“Success doesn’t lie in the certainty of outcomes, but in the courage to embrace the possibility of what could be.“
2024 Top 30 Under 30
What specific issue(s) are you taking on, and what inspires you to do so?
As a second-generation African immigrant, I have a strong understanding of the challenges faced by my community in overcoming migration barriers and securing adequate settlement support. This awareness has fueled my deep commitment to addressing issues related to refugee and immigrant struggles especially for vulnerable, oppressed and underrepresented populations. My drive is inspired by the strength and resilience I’ve seen in my family and other immigrants who have faced numerous challenges in adapting to a new culture, economy and society. Their perseverance has propelled my passion in advocating for policy reforms and support systems that facilitate social and economic integration for these groups in all sectors. The clients I meet, their struggles and accomplishments, continually reinforce my goal of pursuing equitable solutions. These individuals represent more than a statistic, they are people with dreams, striving towards success and stability; a privilege often taken for granted. Everyone, regardless of their origin or circumstances, deserves an equal opportunity to thrive in Canada.
What does climate change or climate justice mean to you? To your work?
In my field, climate change is not just an environmental issue but a complex challenge that affects all populations across the globe. It encompasses social and political concerns as environmental crises pose a clear threat, forcing many people into displacement. Climate change thus creates a class of climate migrants who are often underrepresented in our Canadian immigration policies. By aiding and advocating for conventional refugees and immigrants, I am equally committed to advocating for people affected by such circumstances. I hope to amplify the voices of those whose human rights are compromised due to environmental degradation and help in providing feasible solutions.
What advice do you have for other young people looking to get involved in sustainable development?
My advice would be to start zeroing in on what you’re truly passionate about. Whether climate change, equality or innovative infrastructure, identify one area that fills you with a sense of fulfillment and purpose when you work on it. Once you’ve found your niche, seek out a community of like-minded individuals who share your vision and enthusiasm. This can take the form of a school club, an online community, or a job that aligns with your interests. Within these circles, try to engage in meaningful conversations and be open to learning new skills. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of knowledge and different perspectives you can gain from others. Above all, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Change is a gradual process; every small action you take contributes to a larger impact. So stay curious, adaptable, ambitious and well-informed. Embrace your goals with determination and an open heart, knowing that your contributions are paving the way to a more sustainable future.
Mena and Raricanow staff meeting with Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Janis Irwin to discuss new 2SLGBTQ+ refugee and newcomer programs.
Mena mentoring and leading group activities with Sihle Sizwe Organization, guiding young African girls in harmonizing African and Canadian cultures.