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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Gabriela Fuentealba

Gabriela Fuentealba

by Oxfam | May 17, 2010

I am a second year political studies student at the University of Saskatchewan. I was born in Saskatoon but my parents are both from Chile and came to Canada as refugees. My background has a lot to do with my interest in Political studies and social justice.

I’ve always been involved with the Hispanic community in my city and during high school I volunteered with a youth run organization focusing on celebrating and educating diversity and multiculturalism. I currently work as the Youth Liaison for SCIC (Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation) , an international development organization based in Saskatchewan.

Ever since I was a child I have been volunteering my time whether at a community event or through school. My mother’s interest in social justice has had a huge influence on me as well in terms of the types of books that were on my shelves at home. When I came across Oxfam it was a perfect fit for me. I appreciated that Oxfam establishes long-term relationships with partners to affect sustainable and positive change; I considered this unique among many other organizations that I have encountered before. In terms of volunteering for Oxfam I was excited and impressed with the information available and the promotion of youth leadership within the organization.

I started off my involvement with Oxfam by tabling at local events and from there once I was comfortable with my knowledge of Oxfam’s work I had the opportunity to facilitate workshops. From there, I became involved in the Regional Steering Committee for the Prairies as the Regional Youth Liaison which has allowed me to take on more of a leadership role. My involvement has not only affected others in positive ways but has been and continues to be a growing experience for me.

My most rewarding experience as an Oxfam member has been becoming connected with like minded peers working together to achieve the same goals and the impact I believe I have had on other youth my age and younger. I had the opportunity to do a workshop at a student conference for middle school aged students and was blown away by the enthusiasm and intelligent discourse between us. The ability to empower youth and make them aware that they can help affect change through Oxfam has been very rewarding.

Being Involved in Oxfam has filled a gap in my schooling. Being a student of political studies the focus is often on states and leaders and all too often ignores the implications of policies at the local and personal level. As a human being I consider Oxfam’s principles and actions to be fundamentally important and relevant to everyone in the world. Not only have I gained in terms of my education but also through the leadership skills I have acquired that can only continue to benefit me in the future.

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