I Can Achieve from Canesten

Canesten celebrates the real-life achievements of women!

From July 11 to August 7, 2011, Canadian women were asked to share their personal stories of achievement. Eight hundred and fifty inspirational stories were entered into the Canesten "I Can Achieve" contest. Canadians voted on the stories that inspired them the most (August 8 to September 4, 2011) and with every vote, $1.00 was donated to the Canadian Women's Foundation*. The top ten voted stories were reviewed by a panel of judges (September 5 to September 18 , 2011) who chose the top three women who embody the "I Can Achieve" motto. Congratulations to the three amazing winners of the Canesten I Can Achieve Contest. The grand prize winner was awarded $15,000 while the second and third runners-up were awarded $10,000 and $5,000 prizes, respectively.

Click here to read the winners' stories

First Place Winner Story

Safieh A. Calgary, AB

Death Threats, Hostage Negotiations, Refugee Camps and the Taliban: A Lifetime of Inspiration.

This is the story of a woman who has travelled to 54 countries, worked with 15 aid organizations, learned 8 languages, and survived wars, all while earning a Ph.D and raising a family. Her life is a reminder that it is possible to make a difference in the world. Her journey begins at the age of 17 when she was forced to flee her home country due to religious persecution. She took refuge throughout Africa until a violent coup d'état brought her to Canada where she became a citizen, married, and had 3 children, earned her designation as a Registered Nurse, and accomplished a Ph.D. After enduring years of hardships, persecution and poverty she settled into a comfortable and safe life in Alberta.

But instead of living out her days in comfort she packed up her life and moved her family to Rwanda when the genocide unfolded in 1994. She was heartbroken for the state of the world and determined to help. She lived in refugee camps, set up temporary hospitals, immunized thousands, organized food and medical supplies into the country, helped mothers search for their lost children, and watched as millions of refugees literally walked home across the country. As Rwanda stabilized she purchased some land, built a modest home, and started a non-for profit organization to meet the growing needs for medical and educational resources in her community.

As her efforts began to sustain themselves she accepted an opportunity to work with the United Nations in hopes of assisting other war-torn countries. Her work carried her to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Indonesia, Nepal, and Turkey. Although recently retired, her spirit of service to others will never cease as she still lives and volunteers 10 months of the year in Rwanda. This woman is a true inspiration, a world citizen, and a symbol of determination and sacrifice.

Happy retirement Mom, I am so very proud of you!.

Second Place Winner Story

Dionne W. Regina, SK

My name is Dionne Warner and I am a 7 time Cancer Survivor living life to the fullest & giving "HOPE" to others. This is my contin