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Take courage and speak out!

As a young child, I would rather sit quietly, stick my head in a book and observe what was happening around me. Part of this came from the fact that as I was overweight, ridiculed and made fun of by others. I always felt inadequate and that what I had to say was unimportant.
Where I did feel confident and free however, was in sports. It was a safe space, my space, where I could immerse myself and expel all those negative feelings of inadequacy, fear and anger.

When I started high school, I was afraid of the new challenges and possibly the ridicule that I had experienced before. As a way of overcoming these fears, I once again jumped into sport.
It was during a practice session, when I came across a group of senior girls bullying one of my classmates; a smaller, soft-spoken, shy and introverted girl. I felt my blood boil with anger as I stepped up and shouted at them to stop. I don’t know where this courage came from, but for the first time in my life I found my own voice by speaking out for her! I didn’t think about consequences, but knew I had to stop them from causing pain to another human being! It was at this point, at about fourteen that change within me began.

Through sport I found a space where my confidence and self esteem grew, where I was able to guide and encourage others as a sports captain, but also realised I had a huge responsibility in doing this. I found it easy to listen to others, encourage them and enjoyed doing so! Also, bullies disappeared out of my life.

Growing up during Apartheid years, I was acutely aware of the inequalities and injustices, especially as it related to women and children. Therefore through supporting,encouraging and the building up of young girls and women, I believe we can build and empower nations!

Standing up for what I believe in, I carry with me today. My experiences and journey up until now has been a search for knowledge on how to do this, so that I can realise my personal vision of helping women and girls to take courage and speak out! Through the work that I do with human/child rights issues, I was chosen by the United States Consulate as a candidate for their International Visitors Leadership Program. Through this, I was blessed and honoured to travel to the United States, where I met wonderful individuals, especially those at World Pulse. Through my interaction, I had met individuals with a similar vision, which is to make the voices of the unheard, heard. Part of my vision is to one day open up a cyber-empower-café for girls and women, hence my application for VOF. A safe space where women will learn and feel empowered to bring about social change in their own communities and globally!


amiesissoho's picture

Speaking out!

" of helping women and girls to take courage and speak out!" we share this vision and the mission is to achieve it as much as possible.


Charmaine's picture

Yes, we do Amie!! Thanks! I

Yes, we do Amie!! Thanks! I am still trying to catch up to the comments left's been a great journey thus far and I look forward to future 'chatting' with you!

cassie_levy's picture

Beautiful! I can relate to

Beautiful! I can relate to you story about sports. I started playing basketball around the age of 10 and it not only boosted my self-esteem, but I felt like I had a purpose. Keep up the good work!

Charmaine's picture

hello there!

Hi Cassie! Thanks so much for your comments - I really do appreciate it! Hope to chat in the near future!

Right now it's about 11pm in South Africa and I'm doing the last editing on assignment 3. As I work long hours, etc etc etc...I keep trying to get them in a day or two before the time, but luckily I still have until 08h55 tomorrow morning, SA time, to post!

Enjoy your day!

Carlotta's picture

Wow!! Congrats on being

Wow!! Congrats on being chosen by the United States Consulate as a candidate for their International Visitors Leadership Program. It must be such an honour. And best wishes in your quest for a woman-friendly world.

Charmaine's picture

Hi Carlotta! Thanks so much

Hi Carlotta! Thanks so much for all your correspondence. Yes it is definitely an honour, which I hope I will be able to measure up to, by helping others! That is my greatest honour.
Hope all is well on your side :-)

Iffat Gill's picture


"Standing up for what I believe in, I carry with me today." Beautiful writing. Sports is one of the fields where women could use more guiding and training. I am sure it will have a positive effect on other young women as well, where possible. I worked with a human rights task force where we tried to push our local government to make sports one of the basic rights of the children and young people so that they can stay away from anti-social activities.

Keep writing!
Best wishes.

Iffat Gill

Charmaine's picture

Hello there!

Thanks you so much for your kind words Iffat. I totally agree with you!! Sports are something that my government is finally waking up to again.. Years ago it was a crucial part of schooling and then due to political changes/ climate it wasn't as important. Recently again with the push from educators, NPOs, etc. and especially since the Soccer World Cup 2010 in South Africa it has become popular again. It alarms and frustrates me how something so crucial to the overall development of young minds and bodies is seen as unimportant. One only has to look at children/ youth playing on the playground, enjoying a fun physical sporty game to see just how important having a sport is! And one does not have to be professional. Let us keep pushing on and upward!!

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