At the UN: We must all work together for older people's rights
My name is Teresa Minja and I am 71 years old. I was invited to the UN to speak at the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing about older people's right to health and violence against older women in my country.
It's my first time in the USA and in New York and the idea of coming was very exciting. I was anxious but also looked forward to it. I knew I would meet people here I could talk to about the issues that I work on. I was looking forward to learning a lot from people here.
And I have learnt so much. I've met a lot of people and enjoyed their company. I have been very impressed with what people have had to say and they have been impressed with what I have said. I have made a lot of new friends and exchanged a lot of business cards!
It is only the second day and I'm looking forward to the next two days - I expect to learn a lot more! Tomorrow, the topic is social protection. As the Chair of the Tanzania Social Protection Network, I am interested to learn what others are doing.
To me it has been a learning process. I have met so many people from different places. However, I have to say I'm disappointed to note that so many countries are not taking older people seriously.
I can see this because of the absence of the representatives of many governments in the meeting, including Tanzania. I would like to see the house full!
Ageing issues are global
I spoke at two meetings today. I really enjoyed speaking at the lunchtime side event on the right to health. It was more relaxed than this afternoon's panel discussion on violence against older women - sitting up there in front of everyone was a bit frightening... Maybe it would have been easier speaking from the floor.
I'm impressed by the organised structure of the UN, the conference rooms, the interpretation into five languages which ensures that nobody misses anything even if you do not speak the language.
When I go back to my community, I will tell them I have discovered that the problems of ageing are not just in Tanzania, but worldwide. I have not found one country that does not speak about the issue of ageing. But more could be done to combine our global understanding to say something concrete.
Being here has given me the feeling that although we have started working on this issue, we need to do more.
We need to mobilise, to educate, to sensitise the governments, older people, the community. Everyone should be speaking about older people!
I am definitely going to take some good memories home with me from New York!
Read more about older people's rights at the UN