My week at IARS International Institute started with an introduction into the work the IARS and the 6thannual conference being held the following week. As someone who takes a particular interest into human rights issues and how to deal with them. I found the program incredibly engaging and was compelled to learn more about the work that they did.

My first task was to go through the equality files that had been collected through the community workshops and young volunteers programs that IARS carry out. Although the data itself was not difficult to understand I faced the problem that I had never before used excel, where this data was to be placed.  At first I desperately tried Google searching how to use the alien format and then realised the best thing to do was ask. Although this seems obvious looking back I really gained a lot from the fact that fact that even in the workplace it’s ok to sometimes not know what you are doing and that the best way to learn is to ask, as you will almost always get support. In the end I really came to grips with the software and that learnt that I did not need to worry about being unsure of tasks, and to have more confidence. 

My second task after this was to write up notes on FGM for a presentation. Although it is harrowing subject the book was extremely informative and interesting, particularly the debate on different ways to deal with FGM and how sometimes the most obvious solutions, criminalising it, may be more destructive than helpful. This task as well as broadening my knowledge helped me practice condensing information and my research skills. Moreover, I began to have a more complex understanding of problems in the world and the complicated intricacies of human rights issues that are often watered down when presented to young people through class and especially social media. 

I was then asked to look through a report on youth rights, especially focusing on women. This was an extremely interesting read that went through all aspects of rights issues such as violence towards the LGBTQ+ community and women. Following this I was given the task of creating a PowerPoint on LGBTQ+ problems in education, immigration and employment. Writing this power point was at first intimidating as I did not have much Idea to what was the professional format, however over this week I learnt to just trust myself and go for what I was doing with confidence. 

Through all the tasks I was set on my week at the IARS International Institute if feel I was able to really grow in confidence as well as understanding in what I wish to pursue as a career. IARS staff were not only extremely accommodating but also helpful and a really lovely team of people which I really enjoyed the relaxed professional company of this week.

-  Maya Nurmohamed