Annabel Hoskins

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Serene Communications for the amazing opportunity they gave me to travel to Geneva and participate at the UN; it was truly life changing. Not often can I say that I feel such inspiration simply from simply my surroundings. Every gender, every race, ever culture all contributing together for the greater good of the world was truly beautiful to see.

A key moment within my time in Geneva, that stood out for me, was when I had the opportunity to hear first-hand stories from FGM survivors. Their stories were heart-breaking, eye-opening and overwhelmingly moving. I learnt how truly privileged I am to live where I live, have the family I have and have the opportunities I am given, something I would never have realised so deeply if I had not been given the chance to come on this trip. As such an invaluable experience into both character development and self-realisation. These women have been through so much in their lives, beginning from their cuttings at the age of 8, to now fighting through the continual pain of recounting their traumatic experiences to finally educate others. The bravery they have showed has inspired me to take action as soon as I return hope to do all I can to help innocent girls living in fear and with FGM. I will do all I can to keep the conversation going, raise money and raise awareness to people ignorant to these poor girl’s trauma.

I found the opportunities to network incredibly valuable, for example, meeting the minster of economics for China and the UK human rights mission. These contacts have enabled me to start a conversation with so many amazing, influential people who I have already made plans to meet with upon returning home. The best part of this was that we were on equal footing with these phenomenal people. We weren’t just students, as an NGO we had just as much of a right to be there as everyone else.

Being given the opportunity to present a speech on a subject of my choice allowed me to demonstrate my passion of human rights, while synonymously encouraging me to work with those around me – developing both my confidence and knowledge of the subject. Furthermore, it gave me the chance to speak in front of a noble crowd – many of whom later approached me to ask for my contact details! This opportunity would never have been made possible without the selfless work of both Zarin and Soroush, with their dedication to making people’s voices heard continually inspiring me.

I would like to thank Serene Communications for this life changing opportunity, before leaving I had little idea of where I wanted to go in life, with no contacts or work opportunities. Now, I am returning with global contacts, and future prospects of work and employment, I have truly been inspired.