Who We Are–Intern Edition

 My name is Lilly Skerlj, and I am A2Empowerment’s summer intern. I am 17 years old and a soon to be senior at my high school. When I was 10 years old I moved to Boston from Vancouver, Canada. Because I moved at the age of 10, I was young enough to be able to call Boston my new home, but old enough to carry a different perspective that I had acquired from living in a different country. For example, while living in Vancouver I was exposed to very liberal ideas, which have shaped my opinions today.  Many of our friends there were part of the green movement, doctors who practiced socialized medicine, or members of philanthropic organizations.  I witnessed that they not only believed in the cause, but they lived their lives true to the cause. Because I have always been around people who sought to create change in the world by helping other people, I have always wanted to do something to leave my mark on the world. 

      Every morning my family reads the newspaper to keep up with what is happening locally as well as internationally. My parents discuss what is happening around the world at our nightly family dinners and how it has an impact on our life and the lives of others. The discussions often end up in debates, which are encouraged in our house. Additionally, my parents enjoy entertaining at our house and having lively philosophical discussions with their friends. I look forward to participating in these conversations and listening to new opinions. 

       My background of living in different places, and the environment of worldly discussion within my household aroused my interests in politics and current events from a young age. Two years ago I participated in a summer program at Brown University and chose to take a class about power, philosophy, and democracy because I wanted to better understand the democratic process, its history and the importance of its future. I was interested in global aid and political refugees, and my research paper in the class was about the impoverished region of the African Sahel and how to improve the impact of aid. I learned that aid, especially in the form of money, can sometimes be detrimental to a nation’s attempt to move out of poverty. The one form of global help that has been the most successful is expanding people’s access to education, allowing more people to have an opportunity to attend school. 

      At school, I am a leader of a club called Up-Close which is a place for students to discuss current events. Furthermore, I have been a member of my school’s Model United Nations club since my freshman year. As a junior, I served as the club’s Under Secretary General, and next year I will be Secretary General. My experience at MUN has made me passionate about coming up with solutions to global problems. In the club we have discussed issues like terrorism, international aid, the food crisis in the African Sahel, the oppression of women around the world, and balancing development and resource management. For every issue discussed, a reoccurring root of each problem is the lack of education, specifically for women. The fact that simply educating girls can alleviate so many different problems, compelled me to do something to help. 

        I read about A2Empowerment online and was inspired by the work that they do to help girls in Cameroon attend school. As their summer intern, I have been working on their social media outreach, as their cause is one that should be publicized. For their social media outreach, I have been managing their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and have started this blog. If interested in contributing to a girl’s education, then visit http://a2empowerment.org/ and give a donation! Remember to subscribe for more updates about A2Empowerment!