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It’s amazing how fast two weeks can go by. So without further ado, let me introduce myself. My name is Mikayla Aguie and I am a rising Junior studying Public Policy with a Markets and Management certificate. For this summer, I will be doing a research project with the Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN) in Montreal QC. The Disabled Women’s Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of women with disabilities and Deaf women. From addressing gender violence to teaching girls with disabilities important job skills, DAWN hopes to make a difference in the community.

Located in La Maison Parent Roback, a feminist collective in Montreal, the Disabled Women’s Network is able to work side by side other organizations with similar objectives. Being in this unique environment, I am now beginning to understand on a small scale just how much effort is put to protect human rights. However, what’s even more exciting about working in this cooperative setting is the fact that I am living in Montreal. Before coming, I had the vague impression that I wouldn’t face any real culture shock, because well Montreal is still in North America. But man was I wrong! The moment I landed in the city and saw  French signs everywhere, I knew that this wasn’t North Carolina anymore. Nevertheless, with the help of DAWN and Frenglish (French and English) conversations with my coworkers, I’ve been able to easily settle into the rhythm of things.

For the past two weeks, I have been rolling up my sleeves and diving deep into the realms of research. My research topic is on women with disabilities and human trafficking, specifically looking at the reality and needs of women who are survivors of human trafficking and have disabilities. While finding information has been a fun challenge, I hope that my research will connect key factors that may influence one’s vulnerability to human trafficking.