Joining us in Ottawa between 30 August and 13 October for the inaugural session of the new Sister to Sister Mentorship Program:
Maria Luisa Aguilar Rodriguez
International Unit Officer, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan”
A passionate human rights defender from Mexico. Educated in international relations and human rights. After studying and working for a year on a conflict prevention project in the United Kingdom, she moved to the southwest of Mexico, joining an amazing organization: the Human Rights Center “Tlachinollan”. Tlachinollan is a non-governmental organization working for the last 18 years on the promotion and defense of human rights of the naua, me’phaa, na savi and nn’ancuee indigenous people and mestizos from the Montaña and Costa Chica region of Guerrero. We are based and work in one of the most impoverished regions of Mexico, where marginalization, discrimination and exclusion are a reality for most indigenous people.
Media Coordinator, Stop the Wall Campaign
Born and raised in Occupied Palestine. Studied journalism and political science in Birziet University as a way to share her country's cause with the world. After volunteering with the Stop the Wall Campaign, started working there in 2009 and then became Media Coordinator. Her role involves sharing the life stories of Palestinian people under occupation with the world and to expose the apartheid system that has been implemented against my people by the Israeli Occupation. "As a Palestinian living under occupation, I endure daily difficulties and challenges. I share similar stories to others in the West Bank – I was raised in family where my father was arrested, and then my mother and my older sister when she was only 8 months old were detained as pressure on my father. Two of my extended family members have spent more than 30 years in the Israeli jails, and many other friends and cousins around me share similar stories, so I have always had to think how to spread my people’s stories and this daily truth."
Walaa Salah Mohamed Abdelrhman
Sudan Advocacy and Networking Officer, Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA)
Studied law at the University of Khartoum where she became deeply involved in politics to promote democracy. Elected first woman and the youngest president of the university's student union. Joined the team as a full time staff member at Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) two months after graduation. As an advocacy and networking officer for SIHA’s Sudan’s program, Walaa works on the efforts to reform the discriminatory laws in Sudan especially the public order regime, a set of laws restricting the participation of women in both public and private arenas. The laws impact everything from prohibiting the dancing of women in-front-of/with men to the restriction of the work of women in the informal sector, especially as street vendors. IShe also works on the issues of women’s economical empowerment and to get recognition for the work of the women in the informal sector, and above all – at SIHA – for the rights of the women and the people of the Horn of Africa to get sustainable peace, democracy and gender equality.