I Am Not a Victim - I am a Changemaker! | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content

Guest blog by Anojitha Sivaskaran, a member of Canada’s Refugee Education Council and youth activist based in Sri Lanka.

I am a young girl, living in Sri Lanka and working with grassroots and different civil society organizations - for more than three years - in the field of peace and community empowerment. My name is Anojitha Sivaskaran, and I am a member of Global Refugee Education Council (GREC).

As someone who grew up in the Northern part of Sri Lanka, I have directly experienced Sri Lanka’s 30 years long civil-war, have been displaced to several places, and faced numerous challenges in terms of food, security, justice and shelter. This created a turning point in my life and shaped my goals of working towards community empowerment and peace-building.

Many families in Sri Lanka still consider boys as ASSETS and girls as LIABILITIES. As someone who was born as one of three girls in a middle-class family, I would not be where I am today without the education I received and support I my family has given me.

That’s why I believe that proper education will allow citizens to become change-makers. They can make changes in their families, in their traditional practices, and in their communities. Especially, if the marginalized groups like refugee children and women are educated, they could build their skills and knowledge and develop the potential to transform not only their own communities, but hundreds of lives as leaders of change.

There have been many efforts taken to ensure the quality education for all, including establishment of Global Refugee Education Council (GREC), as part of Canada's Together for Learning campaign. I joined GREC, to advocate for equal and quality education for all by sharing my own lived experiences as an internally displaced person (IDP) and networks and connections.

One thing I firmly believe in that has really stuck with me: each and every action towards quality education should always be accompanied by sustainability. This is something we are trying to accomplish as a council. Despite the challenges created by the global spread of the COVID-19, we are continuing to work on our goals and objectives using alternative measures and mechanisms. Through the campaign and the council, Canada, as a country, is creating an example for other countries in the world. But this effort should be extended at a wider level, which can be initiated and led by Canada.

Let’s get together! Let’s shape our future together!