Long-time activist Margaret John tells us how joining Amnesty Canada changed her life, and why she wants our work to be part of her own legacy.
My journey with Amnesty started nearly four decades ago. I remember growing up wanting to make life better for someone else. But I didn’t see myself as a leader, and kept asking “What could I do?”
People leaving gifts to Amnesty in their wills represented 8.6% of our global income in 2013: €20.6 million. It’s our second biggest income source, after individual donations (81%).Amnesty International
At first, I simply worked on the local Amnesty group newsletter and letter-writing. Then our group was assigned a Singaporean prisoner of conscience for action, on whose dossier I was made responsible – a daunting task. Later I was asked to become Amnesty Canada’s permanent Country Coordinator on Singapore and Malaysia.
The same questions kept leaping to mind: “But what could I do?” After all I was just a little brown mouse?
But my path along the Amnesty trail helped show me that I could scale mountains. I never thought, for example, that a former President of Singapore would become a dissident, leave Singapore, choose to live 10 minutes away from me; join Amnesty and become my friend.
I remember priceless moments such when prominent prisoner of conscience Dr Munawar Anees from Malaysia asked to meet me. Tears filled his eyes. “Amnesty saved my life,” he told me.
I can think of no better way of ensuring justice and dignity for future generations.Margaret John
Of course, there have been many difficult moments. But sad moments do not shake my faith in Amnesty. Over the years I’ve seen momentous worldwide change in attitudes to human rights.
The little brown mouse that I was in the early 1970s, so anxious to make a difference, has radically changed. Amnesty has turned it into a roaring lion!
I want Amnesty to continue its amazing, ground-shaking work. Leaving a gift in my will enables me to do just that. I can think of no better way of ensuring justice and dignity for future generations.
People leaving gifts to Amnesty in their wills represented 8.6% of our global income in 2013: €20.6 million. It’s our second biggest income source, after individual donations (81%).
Find out more
9 things you (probably) didn’t know about where Amnesty’s money comes from.
How to join and donate to Amnesty.
This article was also published under the headline “From a mouse to a roaring lion” in the April-June edition of Wire, Amnesty’s global magazine.