‚ÄúI was overwhelmed with joy and disbelief when I got the phone call from Geneva! I'm so glad I answered the mysterious international number,‚ÄĚ says Aych.
‚ÄúIt is a great honour to be accepted into this programme and one that I accept with a huge level of responsibility. I'm eager to learn how to use the knowledge and resources we will be equipped with to contribute to human rights advocacy work here in Oceania.‚ÄĚ
Aych has always been dedicated to making the world a better place. "I was that kid in high school who prioritised social justice projects over maths much to the pain of my dean and form teacher! " they say.
"From coordinating bake sales, mufti days to letter writing campaigns for our Amnesty International student group and Young Vinnies (St Vincent De Paul Society) my heart has always been invested in using what we have to make the world a better (or less crappy) place. "As I started to come out as a young adult and share this part of me with the world, a deep anger about the tough ride that parts our community experiences in our cis-hetero world started to settle in my heart. Through whńĀnau and school I was taught to get stuck in and positively impact what I can as a way of processing the tough stuff in the world."
For Aych, this is an opportunity of a lifetime and one that has the potential to benefit LGBTI communities both here and abroad. The programme equips human rights defenders like Aych, with the knowledge and skills to make strategic use of the international human rights system.
‚ÄúI get terrified thinking just how massive this step could be - the networking opportunities are massive,‚ÄĚ says Aych. ‚ÄúAs part of our time in Geneva as participants in the Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Programme we get to participate in the 32nd sitting of the UN Human Rights Council, an opportunity that I hope will lead to international human rights advocacy work for and within our rainbow communities.
‚ÄúThe opportunity to work alongside human rights defenders from around the world will no doubt be a life changing experience. I'm also looking forward to learning how our work here in Oceania fits into the global human rights picture.‚Äč And spending time‚Äč also‚Äč with our ILGA whńĀnau‚Äč will be awesome!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI'm super thankful for the generosity of the ISHR in covering most of the expenses, but I need help to get over the finish line. As a dear friend said to me recently, it costs just to breathe the air in Geneva!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThere are two ways you can help support me to get over the fundraising finish line, I‚Äôm crocheting up a storm and filling my etsy store with rainbow bunting or you can let me know if you would like to make a donation to my Geneva account and I can send you a postcard from the UN HQ!‚ÄĚ
Get in touch with Aych to find out how to make a donation at firstname.lastname@example.org