little light, lighting big torches and burning brightest
In my early years I didn’t question anything. I was told to behave and act like a girl and soon began to sense that being a girl was burdensome. When I started menstruating I understood the burdens of womanhood. No one prepared me for the experience and for months I used tissues. I was scared and ashamed. I wanted to talk. My confidence dwindled. No one was there to discuss my fears or answer my questions. I stopped paying attention in class and missed school. I became timid. I was dirty and disgusting just as a teacher had once said all girls and women are.
From this experience my vision was born. My vision is to empower girls about their sexual and reproductive health and teach them to speak out about their lives. Girls should be empowered from an early stage to understand their worth instead of trying to change their mind sets when they are adults. I teach girls who are already afraid to speak. Young girls are often left out but they are at the grassroots of becoming women and are future leaders. I want to roll out a programme where I source sanitary wear and distribute among needy children especially in the rural areas whilst building awareness among the community and educating girls about growing up and responsibility. Many families live under one dollar per day, sanitary wear is an unaffordable luxury. I want to advocate for access to free sanitary wear as a basic need to improve and protect girls’ reproductive health and teach them about hygiene, using sanitary wear and sex. My goal is for teenage pregnancies to reduce, groom leaders, and see many girls retained in school.
Girls no longer have anyone to talk to: parents are busy. Other girls are heading families and are the parents. During my empowerment lessons I have discovered that many girls live on misconceptions. No one sits down with them to talk and this necessitates a program where girls have someone to talk to not only about menstruation but about being a woman. I want to offer support through discussion groups. I will use this platform to have counseling sessions on all aspects of their lives and empower them to find lasting solutions to their problems. The program will be built with girls as the pillar through their participation. By sharing their lives with everyone they save another’s life and change their future. My vision is to see girls who represent a generation that says no more to silence and abuse and yes to equality. A woman’s world is one where fear is the root word: fear of rape, men, political violence, domestic violence, and speaking out. The only place that is presumed safe is in being silent but once girls are empowered whilst young they can speak out and challenge the culture that has perpetuated this fear. They will not be afraid of being heard and girls empowered will groom girls who speak out fearlessly and unapologetically to break the silence that has adorned Zimbabwean and African women for generations, to help girls form a life line for each other, draw from each other’s strength and drink from the well of sharing and kill the culture of fear and swim in the pool of unity.
World pulse has given me a chance to speak out. VOF will give me a chance to reach out and share with the world the stories of Zimbabwean women and girls rising above inequalities to create a better world. The chance to be mentored and share my vision and see it becoming a reality will be a dream come true. I want to use my education to help empower girls and women who are not as privileged . I will enhance my writing skills and document girls and women’s experiences as the power of the future. Words are powerful; the stories of grassroots women are precious and need to be documented. Their stories, their voices and our destiny are intertwined.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest and act to create change.