“You don’t have to do something on a grand scale; just live your values and stand up for what you believe in.”

-Elizabeth Roden

Age: 29

Hometown: Glendon, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta

Affiliations: Operation Eyesight (ACGC Member)

what influenced you to become a change-maker?

From an early age, I’ve always believed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I helped form a leadership group at my high school and was eager to learn more about world issues. In 2007, I moved to Calgary to pursue a degree in public relations at Mount Royal University. Having grown up in a relatively homogeneous community during the early days of social media, I was aware that my worldview was a bit limited. I was eager to learn more about the world by getting to know those in my new community, taking an international relations class, and travelling. Now I’m leading the Communications team at an international development organization. Through all of this, I never thought of myself as a changemaker; I’m simply a global citizen, learning, sharing, and doing my part to make the world a better place. You could say I’m a lifelong learner.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

253 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired, and close to two thirds of those are women, as they don’t get access to servicess with the same frequency as men. I’m passionate about Operation Eyesight’s program model, in which women are empowered to become part of the solution. We train women who live and work in communities surrounding our partner hospitals to become community health workers. They go door-to-door, screening every single person in their communities, and referring those with eye problems to the nearest hospital or vision centre for treatment. They educate families about eye health and other topics such as nutrition, immunization, and maternal health

How does the work you do addressing gender inequality connect to progress on the other Sustainable Development Goals?

There are many examples of how our work helps achieve many of the SDGS: When people can see, they can work (#1) and go to school (#4), and communities thrive as a whole (#8). We promote eye health and general health (#3), empower women and provide them with equal care (#5), and we partner with governments, hospitals, and other INGOs to achieve all of this (#17).

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Ashley Anderson

"Become informed and be aware of how gender inequality manifests itself in your own circles and your own experiences." -Ashley Anderson Age: 23 Hometown: Olds, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto I was raised in a rural community in Central Alberta. Although I love my hometown, I also really love travelling and learning about other cultures. During my undergraduate degree, I spent two semesters abroad, studying in both Sweden and in Singapore. For my...

Hannah Mercader

"You don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to make a special impact. Be mindful of how to make the small moments count." -Hannah Mercader Age: 27 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary From a very young age, I have always had an interest in the health of vulnerable populations. Being born in rural Philippines and growing up in a low-income immigrant family in Canada, I understand...

Glenielia Ariel Crawler

"Be a changemaker by being a leader. Think big and believe in yourself. Be resilient; work with communities. Do what moves you." -Glenielia Ariel Crawler Age: 27 Hometown: Big Horn First Nation Currently Residing In: Morley First Nation Affiliations: Nakoda Youth Council- Mni Ki Wakan My name is Glenielia Crawler, but I also go by Ariel Waskewitch. I am Nakoda Sioux and Plains Cree, and I come from the small community of Big Horn First Nation. I am a proud mother to my three-year-old daughter...

Sonia Lal

"Reflect on the stereotypes and prejudiced views you may apply to others. Recognize if you’re discriminatory, and rectify your behaviour. Change starts with you." -Sonia Lal Age: 18 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights (ACGC Member) Students Invested in Health Association, Live Different, Big Brothers Big Sisters From a cheerleader with a bow in her hair to a Taekwondo competitor gearing up to spar on...

Ameer Farooq

"To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem." -Ameer Farooq Age: 29 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Alberta Health Services The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large...

Janine Heber

"Continually question and re-evaluate how spaces can be made more accessible, and take action to reduce barriers for marginalized folks." -Janine Heber Age: 19 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Queer Flex, Sexual Violence Awareness/Office of Human Rights, Plan International Canada Speakers’ Bureau, Rainbow Alliance Youth for Edmonton, The Quiltbag, MacEwan Office of Sustainability I am a queer, non-binary artist, activist, and student. I have a...

Belen Samuel

"Acknowledge the call to relationship and reconciliation that is present with the land you stand upon." -Belen Samuel Age: 26 Hometown: Born in Zimbabwe, originally from Eritrea Currently Residing In: Treaty 6 (Amiskwaskahegan/Edmonton, Alberta) Affiliations: Supports with Dreaming Rainbow I am a Zimbabwean-born Eritrean settler with migration experiences as a refugee. I currently exist on Treaty 6 territory, where over the past five years, I worked at the Africa Centre and at Youth...

Hamila Al-Turk

"Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but a human rights issue, and we all need to be part of the conversation." Age: 21 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: City of Edmonton Youth Council, Social Equity Subcommittee, Diabetes Canada Club One of the wisest teachers to have taught me once said, “Compassion is the basis of all morality, so live your life as if you were a mirror that reflects the good back to people.” Being a student under her...

Gideon Mentie

"Stories can multiply the impact of a good initiative, so let’s learn how to be captivating storytellers!" -Gideon Mentie Age: 22 Hometown: Brooks, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: SPECT, FullSoul Uganda, CAWST (ACGC Member), Canadian Foodgrains Bank I am a 22-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian civil engineering student, born and raised in the little prairie town of Brooks, Alberta. Growing up in Brooks, where over 100 different languages are spoken, I was always...

Lindsay Brouwer

"We need to promote the idea that your gender does not limit you with what you chose to do with your life." -Lindsay Brouwer Age: 28 Hometown: Lethbrdige, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Young Nurses Take Action Foundation,Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad, Project Amazonas, Stollery Children’s Hospital First and foremost, my parents were the most influential people in shaping who I have become. They provided me with constant unconditional love and...
Share This