#BeBoldForChange: our 2017 Queen’s Young Leaders on International Women’s Day

#BeBoldForChange: our 2017 Queen’s Young Leaders on International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, our 2017 Queen’s Young Leaders talk about what International Women’s Day means to them, and how they are being bold for change in their communities.

Vladyslava Kravchenko, Malta  

Vladyslava was the first female swimmer to represent Malta in the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016. She is now a Youth Ambassador for the Paralympic Movement in Europe and is working to raise awareness of para-sport in her community. “Sport”, says Vladyslava “is a great platform for empowering women and young girls to bring out the best in themselves.” For Vladyslava, International Women’s Day means “embracing the fact of being a woman and celebrating the courage and enthusiasm of all inspiring women around the world.”

Karrie Jionisi, Solomon Islands

In 2010, Karrie helped form a group called Girls for Change, which provides young girls and single mothers in Solomon Islands with professional skills and educational opportunities. Karrie says that International Women’s Day is “about women empowering each other to talk about their struggles and their achievements in life, and to keep inspiring the next generation of young women”. Karrie’s work reflects these views. She is a facilitator for a Digital Storytelling Project, which ecourages young women to tell their stories using different forms of media. This will help “to give young women a voice in the media and online.”

Suhani Jalota, India

Suhani is the founder of The Myna Mahila Foundation in Mubai, a network of young women entrepreneurs living in slum communities who produce low-cost, high quality hygiene products such as sanitry and maternity pads. Recently, Suhani used seed funding to set up a manufacturing unit that employs 18 women who now produce, market, and distribute sanitry pads door-to-door. For Suhani, International Women’s Day is about “the selfless mother, the loving sister, the righteous woman, and the caring wife… an excuse to commemorate the incredible, powerful women who need to be noticed every day.” 

Yunquan Qin, Singapore

Yunquan is the co-founder of Kapap Academy Singapore, where she trains women and children in self-defence. “In nurturing the ‘warrior spirit’ through the programmes we offer, we hope that more women will possess the psychological strenght to stand up to fight for justice and themselves.” For Yunquan, International Women’s Day “serves as a powerful global platform to unify the different drives initiated by different groups towards  greater gender equality.”

Domtilla Chesang, Kenya

Domtilla is working to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya. She co-founded the group kepsteno Rotwo Tipin CBO – “Let’s Abandon the Knife”. After helping to end the practice in her own village, Domtila now visits the other communities to champion girls’ education and support the eradication of FGM and early forced marriages. For Domtila, International Women’s Day is “a day to believe in ourselves, a day to be bold… The power to change the world is in our hands.”

 Michael Thomas, Grenada

Michael works in Grenada as the co-director of GrenChap, an NGO that raises awareness of sexual and reproductive human rights. Michael says his work to inform women about their reproductive human rights has helped them “to be strong, corageous and confident.” For him, International Women’s Day means “the appreciation of a woman’s strength, passion, commitment and endurance in an ever changing society.”

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme discovers, celebrates and supports exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth who are working to help improve the lives of those living in their communities, leaving a lasting legacy for Her Majesty The Queen.