Unfortunately, women and children typically face more setbacks and trauma in times of conflict. Even during times of peace, many women and girls still endure gender and structural violence. All individuals have the right to live their lives without fear, conflict, or threat of violence. Thus, my decision to pursue a career that focuses on empowering individuals who are taken advantage of or stripped of their basic human rights.
I have been surrounded by strong women my entire life, whether they be women from my community, fictional characters, or even women that I read about on the internet. My life has been shaped by female figures and I would not be where I am today without the empowerment of women in my life. I believe that women are a valuable tool and a key component in strengthening communities. However, in many parts of the world they face discrimination, experience higher levels of violence, and are often denied basic human rights. This is true for many women in Iraq, where countless women and girls are being raped, tortured, and enslaved by members of ISIS. And the situation is still disconcerting for Iraqi women in camps as they are subject to abuse of power, human trafficking, and at times forced into early marriages.
Looking back on my life, I realize that all I have accomplished is due to the empowerment of women in my life as well as the education and encouragement I received. Therefore, I admire EPIC’s TentEd initiative as it allows all girls and boys a chance to receive an education. When times were unstable, I always had the ability to turn to school as an escape. School played an important role in my formative years. If it were not for the support of teachers and the women in my family, my life would be drastically different. Therefore, I realize the importance behind education and youth development. Education does not just benefit the current generation, it creates a ripple effect of opportunities for generations to come.
My commitment to education, peace and security is what drew me to EPIC in the first place. EPIC has shown support and dedication to the youth in Iraq by providing humanitarian relief and school supplies to youth and their families. Access to education is a fundamental right and merits increased attention from the international community. Therefore, I am grateful for this opportunity to support EPIC’s work and bring more awareness to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.