This March, I represented the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts at the United Nations 62nd session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York.
As I’ve started to reflect on this incredible experience, I’ve realised how far I’ve come. I’ve started to see how being a WAGGGS delegate has made me a stronger person.
As delegates, we bring the voices of young women and girls to the table. We advocate for our rights and we directly lobby and engage decision makers. During CSW we hosted two events about our body confidence and violence initiatives. All of us had the chance to give speeches at high-level events.
A difficult journey
For me, being a delegate wasn’t an easy journey. I’ve always been a very shy person and I’ve always struggled with low confidence. When we started our training the weekend before the conference, I started to doubt myself. I didn’t feel I could advocate on behalf of 10 million young people. The reality of public speaking suddenly became very real, and I even started to believe I wasn’t clever enough to do it.
What pulled me through were the other delegates - my incredible guiding sisters. I’ve never felt so much support and encouragement from people I’d only just met. They all genuinely believed that I could do it and I will never forget the feeling of warmth I felt as they all helped me to overcome my fears.
I've found my voice
I’m so thankful to have met such extraordinary people and I’m so happy that they’ve become a part of my life. With their help, I gave my speech confidently and it went unbelievably well. I still can’t quite believe I did it. For the first time I was empowered to use my voice and I had proved to myself that I can overcome my fears.
My confidence soared after giving the speech. Throughout the rest of CSW I developed so much. I’ve come home a different person – I’m more confident and ambitious and I don’t let my fears hold me back anymore.
The whole experience has opened my eyes to the huge scale of issues that girls and women continue to face around the world. I’ve come home with more passion and drive than ever before to go out and make change. Now that I’ve found my voice and I’m not going to keep quiet anymore.
Don't let anything stop you!
Last month I had another opportunity to advocate for girls rights as an inspirational young leader at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London. Without being a WAGGGS delegate at CSW, I would have never had the confidence to be able to do that on my own.
I’d recommend this experience to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. I’ve come away with more knowledge, confidence and inspiration than I could ever have dreamed of.
Even if you’re shy and unconfident (like I was), I want you to know you CAN do this. Don’t let anything stop you. Trust me; with your guiding sisters by your side, you can do anything you put your mind to!