Elizabeth is an international development worker and lifelong student. After completing a B.A. in Communication Studies in 1998, she moved abroad to Portugal and Mexico. In 2001, her interest in community development and human rights took her to South Africa, where she stayed on for six years.
During this time, Elizabeth traveled to countless communities throughout the country and continent, working with individuals and organizations on social development, gender equality and empowerment. Realizing that many of the people she encountered were “everyday activists” in their own right, she began engaging in projects that highlighted and promoted their particular contributions to social change.
One of the ways in which this was done, was through the creation and promotion of “community portraits” whereby community members would record and share their experiences, reflections and approaches to societal challenges. The portraits reflected the stories of women, men and youth who’d overcome major challenges such as surviving rape, contracting HIV, living in economically-depressed areas and losing loved ones to addiction or violence. Beyond the trials and tribulations though were inspiring responses and replicable solutions that included the creation of support groups, creative income-generating activities, and innovative social networking and awareness-raising models. The community portraits were distributed widely – from internet and national radio broadcasting to intimate community-based circles, and are now used in both conventional and creative ways to bring about social change.
In 2007 she moved back to her home town Montreal, Canada with her partner from South Africa in tow.
Elizabeth recently completed a Master of Public and Development Management; her research focussed on the challenges in formulating human trafficking policy and legislation in Southern Africa.