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AVA Trustee inspired by two girls from Newcastle

Though the challenge is big and the road is hard, seeing the smiles on Laura and Sophie’s faces taught me that we must never stop hoping or trying to create a better world.

 

In April I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Sheila McKechnie Foundation 2016 Awards.  They were recognising the best campaigners across social, economic and environmental justice.

It was an incredibly inspiring event which showcased and celebrated a range of campaigns.  From the high profile Nannas of ‘Frack Free Lancashire’ to Debra Bourne, co-founder of ‘All Walks Beyond the Catwalk’, which challenges the fashion industry’s use of unhealthy body and beauty ideals and highlights the negative impact it has on young women.

This years’ Gender Equality Award was funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, an organisation of whom AVA are very grateful to as they also fund some of our great work. The award was won by Laura Christer and Sophie Murtha, two inspirational young girls from Newcastle who after suffering domestic abuse themselves had become Peer Educators in their local community.  They raised awareness of domestic violence and remove barriers to accessing support for young women aged 13 – 19.

I spoke to them after the awards to praise them for their hard work and achievement and ask them what their motivation was. They talked about their own experiences and about how many girls in their area had no idea what domestic violence was, or that they were suffering from it.

Sadly, 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, a frightening statistic which highlights the scale of the problem, and justifies why there is such a need for brave people like Laura and Sophie and fearless organisations like AVA.

Though the challenge is big and the road is hard, seeing the smiles on Laura and Sophie’s faces taught me that we must never stop hoping or trying to create a better world.

To find out more about the awards and see this year’s winner, visit: http://www.smk.org.uk/campaigners-award/

Joanna Kelly, AVA Trustee.

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