FLORA TERAH, Best author of WATERFRONT AWARDS 2019 – Toronto

and then they put on on the screen the first three women and there was flora and then there was shamans Tracy and there was the other woman Laura and I had looked at them and I told them I'm rooting for for Tracy and they said and the winner is because they said the winner and then they keep quiet for a few seconds I was waiting to hear the name Tracy and then they said flora Terra I was like no they've made a mistake so Sakina said you're being cold I said no no no that's a mistake flora Terra the waterfront award 2019 we know the waterfront award is a red carpet charity gala held in Toronto on July 19 2009 teen celebrating the achievement of outstanding woman in the Greater Toronto Area sponsored by Toronto Waterfront magazine this annual event is in support of the Canadian Centre for abuse awareness a national charitable organization since 1993 [Applause] flora Terra is in international women's rights advocate who was one of the approximatively 200 woman that ran for Parliament in Kenya elections in 2007 she was one of the several women who were abducted tortured and abused we call the dirt to run for public office in Kenya hospitalized for weeks and unable to converse properly lost her bid for election also still to come for Tara in May 2008 her only child a 19 year old footballer was murdered in Nairobi flora was among the top 75 finalists in the 2013 RBC top 25 Canadian immigrant award she also is a nominee of 2015 voice of courage by the refugee commission board she is a published author of they never killed my spirit but they murdered my only child her autobiography and her next book life beyond the pen a story of triumph of a pen published in 2015 my name is William uyoku I met flora Terra at your house some days after the gala thank you for inviting us in your house how are you doing I'm doing well in dude yeah are we doing very very well I would like first to know what does it mean for you to be nominated by waterfront to South at 19 well the nomination to me came as a surprise especially because I didn't know actually what nominated me and I tried to ask most of my friends did you did you did you but I remembered that I had some time ago than speaking engagement with intelligent communities so I guess that's where I got the nomination and what mattered to me more was not actually the winning it was the nomination itself when you walk in that room did you to him I never expected to win the award itself because there were two ways of winning you would have worn through the jury selection and through people's choice so I'd not expected from me studying seeing the very very strong women who had done tremendous work all over the world and had seen all the civvies and there were two in mind oh I knew definitely these are going to win so what I concentrated on was getting more votes so that I could be the people's choice I didn't expect the jury to select me yeah talking about people's choice you had many votes really if we compare to others people and know which are the organization that really supports you in the getting all those votes one is the Kenyan women living in North America acronym of that organization is called quitter and this is a group of 13,000 plus women who live in North America those women really supported me like I not asked for vote initially but when I saw my votes were 200 I talked to the vice president who is American and religions and asked them can you please bump up support for me so on June 17th that I had over 200 votes on my birthday and by the time I woke up in the morning I had over a thousand votes so quit to other with one of the organization the other organization was not an organization but a group of women in Nairobi called Kilimani moms and also material luminize and material roominess is the high school I went to the high school I went to they really like gave me votes so all together had 1,700 59 votes you told me the one were off microphone how you were surprised just for the first time in the first category your name came out the one they call you you did believe it was you so you even it was you didn't even go all you thought it was a mistake chilly I was sitting next to dr. sakeena who I work with I'm going to talk about there as a book that we are working on that is coming out this fall doctor said I'd dr. sakeena and the spouse had come with me and we sat down and I was busy talking to the gentleman that was sitting next to me we were talking about life and I will move from Toronto to from Montreal to Toronto and the first category was okay the first the first person to be called on stage was the the life as chief meant the person was getting their life achievement award which is jaehnig Osteen a woman that I look on to a woman that has was the first black woman to be elected in in federal parliament hill so I was I listened to her and you know like I was not anywhere thinking I would even get into you know like the first three so they said the first category the first category would be others so Sakina tapped my my me and I was like yeah but I've already been nominated dr. sakeena so it's okay it's okay just the nomination has made me feel a winner and then they put on on the screen the first three women and there was flora and then there were shamans Tracy and there was the other woman Laura and I looked at them and I told them I'm rooting for for Tracy and they said and the winner is because I said the winner and then they keep quiet for a few seconds I was waiting to hear the name Tracy and then they said flora Terra I I was like no they've made a mistake so Sakina said you're being cold I said no no no that's a mistake I mean I'd really I'd read their BIOS I'd seen what they've done these are great women in this country I'd seen the tremendous work they've done so I knew there was nowhere that I would be I mean I in this a word so they called that the second time and I what I was just to step to the stage the to step from my from my from where I was sitting I kinda was falling down I had to hold myself on the chair and then I went up and I asked the lady you sure the you read the right name she said congratulations flora yes you've worn you're the winner of this category and I didn't know I didn't have a speech it was off Cup so I did my acceptance speech just like that we we don't see often African woman in I mean women or participating in this kind of nominations here in Canada what gives you that boldness you are trying to to go beyond what you can expect remember when I came to Canada eight years ago I came in a very robust and very broken and I kind of was not ready to give up and dad I'd written a book when I was in Kenya and the book was out of pain and I when I was here the women that lifted me up were women in the political field and I remember going to paramount ill meeting a member of Parramatta miss Sandra I wasn't living in Masada but Bonnie Crombie got me when I was completely wrong I remember Bonnie and I really crying so much in office environment ill and she told me flora you will make you are in our up for country and then when I left Bonnie's office I said this lady is seeing something I'm not saying the hope has already flown out of the door and there's nothing I'm left with so why is she saying that there is hope in this country I'll try and find out she never gave up on me right now she's the mayor of misses and that she's still you know encouraging me to you know to to lift myself up and those are the women and that helped me and I can't really name each and every one that particular one I'm naming and I'm throwing that name because she is the first politician because I came in as a political leader she's a fast politician I made and she had all the time for me that's why she's the woman that I'm naming in this interview and she and I also said during my award tell him during my award ceremony on Friday I said she's part of the group of women that said they're not going to let me like succumb to the issues that was that I was going through the the desperation they were kami in Canada they took me as their own it they didn't see did it wasn't about it wasn't about where I came from it wasn't about my color it wasn't about my lace it wasn't about my education it wasn't about how I look like it was about the tribe of a woman they saw a woman and they saw a woman that had been so ambitious to run for office and to to run for office against all odds so that's why I'm giving this particular name because these are the names that I will live with for the rest of my life so late I wrote this at the book that made the other book a little bit that would shadow the pain that I was going through and the book is life beyond pain and life beyond pain is a story of hope a story a journey that was full of depression but I journey that many Canadians and many people around the world I found hope in so my category the nomination category was author so I would call myself now an award-winning author so I'm so glad we are so very happy for you and proud of you actually and that's why I africana that today we choose and we said we have to come won't let it pass like that when I wrote many books what are the upcoming projects my upcoming project I've got three major projects that I have I'm doing on the book are not other things on the books first my my audio book is coming out in the next one week the other one is a book from the start from scratch two stairs by Calgary University we are about that in orders that have put our journey together and it's a book on refugees and right now I'm not a refugee I'm a Canadian citizen but it's a book about people who came to Canada and people who have made a difference in Canada so the book is coming out in the spring of 2020 and the book that I'm very excited of right now is a book by the st. Mike's hospital is called a storybook project a de storybook project it's about people who have survived suicide I'm a survivor twice the type of suicide and the other people that are of course put their story in out call them my peers are people who have also survived suicide so st. Michael's a s our proverb department has put in lots of resources to make sure that our stories are understood like people who have survived suicide so the the the project is called the storybook project and it's coming out this fall and I guess September or October I'm so excited about that because I want people to understand I'm a mental health advocate and I'm very passionate about that subject so um I can't wait for it to come out this mean that you drop down your ambition of becoming again a Kenyan politician yes I didn't see that coming but Kenyan politics is the same I'd won an award in April this year and apparently I was win to Kenya in May of this year so my people decided to do homecoming for me and during the uncoming the clan elders blessed me and while the clan elders were blessing me one of the Tauron elders asked me the same question are you coming are you interested in coming back to run for office in Kenya you know what I will give this I will give this answer with a neurological I'm a storyteller and I love telling stories you cannot take your child from akita garden all the way to high school and the university they get a PhD and then you bring them back to the kita garden and I am not demeaning Kenyan politics or I'm saying is I do not I do not see myself running for office being nominated or doing anything the only thing I want to do for Kenya is to serve them from here and I can serve them I can do what members of parliament do or what women representative do or what senators do or what governors do from Canada if it's raising money for them I've raised money for some rape cases in my room through equality effect so what I'm doing for Kenya right now is looking for ways that people can go to Kenya and work in Kenya I have worked with the Steven MUHS foundation humanitarian new I started the gender based programs in Kenya I have been hoping for organizations in Kenya so whatever I would be doing as a member of parliament I'm already doing it from Canada so I will give other women that chance to run for office we can't all be in the same basket together there are a lot of women working in a constituency that I would have run we have two great women working in that constituency one is the Carrera one Gaza who has been elected as a as a women representative she's doing tremendous work she's in the village building homes taking children to school taking women to hospital she's doing tremendous tremendous work so such a woman all she needs to is to be boosted and I'm in communication with her if she wants any boosting from Canada she's so welcome so I don't think I would I would leave what I'm doing right now in Canada to go and work in Kenya I still can go to Kenya once and once a year to continue with my project and I blessed that woman that is doing a lot of work Kara is doing so much work if you had last word is a waterfront winner 2019 to all Canadian and especially as as African living here do not underestimate yourself and this goes to my people from Kenya and the African community also the Caribbean community I know the Caribbean community are doing so much going out there there's a lot Canada's to offer Canada is surely a country of hope and there's so much that Canada has to offer and let us not sit in our con Coons and in our comfort zone let's get out and work because there's a lot of opportunities in Canada Canadians have opened opportunities for the black women and it's about time we went and picked ourselves up and taken the challenge that this great country is offering I'll give you an example of and I know you're there when I was meeting the Governor General when we shared a platform with a the first black woman Governor General of Canada the end of state makaras during that time because John told me that our own auntie I told her that the only thing she can be is to work in a salon or be a maid that's what the auntie I told her but she told me flora do not take anything for granted this country of hers hope this country of offers opportunities and these are the opportunities that connect Canadians have offered me and I'm taking each and every opportunity and running with it so I really really challenge Kenyan women and African women and they black people black women of of living in Canada come out of the comfort zone and embrace embrace these opportunities this country given us and you know what opportunity knocks your dog once so just impress the opportunity and run with it I'm so happy that she she took the mantle and ran with it thank you

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