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Jean: Empowering Others to Dream

 

Since graduating from university, what are you doing now?

I work with a United Nations affiliated organization in New York which focuses on social justice. I am creating an advocacy framework for the interns in the organization to help women facing social injustices.

How has FIH helped you achieve your dream?

My dreams continue to evolve and change over time. My first dream was to finish university, and FIH contributed greatly to this achievement. Through the scholarships, leadership development, and mentorship programs, FIH opened up my worldview and capacity to dream. Growing up, I was willing to settle for the bare minimum because my priority was to survive; but I have realized that I am capable of reaching greater ambitions. Now that I have completed university, I am working toward new dreams.

How have you transformed since being with FIH?

 

Before FIH, I was filled with anger and did not know that I had something to offer the world. Even regarding my talents, I knew I could sing but I did not know to what extent. With my schooling, I knew I wanted to go to school and receive an education, but I did not know to what extent. I knew I could speak, but there were several cultural limitations that I needed to adhere to. My ambitions were limited in that sense. Through FIH, I learned that having ambitions is not bad, and that I can strive for my wildest dreams.  FIH created a space where my potential, hopes, and talents came to light. They provided a space where I could use my art to connect to other girls, and they encouraged me to use my voice.

What was your most favorite moment at FIH?

 

At the retreats I was able to fellowship with people who are like-minded, and we connected through our experiences and backgrounds. At the retreat, you feel a sense of belonging. You are able to talk about issues that most people would avoid, processing what you went through and learning how to move forward. I was also able to sing and express my art, which was so fulfilling for me. My favorite retreat was when the other girls and I created a stage play and performed it in a day. Seeing their personalities come to life through our play was my favorite moment.

Why is the work of FIH important?

 

Most organizations only provide education and funds, and you grow up feeling like a charity case. What I love about FIH is the fact that they provide holistic care. They are aware of all the connecting aspects that encompass your whole being. They provide opportunities for you to vocalize your needs and aspirations, and they help you acquire them. It is important for women who have experienced violence and poverty to know that their voice is heard and important.

What is your future vision for yourself?

 

I want to be able to touch another girl’s life, and be in a position where I can make policies that will transform the lives of women. I want to be an advocate who is not afraid to speak up against gender discrimination and sexual violence. My calling is to uplift women who are survivors of rape and poverty. I want to ensure that the system adjusts to meet the needs of disadvantaged women in the community, and until we see change, we can empower these women to be the ones who will take a stand within their spheres of influence.

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