Girls Belong Here Riti, an arts student at the University of British Columbia, spent time learning the ropes at BMO – and it changed her career trajectory. PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT
JOINING IS EASY! Plan International Canada offers youth age 14 to 24 of all gender identities opportunities to deepen their awareness of global issues and recognize their power as advocates. They can sign up to develop leadership skills, learn about advocacy and connect with like-minded change makers via the Youth Opportunities page on our website where they’ll find descriptions of everything from our Speakers Bureau to our Champions of Change clubs. They can also receive our monthly e-newsletter for program updates, resources and scholarship opportunities.
The Making of a Global Citizen Youth activist Jennifer shares how she learned to make a difference.
Q: How did this experience change you? A: “It helped me break out of my own fears. I even applied to another business organization for a co-op opportunity afterwards – and that’s something I would not have done before. Because I come from an arts background, I didn’t think that I was suitable for these kinds of jobs. But once I saw Sharon in action, I realized that I also have value to bring to the table. This GBH program opened my eyes to what’s possible. Now, I’m a risk-analyst intern at Deloitte.” Q: What advice do you have for other girls who are trying to figure out where they belong? A: “I think a lot of young people have this perception that to do a job, you need to have a certain background but in the real world, people come from diverse backgrounds and have diverse experiences. That’s why I think this program is great; it shows how important it is to try different things and break out of your comfort zone.” 40 youths and 17 partner organizations from Canada, the U.S., Switzerland and Sweden participated in Girls Belong Here initiatives in 2022.
PERIOD PIECE Menstrual Health Day was the theme for the seventh annual Storytellers Symposium in May. “It’s a day that aims to end stigma and achieve menstrual justice,” President and CEO Lindsay Glassco shared with participants. As one attendee noted, “Not educating others on inclusivity only breeds exclusion.” One of the guest speakers was the Honourable Marci Ien, minister of for women and gender equality and youth. “ Take the time to understand what your story is, to write your story, and I promise you that it will all become clearer.” – Hon. Marci Ien, Canada’s minister for women and gender equality and youth
Riti is “growing” in her career thanks to Girls Belong Here.
BY THE NUMBERS GIFTS OF HOPE
JENNIFER HAS BEEN AN ACTIVIST since she was in elementary school. She’s a second-generation South Sudanese Canadian whose family came to Canada in 2000. She first became involved with Plan International Canada’s Champions of Change and Youth for Gender Equality programs. Today, she’s a member of the Youth Council. The 21-year-old is studying international development at the University of Ottawa and is a co-founder of Black in Sask, an organization devoted to supporting Saskatchewan’s Black community. We asked her if she thinks most young people realize they have the power to bring about change, and her answer is swift and decisive: “No, and I think it’s important that we disrupt that narrative – the ‘Oh, you’re too young; you’ll learn when you get older,’” she says. “It all comes down to a human voice, and you have one. You have a voice you can use.”
Since 2016, Girls Belong Here (GBH) has created opportunities for Riti and other young women (age 14–24) to step into leadership roles, helping demonstrate that women have a right to equal opportunities in all industries. Q: You were paired with Sharon Haward-Laird, general counsel at BMO Financial Group. That’s a pretty big deal. Were you nervous? A: “Oh, I was so nervous! It’s intimidating to work with a successful woman when you’re still figuring out what you want to do with your life. But she made me feel welcome and was open to answering all my questions. ”
$386 , 301 The $100 Girl Power gift raised:
It all comes down to a human voice, and you have one. You have a voice you can use.” – Jennifer, Youth Council member at Plan International Canada
It’s hard to be an activist when you’re routinely silenced and denied your basic rights. The Girl Power gift is one of our most popular choices when it comes to making sure girls have the support they need to thrive. It provides them with nourishment, education and protection so they can shape their future and change the world.
58 | 2022 Annual Report
2022 Annual Report | 59
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