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!