During our 25th Anniversary celebration, we are introducing you to the dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to promote greater access to education. This month we meet Betsy, who first met ACCESO president Christine on a bus, coming back to Ottawa from the Montreal Airport. Both were returning from travel to Latin America, and immediately recognized their shared desire to help others. It was on this bus trip that Betsy learned about ACCESO and was inspired to become a volunteer.
Christine and I traveled together to Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, in May and June 2006. The purpose of our trip was to conduct a series of evaluation interviews for our human rights project for women and to visit the education project sites funded by ACCESO International. By conducting the interviews, we wanted to know if human rights training was actually benefiting the women. The interviews were powerful, showing that the project – the first of its kind for participants – achieved its objectives. It represented a unique and innovative initiative that raised awareness about and increased the women’s knowledge of their inalienable human rights in a rural area. The participants gained greater self-confidence and awareness of discrimination against women. I found the human rights training to be remarkable. I was thrilled to witness women that initially had very low self-esteem transform into leaders, willing to push for their rights and to help each other.
I would like to commend the role of ACCESO International in empowering women and young students in Bolivia. It is amazing to witness the positive change in the women and the students who have participated in the human rights training. My experience working with the Centro Integral WARMI in Cochabamba, Bolivia will always remain special in my heart as it helped me to understand that the best way to build a better society is to give people the opportunities and the tools to build a better world themselves and with dignity. This has and will continue to motivate me to volunteer. ACCESO, Happy 25th year!Betsy