I speak for myself
Growing up in Zambia, a girl child is told not to speak until spoken to, especially by the father. When a girl becomes a teen, she is advised to stay as far away from her father and brothers as possible.
When she grows up, she is told not to talk back to her husband.
If she is lucky and is allowed to go to school and later find work, a man will usually get more money for the same work.
I went through most of that. I was taught to keep quiet and to keep my thoughts to myself. No one was interested in what I had to say.
When I was given a chance to speak, I was not taken seriously. Even when I grew up and started working, my ideas were brushed aside and when my male colleagues suggested the same thing, it was praised and taken up.
On June 16, 2011, I lost my job. I was depressed and bitter. I was dismissed suddenly, with no benefits (after four years) and without warning. I remember forgetting to get on a bus when going home but somehow I managed to walk in the right direction and after what felt like a life time, I finally arrived home.
During the weeks that followed, I walked from office to office trying to find someone to help me with my situation. I hit a huge brick wall.
With the help of friends, I managed to get over my job loss.
One particular friend who helped me enormously was Brenda Zulu, a New Media Journalist. She opened my eyes to this field of journalism that I was so blank about.
Brenda lit a fire in me that I could not control. I went crazy!! I visited her every day during the weeks that followed. When she was not available, I used search engines to for information on new media.
Despite lecturers from Brenda on new media, I began to notice that there was a lot that I didn’t know; I still don’t understand many things. This led to my search for training.
One day, I was browsing through the IJNET website when I saw the Voice of Our Future advert. I was so excited. I visited the site right away and you can never begin to understand my happiness when I read the words “if no one speaks for you, speak for yourself.” I thought finally, I can speak for me!!!
In my former job, my opinion was not allowed in any of my work. I spoke for everybody else except me.
Since, I signed up for VOF, I have already learnt many things. I see my story in many tales that I have read on the site.
I look forward to one day owning my own new media platform and I have no doubt that the knowledge I would have acquired from here will be the very foundation that will make that dream come true.