COHORT SIX: January - April 2020
COHORT FIVE: August - December 2019
COHORT FOUR: April-August 2019
COHORT TWO: August - December 2018
My name is Jennifer Mckay and I am a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation but live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since I was 15 years old I have been working with children in different summer camps, community centres, and I am now currently working at an emergency family care home. I enjoy working with kids and with-in my community but I wanted to explore more.
I applied for this internship because I’ve always been passionate about learning and expanding my knowledge in international studies. Coming in I thought I had an idea of what to expect but it has been beyond anything I could have imagined. Like anywhere I’ve hit some challenges but none the less this experience has been nothing short of amazing. I hope this inspires more indigenous youth to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
Hello, my name is Skw’akw’as (Sunshine) Lillian. I am from both the Nlaka’pamux Nation in British Columbia, CA and Washington, USA.
One of my passions in life is travelling. I always knew I would make it to the African Continent, but I never thought it would be an opportunity like the one VIDEA has given me. I am placed at the YWCA in the youth department in Lusaka, Zambia. In the Youth department the volunteers and other YWCA interns, council youth in a variety of issues. I am learning from men and woman with law degrees, political science degrees, and social work degrees. I am learning alongside other university students who are in similar programs. I am also being taught three of the local languages (Nyanja, Bemba, and Tonga) so hopefully when I leave I will be trilingual.
About myself. I love MANY things, music, photography, filming, theatre, writing, travelling, philosophy, and the list can go on. I’ve documented some of my travels on my YouTube Chanel ‘Sunshine Lillian’ where I will also be posting vlogs of my life here in Lusaka. You can also see photos on my Instagram ‘SunshineLillian13’ (Shameless self promotion aha)
Tansi, niya Taylor Cameron. I am Plains Cree originally from Little Pine First Nation, Saskatchewan but grew up in Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation, Saskatchewan for the majority of my life. I know multiple people that have previously came on this internship and they all inspired me to do the same thing. It’s always been my dream to travel the world and to do good in not only my life, but in other peoples lives. Working at the organization Archie Hinchcliffe Disability Intervention (AHDI) here in Lusaka I do get the amazing opportunity to do good in other peoples lives. At AHDI they help children with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy with physiotherapy, help with school funding or even school supplies. They do so much and I feel so blessed to be given the chance to be involved with such an organization. Before coming onto this journey I had no clue what to expect but I am 100% grateful I was given this opportunity as I feel like it is a great chance to not only find yourself but to grow as an individual. I learnt so much being here and cannot wait to share my knowledge with my people back home. Hiy hiy (Thank you)
Hi there! My name is Lilianna Coyes-Loiselle and I am from Edmonton, where I am a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. During the school year I live in Calgary where I am in my third year of my bachelor’s degree majoring in Development Studies with a concentration in International Indigenous studies at the University of Calgary. I found VIDEA and the IAYI program after looking for an international development internship to participate in for a work term during my degree. I feel so lucky and am so thankful to have the opportunity to be apart of this amazing program where I am an intern with EWAD (Environmental Women in Action for Development) in beautiful Entebbe, Uganda. Learning about development in school is one thing but gaining knowledge on it by witnessing and experiencing is a completely different ball game that has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring. I look forward to continuing to grow, learn, and create meaningful relationships and connections in the next two months of my internship and I cannot wait to bring back everything I have taken from this program and apply them in my studies, future career, and life in general in my home community.
My name is Megan Ermineskin, I am a member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation located on treaty 6 territory in Maskwacis, Alberta. I recently graduated from NorQuest College with a certificate in Community Support Work, where I completed a short practicum with a youth treatment centre in my community. It was there that I discovered my passion to work with Indigenous youth. Upon completing this internship, I plan to attend Mount Royal University for their Bachelor of Child Studies program, majoring in Child and Youth Care Counselling!
Coming into this internship, I had no idea what to expect. I only had a personal goal of self-growth and to learn about myself and it was an opportunity to get away from home for a few months, I had no idea that this would be so much more thanjust self-growth. It was quickly during the pre-departure briefing when learning about Africa that I realized the change I want to make in my community! I hope to go home and inspire the youth in my home community to go for opportunities like this. This internship has influenced me in so many positive ways and has impacted my world view greatly.
I am placed in Lundazi, Zambia working with the Rising Fountains organization. Rising Fountains focuses on community
development in which they have a number of projects based on womens rights and local governance, human rights, HIV/AIDS,
improved forest management, and financial services and livelihood in women! This organization is so great to me. Living in
Zambia has not only achieved my goal of self-growth, I have also gained so much knowledge on global issues in accordance to
good governance, environment, and gender. I'm so excited to continue learning and to share everything i've learned back
Hai hai (thank you).
I have a large biological family but a small immediate family. This immediate family is an amazing support network that helps me overcome my past. I was the oldest female child in an abusive, uneducated household. I struggled to apply myself to school and be self-sufficient. Growing up, drinking with children in the house was a social moré. However, I concluded that drugs and alcohol are an unnecessary boundary in life; and I wasn't going to allow those substances control over my life like they did for a majority of my relatives. Doing so then open my life up to many astounding opportunities like this internship. In my perspective, my persistence is the foundation to the life I have today. I utilized my experiences as motivation. I’m proud of myself. I overcame the addiction in my bloodline. I had all the excuses to end or ruin my life. I am twenty-two, nearly finished with school with a positive outcome. This year had its unbelievable lows but it’s also the year I’ll never forget. I graduated, traveled to Guatemala and now headed for Lundazi where hopefully my persistence can continue to change my life. I’m hoping this trip will give me a sense of direction in my life. We have barely started, and I'm already confident I have the tools to reach my goals in my life.
Shelby Anderson/Sekwanahcahk is a Nehiyaw/Metis person from Wabasca, Alberta. She is a proud member of the Bigstone Cree Nation and wishes to recognize their support on this journey. Shelby has grown very passionate about climate change and sustainable development throughout this internship. Her drive for pursuing this internship was to combine a love of travel with a passion for her people. One day, she hopes to see all of her people living sustainably in connection nature. She seeks to encourage other Indigenous youth to advocate for themselves and their dreams. A born storyteller, Shelby seeks to bring others joy through laughter and knowledge. She enjoys acting, filmmaking and anything creative she can get her hands on. She hopes that anyone who dreams of travel will be able to reach that goal. Shelby would like to thank her Ni Mama and her Ni Papa for always having her back and making her laugh so much her stomach hurt. Her family will always be one of her greatest joys. Shelby’s greatest inspiration in this life is her Nookum, Mary Louise Oar. If Shelby had any advice to give you it would be a note that was written on the back of her Nookum’s Journal. “Take it Easy!”
Annin, my name is Shania Boulanger, from Berens River first nation Manitoba. I am almost complete my computer service technician at academy of learning college in selkirk Manitoba. I applied for this internship because I wanted to explore my options and experience living overseas. I also applied for a another internship in canada for 6months but if I don’t get accepted, I am going back to school to upgrade my IT technician. I've learned so far that climate change is affecting the environment and our next generation.
Hello, I am Kyra Harris. I am originally from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories in the Sahtu Region but have been residing in Fort Simpson, NT in the Deh Cho Region. I live and move around a lot, so I feel I don’t really have a specific town I call Home but the entire Northwest Territories is home to me. I am taking the Business Administration Diploma program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and currently in my second year. I plan on continuing my education with a major in either Management/Finance.
I wanted to participate in this internship because I read about the organization, the work that Videa does and the bio’s like the one I am writing now. I have done a few leadership programs in the past to travel, gain knowledge, experience different cultures and to inspire youth back home. I really believe that these opportunities help grow each and every one of us in different ways.
Videa has given me the opportunity to work with the Women’s Lobby in Lusaka, Zambia. The organization works with women and girls to get them involved within leadership roles and community development. I am extremely excited to learn as much as I possibility can in the next 3 months!
Sheldon Anderson is Woodlands Cree and Métis from Bigstone Cree Nation located in Wabasca, Alberta. He attended school and worked primarily in Victoria, British Colombia which is situated on Coast Salish Territory. He acknowledges both the Lekwungen and Cree speaking peoples associated with the traditional territories he has lived, learned, and worked on.
He graduated from the Indigenous Studies Diploma Program at Camosun College, worked for the Government British Columbia through the Indigenous Youth Internship Program, studied at the University of Victoria, and recently completed the Digital Marketing Professional Program at Red Academy in Vancouver, British Colombia.
Sheldon is passionate about community development, technology, and has always had ambitions to travel overseas. The International Indigenous Youth Internship Program aligned with his goals to travel and work abroad. He’s placed with EWAD: Environmental Women in Action for Development in Entebbe, Uganda. Sheldon’s excited to deepen his knowledge on community-driven governance structures, gender equality, and environmental sustainability through a African Indigenous Lens. With this new perspective, Sheldon hopes to enhance micro and macro communities back home in Canada.
My name is Crysta Perak, I've been a resident of Vancouver for the last nine years, almost a decade! I originally left my hometown to study for my first Diploma Newfoundland, then my Bachelor of Motion Picture arts at Capilano University in British Columbia which I'm graduating from this year.
In the midst of my educational success, I've been very blessed with the opportunity to be apart of VIDEA as an intern at Rising Fountains located in Zambia. Rising Fountains focuses on life skills & educational development, and workshops and studies focused HIV and Aids. This organization also helps support communities in agricultural projects by providing them with the tools they need to be successful.
I have always had a restlessness about staying in one spot for too long, so I felt this internship opportunity was the perfect chance to get my feet moving again. I love meeting new people and getting to know their views and challenges they face that are different or the same as mine. Travelling makes me realize all things I never knew but also all the things that we share in common as human beings interacting with the world.
If you're on this page because you're on the fence about applying for this... Apply, you won't regret it. It will be challenging but it will be something you wouldn't have the chance to experience if you don't take that step and go for it.
I might sound like an extrovert but I'm not. I do everything at my own pace, even when it's outside of my comfort zone. We are all looking for that moment we won't forget. I'm positive you will find many of those moments here.
My name is Thomas James. I’m a Tk’emlúps te Secwèpemc Band Member from Kamloops, BC, born and raised. I’m living in Kelowna, BC where I attended UBCO for my Bachelor of Management, and Centre for Arts and Technology for my Audio Engineering Diploma, which I still have yet to complete. Currently, I’m applying to TRU in Kamloops for my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Ecology and Environmental Biology. Before I got word back on this opportunity, I was a Supervisor for a car detailing business, and a Promoter for a music industry. I want to achieve satisfaction learning from, and to empower our youth abroad about our Global Goals (GG). I’ve noticed several opportunities to adapt and learn from many of the guest speakers, organizations and community members we’ve visited from our time in Zambia. We need to inspire our youth; they play a major part in helping us achieve our goals. We need to pass down our knowledge, so they can take charge. As of now, I’m working alongside Women for Change (WfC) here in Lusaka, Zambia. I’ve gained information on gender equality in social, political, and economic development, and the mission they’ve set out to do. Before I applied to this internship, I was studying the SDG’s focusing on Gender Equality, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability. These 3 goals I’ve seen first-hand here in Zambia. I’ve learned how these have impacted the communities here. VIDEA helped open up opportunities for me. I’ve been accepted to be one of the guest speakers at Vision 2050 in LA, speaking on what I know about our GG, and what I’ve learned from working abroad.
Thank you VIDEA for this amazing opportunity. You guys do an amazing job.
Weyt-kp xwexweytep (Hello everyone)
My name is Vanessa Sterling, I am from the Secwepemc Nation, Simpcw First Nation, in Barriere. We are one of the 17 bands residing in the south central part of B.C. I am so grateful I applied to be apart of Cohort 4. I have been placed with EWAD (Enviromental Women in Action for Change). I joined because of my desire to get knowledge of Indigenous people from around the world. Our Simpcw community has always had emphasis on keeping our young people in school and I wanted to learn and share that message where ever I go. I am also bringing back very important knowledge to share with my community. I can now see how our decisions back home are making an effect on the way of living here. I will use my voice and strive to be the best global citizen I can be. Kukwstsetsemc (Thank you)
My name is Adra Bear. I am Plains Cree from the treaty 6 territory. Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Saskatchewan is where I was raised. VIDEA has given me the opportunity to participate in the IAYI program. Entebbe, Uganda is where I am placed. Currently working for an organization called Environmental Women for Action in Development (EWAD). I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and experience a new culture. Who would have thought it would be in Africa! Everyday it is a shock to me that I am here. My aunty was always someone I looked up to for doing a program similar to this one. It’s crazy that I am doing the same. I was always the type that was insecure and constantly doubted myself. Which led me down the wrong path. This made me feel like I was holding back so much potential. But after coming on this program, it gave me the knowledge to not only learn about new experiences, but also myself. Now I am more confident and outgoing. I guess in Africa, being shy isn’t really isn’t an option. Everyone is so welcoming and kind here. It would be shame not to show the same hospitality they have shown me. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to gain all of this knowledge, new friendships and a wonderful Ugandan family. VIDEA has really been great to me and I am so very thankful they have given me the chance to be apart of their family.
Hi, I'm Tasha Rosa. I'm from Vancouver, BC and my family is from the Squamish Nation. VIDEA has accepted me to be a part of Cohort 3 of the International Aboriginal Youth Internship, a truly interesting decision on their part but I digress. I've been placed in Lundazi, Zambia and I am working with Rising Fountains Development Program. Applying for this internship was something I never actually thought I'd be accepted for. Even now, being accepted and actually in Zambia working, I still wake up everyday stunned and thinking "wow really? I'm in Africa?! Sick." It's quite confusing. I'm happy I get to do this internship as a way to absorb as much knowledge and experience of the world into myself as possible. This internship has opened so many doors and shown me a part of the world I would never get to experience any other way. Getting to go into the field, visit the places the organization I'm placed with has helped out with has been absolutely inspiring. Getting to stand in the apiaries and see vast landscapes stretch out all around you is really such an amazing feeling. The people I've had the chance to meet and connect with are fantastic and I'm glad I went for it. VIDEA has given me a great opportunity that has allowed me to really expand my limits and rediscover myself. I've grown immensely and this has been an unforgettable experience. I really dig flowers, cosplay, reading, cooking and traveling. I'm painfully awkward but once I get past that I've been told that I'm an exceptional conversationalist.
My name is Sierra Lewis, I was born and raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia which is located on unceded Coast Salish Territory. I recently completed my Diploma in the Child and Youth Care Counselor program at Douglas College, and I'm finishing my BA at the University of Victoria.
I am currently located in Lusaka, Zambia and work for an organization called Women for Change. This organization focuses on gender equality in social, political and economic development. What really stood out to me was how they focus on empowering women and youth which is also a part of my personal value system.
The thought of travelling internationally frightened me at first, however, what I have come to realize is how similar we are rather than different. I have always wanted to travel and experience different cultures. This opportunity is a once in a lifetime experience and has changed my worldview in a positive manner!
My name is Preslee Munroe and I have a Métis background. I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I’m majoring in psychology at the University of Winnipeg and minoring in Indigenous Studies. I am part of the VIDEA IAYI programme and my work placement is in Lusaka, Zambia with the organization called Women for Change.
Being part of this program gives me the opportunity to travel across the world and gain a new experience. I’m excited to learn about the food and culture here and being able to compare it all to life back at home.
My name is Santana Dreaver. I am half Plains Cree and half Saulteaux. Originally, I am from Mistawasis Nehiyawak on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan, but I was raised in Kinistin Saultaux Nation on Treaty 4 territory, also in Saskatchewan. I attend the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in political science with a minor in sociology. VIDEA has given me the opportunity to participate in the IAYI program.
I will be based in Lusaka, Zambia working for the YWCA. I am excited to engage in meaningful work and to travel in an authentic way, hopefully inspiring other Indigenous youth from my communities and Saskatchewan to participate in the program.
My name is Janessa Redwood-Henry and I am of Saultaux and European descent. I come from the Cowessess First Nation, but I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and currently reside in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have a diploma in counselling and I am hoping to start the Bachelor of Social Work program at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in the fall of 2019. I am currently placed as an intern at Rising Fountains Development Program (RFDP) in Lundazi, Zambia. The IAYI program with VIDEA has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge. Here, I have learnt about international development with a focus on gender rights, sustainable environment and good governance. Learning from RFDP here in Zambia has given me tools and ideas that I can bring back to Canada and share with for development in organizations and communities.
My name is Rayna Vittrekwa and I am Teetl’it Gwich’in originally from the Canadian Western Artic of Tetlit Zheh/Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories. I am passionate about the environment, often volunteering and hoping to one day study in the field. I strive for more youth to be leaders, I am community driven and always have my heart back home.
I’m looking forward to this internship because it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Putting myself in a new place with new surroundings, culture and people while simultaneously broadening my horizons. In Zambia, I’m finding I’m really starting to love the different trees and meeting new people with non-western ideas.
My name is Simon Tom, I come from Tofino, British Columbia. I’ve been chosen to be a part of the International Aboriginal Youth Internship
program. Iwould like to thank VIDEA for choosing me as one of ten interns. I’ve been placed at the Arise and Shine in Kibuye-Kamuli. Very much looking forward to the next three months here in the village. At the end of our training and briefing in Mumbwa, Zambia, we were asked to draw out what our internship looks like to us, more importantly, what it means. I’m not much of a drawer, so I drew something really basic, with drawn stick figures. Pardon my grade 3 drawing abilities.
Anyway, first thought that came to mind, was that this is a great learning opportunity. To learn that there is much more to the world, and much bigger problem than our “first world problems”.
Another important part of this program, to me, is to find happiness within myself. Find the genuinely happy person I once was. To do some soul searching.
Which is easy to do and I’ll have a lot of time to do, being in the village. Away from social media and out of cellphone service. I have learnt much within the first month, got 3 more months of learning. Looking forward to take in as much as I can. Knowledge, friendship, experiences.
Way’ my name is Sofia Terbasket-Funmaker and I grew up on the Blind Creek Reservation in Cawston, BC. I applied for this program because I am interested in learning from Indigenous people around the world.
Every Indigenous population has been impacted by colonization in some way and I believe there is a lot to learn from the diverse and various nations in terms of decolonization, resistance and empowerment. Indigenous people around the globe share intrinsic values of the land, community and respect. I love experiencing the different ways Indigenous communities connect with the land and each other and it is always inspiring to see the resiliency and strength present.
VIDEA provided me with the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge from Zambia and apply that knowledge to my own community.
My name is Miranda Shannon, I am from Frog Lake First Nation in northern Alberta and I currently reside in Calgary.
The path that has lead me to this internship is connected so much to my story. Every single person has a story that they are writing everyday and that makes people all over the world some of the greatest story tellers. Decolonization begins from empowering others to speak their truth and listening to these stories from all walks of life. People all over the world have experienced the effects of colonization and this internship is an opportunity to listen and learn from similar resilience. That being said, the IAYIP program has strengthened my voice both as an Indigenous woman and as a youth. It has encouraged me to tell my story and reclaim parts of my own identity that were lost, in many ways from intergenerational trauma endured through my family.
I hope to be able to create awareness through sharing my own story and apply my knowledge from working abroad to empower others in my community back home.
Oki nistinihka'sim/ hello my name is Savanna Sparvier.
Although I am part Cree I was raised in Siksika, Alberta (one of four nations belonging to the Blackfoot Confederacy). I've lived my whole life following the Blackfoot way of life, always encouraging other youth of my nation to connect to the teachings and values of our ancestors. I honestly was really nervous about joining VIDEA, because I've never done anything like this in my life and I've never met anyone who has; but sometimes you have to be the first to do such things in order to pave the path for others who are afraid to follow their dreams. My goal always being to learn as much as I can about other cultures and their values in order to bring it back to my nation members, something that scares me a lot because I've suffered from social anxiety my whole life. But I really hope that by the end of my internship with EWAD Uganda, I'll be more confident in myself as a role model to all the ones who feel they are too "shy" to try new and amazing opportunities. Also being as I am a product of intergenerational trauma, I hope to have gained knew knowledge on the the effects of Colonialism on not just First Nations people but on those around the world; learning as well, the ways we have all kept our ancestral teachings and languages strongle to create awareness through sharing my own story and apply my knowledge from working abroad to empower others in my community back home.
I wanted to do this internship because I was really looking to break the confines of my box. I had fallen into a steady and stable routine, and I felt like there wasn’t any growth happening in my current situation, despite the fact that I was in school and working towards a degree. I’ve always had this idea that I would spend my life trying to make the world a better place, and I knew getting a degree would be my next step towards that, but I just felt like I still wasn’t sure about what I wanted to focus on. Spending time here in Zambia, taking trips to the field and learning about the development work Women for Change does has inspired me to get more involved in environmental advocacy, and in some way contributing to resilience against climate change, especially in the communities from my nation. This clarification, an opportunity to grow in a new environment, has really meant the world to me, and despite the several setbacks, I know that taking this leap was the right choice.
This internship means many things to me. On this trip, I have the ability to expand my mind on sustainable development, environmental issues, and how it relates back to myself/Canada. It’s broadening my image of the walk of life others have to go through and how much ingenuity there is in the world. While I’m soaking in all this information, I also have time for self-reflection and self-motivation. These unique experiences I’ve learned here will be used in my future endeavours
I always knew that I wanted to live and experience another country’s culture, but I would have never thought that it would be in Africa! I’ve always felt a little restricted back home, I felt like I was holding back so much potential to do great things for myself by trying to take care of others needs before my own. Taking that step to fill out the application for the program gave me the time I needed to reflect on my own life and realize what was missing in a sense.
This internship has allowed me to open up parts of myself that I didn’t know I had. Confidence being one. I’ve always been a very quiet and reserved person, but being in Zambia you can’t really be shy, all my co-workers have the biggest fun-loving personalities and because of them I was able to find that part in myself. I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I’ve gained new friends as well as a Zambian family!
All thanks to VIDEA
This internship has been an eye-opener for me. I love that people communicate as much as they do. I have made some better lifestyle choices that I plan to carry on in Canada, such as eating better, drinking more water and exercising every day. This means that I have made much more connections across the world which is awesome. I have learned through real-life experiences, something that you cannot be taught until you go out in the world see for yourself. I have learned to cook better as well!
This internship means the world to me, and is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.