gone on to teach hundreds of other women in their native languages, in a
space that we created that is safe, comfortable and inspiring.
Through this education, men and women are able to make informed decisions
about their health, their bodies and their futures. Women, who didn't before
know of their reproductive rights, feel empowered and powerful. Men, who have
either perpetrated, are a survivor of, or witnessed sexual and gender-based
violence, are guided through themes of conflict resolution, gender roles,
masculinity and the responsibility they have to be violence-free.
The more work we do, the more work I realize there is to do. I plan on being
part of the solution that fills the huge gaps that exist in sexual and
reproductive health education and information for a long, long time.