Development and Peace/ Caritas Canada: A Student Perspective

Gabrielle Achtymichuk is a student in veterinary medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, who also serves as chair of her parish justice and peace committee. (Submitted photo)

By Gabrielle Achtymichuk

I am privileged to be the social justice chair for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Outlook, SK.

The Development and Peace/Caritas Canada program is the focus of our parish initiative. Through this Canadian Catholic organization, we are able to bring some of the current global issues to the attention of our community and raise support for those in the world who need it.

As a university student in veterinary medicine, education is very important to me. I love to learn and to teach, and the campaigns provided by the Development and Peace program allow me to do both. I learn about the issues and then present them to the parish.

Of special importance to me are issues of women’s education and the environment – both of which are frequently a focus of Development and Peace.

The stories, both challenges and successes, of the women in various countries overcoming inequality and becoming leaders in their communities are inspiring and should be acknowledged. I’ve been able to pursue a professional degree, and I know I am one of the lucky ones – when an estimated two-thirds of the 750 million illiterate adults in the world are women, that is an issue. Step one to solving any problem is defining the issue, followed by educating people that there is an issue. So, I want to do my part by bringing these concerns to the attention of others which can then initiate change.

When I complete my veterinary medicine degree, I hope to focus on research involving ecosystem health. One of the largest issues with environmental change, is that many people don’t recognize the harm we are causing. We need to understand that “actions have consequences” before we will have the desire to change our actions.

University is an amazing place where there are so many people looking to understand how the world works and come up with solutions. However, we can do all the research in the world, but if it is never discussed, it will never lead to change. So, I want to be involved in both research and educating others.

Through my university education in the veterinary medicine program, I hope to use research to further my understanding of ecosystem health. Through the Development and Peace program I am able to spread awareness about issues that are important to me – including women’s education and the environment. Knowledge is power. And I believe that even little actions have the power to make a difference – whether for one individual or to promote change on a larger scale.

Development and Peace / Caritas Canada diocesan workshops on Share Lent 2020 will be held in two locations for all those interested in a deeper discussion on the effects of the damages to the Amazon rainforest – both on Indigenous Peoples and on the global ecosystem. Workshops will be held  2 pm Saturday, Feb. 8 at Holy Spirit, Saskatoon and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at St. Augustine, Humboldt – DETAILS

Gabrielle Achtymichuk (Submitted photo)