Riya Williams Yuyada is a 31 year old women’s human rights and peace activist from South Sudan. She’s the founder & Executive Director of Crown The Woman-South Sudan, a national grassroots feminist organization that works to foster a future with zero tolerance for inequality, inequity, and injustice. 

Riya is also co-founder of Play for Peace South Sudan, which provides technical support to the South Sudan High Level Revitalization (HLRF) forum peace talks, a peace initiative in South Sudan. Riya advocates for women’s empowerment and peace-building initiatives through a feminist lens, and has done so at many different levels. 

She has been awarded the Amnesty International Ginatta Sagan award that recognizes and assists women who are working to protect the liberty and lives of women and children in areas where human rights violations are widespread. Riya is also the former Miss South Sudan Uganda, and has experience speaking on stages around the world about her work. 

Riya is such a force of nature and in this episode shares several powerful personal stories, as well as stories of women and girls that she has worked with. She speaks about her return to South Sudan, a country she was forced to leave as a young girl. We talk about the situation in South Sudan, about her work with Crown the Woman and how she stays driven and hopeful despite working with people who have endured unspeakable traumas. Riya shares some powerful stories and amazing advice for those dealing with trauma and speaks about her own journey to healing. 

Content warning: Sexual violence is mentioned in this episode. 

You can learn more about Crown the Woman – South Sudan at www.crownthewoman.org and you can connect on social media through @CrownTheWoman and @theonlyriya1. 



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