Guest post by Melanie MacDonald, Communications Coordinator in Atlantic Canada
Meet Rose Al Mayaleh. Originally from Damascus, Syria, she and her family immigrated to Canada five years ago for safety reasons and for a better future. Since her arrival, Rose has faced a series of culture shocks and firsts. “Not one thing was familiar to me,” said Rose, adding how especially difficult it was to leave family and friends behind. Adapting to a new language and Canadian winters, Rose gradually became more involved with her adopted community of Charlottetown. Last year, she took part in Move Your World, a global issues youth symposium held annually in Atlantic Canada, and it’s had a lasting impact.
Move Your World promotes global social justice and active global citizenship and is coordinated by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross. Participating youth explore topics such as peace and conflict, climate change, children and war, gender equity, and poverty.
Move Your World absolutely changed my perspective on everything. I wanted to attend because I was passionate about global issues and wished to expand my knowledge to learn how to be more involved.
Rose became especially moved about the plight of child soldiers. “It breaks my heart to see what these kids have to go through. The amazing thing about the conference is that it helps you realize how much of a difference you can make as an individual to this big world. It opens your eyes to many issues that you’ve never thought about before and it motivates you to take action starting from the day you go back home.”
Rose continued in her quest to educate others on the plight of child soldiers. After the conference, she contacted the Red Cross and set up a workshop for her high school class. “For me personally I wanted to be part of the change we all wish to see in the world.”
For more information on Move Your World and other global issues activities and events for youth in Atlantic Canada, check out www.redcross.ca/hipnews.