ROWENA ATUHEIRE

UGANDA

It was a normal day, I was at school and received a grim message..... this was January, 2019. One month down the road, I received another message, this time at home..... it was confusion all over the place! This is when my journey with climate change began. I lost two friends that year - one in January, a victim to heavy rains in Uganda, the other in March due to winds. Yes, wind in Geneva. 


I have been an advocate for women, girls, refugees, teenage mothers, and men, and I've done leadership training since 2016. I used to see climate change, but had never given much attention to it. When these two tragedies occurred, I believe it then became a calling for me.  I wondered what caused the wind to be strong enough to move a gate, hit a car, and lead to a person's death. I started doing research, following climate-related posts on Twitter. This was my beginning. Geneva is far away from my country, but I wouldn't wish for anyone else to lose a loved one the way I did. 


Climate change is a whole big issue. It affects people, refugees, peace, hunger, gender issues - name it. My wish is for everyone to acquire knowledge about it, and then act on solutions to better our planet. In my country, our grandparents could foretell the weather by merely looking at clouds, but now, it's no more. 


I work with different projects, educating children and young people on climate change, and other topics like sexual harassment and their roles and responsibilities. I talk with young people about planting trees, alternative ways of treating plastic.  For example, a colleague has constructed a whole hotel out of plastic bottles!   It is important to involve young and old, because change, one by one, makes a bundle, a force for good. People are forced to flee from countries and their homes due to climate changes, especially floods. They can lose family, friends, documents, schools.  


My wish is that one day, we can all work together on this global issue, making our lives and communities better while we wait on leaders to do as they promised. Action is what brings change. However small our planet, God has blessed us with a beautiful one. We have the power to make it better or worse. May all who lost their lives to climate change rest in peace.

ROWENA ATUHEIRE