Women Deliver 2013: Rukaiyah’s experience
Attending the Women Deliver 2013 Conference in Malaysia granted me opportunities that I would have never been able to experience otherwise. Where else would I have been able to play a lead role in delivering a baby? AT PRONTO International’s exhibit booth, I participated in an interactive delivery training exercise, in which I delivered a realistic prop baby while onlookers watched intently. Although the baby was not real, the experience was nevertheless exhilarating! The delivery even involved fake blood, a screaming mother, and clamping the umbilical cord. The closest I’ve ever been to a delivery is whilst watching “Grey’s Anatomy”, but I can now say I have first-hand experience!
One of my favorite parts of the conference was exploring the many booths set up in the Exhibit Hall and networking with professionals from all over the world. The fact that we were always present in our bright red, matching uniforms played an immense role in our experience. It allowed others to recognize us easily and remember us, which led to interesting conversations throughout the conference, and an invitation to a reception at the official residence of the High Commissioner of Canada in Kuala Lumpur!
Participating in the conference also allowed me to grow as a human being and learn to appreciate many of the things I take for granted on a daily basis. Due to the fact that the conference was focused on improving the standard of maternal and newborn health on a global scale, I learned about issues that many women and girls face on a daily basis in developing countries, such as discrimination, violence, and poor health care. I realized just how blessed I am to be living the life I currently lead.
Although I knew I wanted to enter a medical profession prior to attending the conference, I was absolutely certain of this fact by the time the conference concluded. The experience motivated me to aspire to be like the individuals I had the privilege of meeting. Attending the conference also allowed me to fully appreciate how the Girl Guides of Canada supports our growth and development into strong women, and how Guiding has shaped me into the individual I am today. I can only imagine what we can each achieve and contribute in the future through the sisterhood of Guiding.
By guest blogger Rukaiyah L. Rukaiyah has been a member of the Girl Guides of Canada for the past 11 years and is currently the Chair of the Ontario Girl Advisory Forum.
Women Deliver 2013: Carly’s experience
Attending the Women Deliver 2013 conference as a Youth Representative for Girl Guides of Canada was a dream come true for me. I have been a fan of what Women Deliver stands for a few years now, however I never imagined that I would actually be given the chance to attend one of their global conferences.
Living in Canada we get such a false sense of comfort concerning problems in the world around us. I cherish the way Women Deliver opened my eyes and gave me a first-hand look at the problems facing people my age around the world. A story that really stuck with me was that of a young Indian girl named Sarita Prabhakar Wagh. She came from a small town in rural India where the majority of girls dropped out of school and married before their 18th birthdays. Sarita refused to get married before she was allowed to fully complete her education – university and all. She changed the way people in her village saw girls which lead to a drastic change in early marriage and school completion rates. I feel as though Sarita is the type of girl that Girl Guides encourages us to be: independent, outspoken, and a trailblazer.
Initially I had been worried that I would feel out of place alone in a session with distinguished adults who experienced and specialized in the topics I had only ever read about. I couldn’t have been more wrong. People were thrilled to hear that Girl Guides of Canada was involved in an event such as this and they treated us as peers. One of my highlights from the conference was from my very first session on the very first day. I left my inhibitions behind and got up to voice my opinion and ask a question about the panel’s thoughts on the education of young girls when it comes to sexual and reproductive rights. It was life changing to realize that I could make my mark with something as simple as that.
I will never forget the lessons I learned and the connections I made on this trip. It helped me decide to pursue a career in human rights and to never stop fighting for a better world.
By guest blogger Carly C. Carly is a grade 11 student from Edmonton, Alberta. She has been in Guiding for 11 years, 5 of which she has also spent as a Junior Leader with a Sparks group.