Rotary Adventures in Human Rights

I had the opportunity to experience the 2023 Rotary Adventures In Human Rights Program this
past summer in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This week-long camp had a profound effect on me. I grew in the way I communicate with others when sharing my perspective and in the way I listen to understand rather than to respond. It was daunting going into a new experience in which I knew no one. I was nervous to go on my first solo flight and converse with others well-versed on the various topics we were covering. I had no idea what to expect. Upon arrival, I met with other students from Canada, Denmark, Nigeria, and Poland.
We spent the first few days at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. We spent time discussing powerful topics such as genocide and the denial of human rights. This unique experience of listening to diverse perspectives in a period of vulnerability allowed me to forge deep connections with the other students quite quickly. We spent the next few days at IRCOM (The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organisation of Manitoba), where we learned from other youth who were recent immigrants and refugees. I had the chance to speak French with an individual from Cameroon. It was a rare learning opportunity where I could ask questions and educate myself on the process and difficulties of immigration and the need to flee a country.
Personal stories were shared that carried a weight greater than anything I’ve ever experienced. The friendships that I formed over this week will be ever-lasting. At the end of the week we were tasked with creating a plan to promote human rights within our community. I am eager to put my plan into action through an Interact club competition to raise funds for the greatest needs in our respective districts. I am so grateful for this experience and will continue to use what I have learned to implement positive peace.
Sophia Lathrop
Grade 12 Student
Western Canada High School Interact Club