HAWA & NASRA MIRE - Vancouver, BC
These sisters from Surrey, BC, joined Andrea’s leadership program as teenagers. “When I started Go Girls, I never spoke,” Nasra remembers. “I gradually realized that it was important to say what I needed to say. It helped that everyone in the room shared the experience of having a cultural difference from the mainstream.”
“I am not afraid to share my views anymore. Actually, now I’m a motivational speaker in my job! Last week I spoke to 600 people at a high school to encourage them to get involved in global issues.”
Hawa says that Go Girls opened doors for her, especially the community projects they undertook each year as part of the National Day of Action sponsored by Girls Action. “We decided what we wanted to do – on poverty, or racism, or to build intergenerational connections with older women. Then Andrea connected us to a lot of people in the community, taught us how to network, and helped us figure out how to organize events.”
Those opportunities, plus Girls Action’s leadership training workshops, were “stepping stones” to a great achievement. In 2008, Hawa and Nasra founded a new organization that is affecting youth at home and across the globe.
Point Youth Media trains young people in BC and in Uganda to use digital video, sound and photo and oral storytelling. With these tools, youth express what’s important to them and connect with youth from different cultures to talk about global issues.
Hawa’s goal is to create programs just for African and Black girls. “We usually don’t think of it, but boys have a lot of places that are just for them, like sports or youth centres that are actually geared towards male youth. Girls don’t have the same kind of spaces.”
“It was really important for us to go to East Africa because our family is from Somalia,” Nasra explains. “When I talk with girls in Uganda, I try to give them tools, encouragement, and information, like I got. Go Girls made me believe I could do more in life, and that is what I want to pass on.”
“We need these girls. These are the young people that will be responsible for the changes that need to happen in our world.” – Hawa Mire