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I have a Voice, I have a Choice...

My mind, my body, my choice

I decided to share my vision by starting with an inner speech, I developed as a commitment to remind myself that if “I have a Voice, I have a Choice”.

“I am personally responsible for the way I feel, think and act in my relationships. I can always make choices as to how I behave. Though other people and my circumstances may be difficult, nobody can remove the necessity for choice from me. Consequently I need to develop my skills of being a good chooser in my relationships. The way I learned my relationship skills in the past may have diminished my effectiveness as a chooser. Nevertheless, for the sake of my own happiness and fulfillment in the present and future, I am responsible for developing my capacity for effective choosing. I have a lot to gain from working hard to develop good relationship skills”.

If I'm honest, I always felt like a round peg in a square hole in the corporate sector, doing what I am passionate about in learning and development. Being challenged as a women when speaking out on gender issues in the workplace, remained for me a motivator to keep busy with voluntary work I’m involved in, - working with young women groups(LGBTI), teaching life skills to youth in my community while overcoming my own fears to move closer to my God-given purpose.

In South Africa, there is always a cause being taken up, in the areas of crime prevention, HIV prevention, education and skills shortage, prevention. The challenge remains that all these issues are interrelated, signalling an emerging war on our young people and children’s ability to live meaningful lives that will assist in sustaining themselves and their environment.
Furthermore, young people need to separate out, what parts of their personality and lifestyle are parts of ‘them’, and what belongs to their parents, upbringing and social environment. We become adults psychologically when we arrive at a self-concept of being responsible for our own lives and of being self directed. Likewise when young people are surrounded by social messages of hopelessness and despair, they find it hard to overcome problems in their own lives and resort to activities to feel a sense of belonging; substance abuse, feelings of worthlessness leading to suicide and violence, and therefore need guidance to develop appropriate skills, over and above what they are taught in their schools.

I have a personal responsibility to work in education and development with young women and men in South Africa.

I would like to develop a website (online training forum), that can be accessed by school goers (aged 16+) and school leavers (attending Further Education and Training colleges), this particular audience, in SA need access to self help information and relationship skills that they can apply in their lives to build their capacity and capabilities to develop a sense of self control. More importantly to have a space where they can go too and feel understood.

The online training forum will consist of three platforms: 1) A discussion forum (Thanks to WP for inspiring me to share my thoughts more freely with others), where young people can tell personal stories that help them to connect with others to inspire change; 2) A resource link (access to free personally developed training material / interactive course content); and 3) A referral database consisting of, access to services that can support them. I strive to collaborate with other advocates for young people’s rights.

I am currently working on a proposal that I aim to present to surrounding schools and community leaders to gain buy-in. As this platform will not cost users, I hope to extend it as a reference guide to be part of school curriculums and NGO’s working with youth.
It will focus and consist of various life skills training such as talking openly about sex, building self-esteem, interpersonal communication: defining oneself / expressing oneself / dealing with conflict / problem solving and decision making.

When given an opportunity to connect with others in an empowering space, young people in my country will develop a sense of identity and find a place in the world where they too can be part of tomorrow’s solutions. As a VOF correspondent I want to help make this possible.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »



Sharontina's picture


Dear Myrtle,

I see that you emphasize on a thoroughly focused vision which means you are already at it. My wishes to you to help your women find their identity.


Merlin Sharontina

MyrtleG's picture

Thank you Sharontina

Finding the time amongst being a mother and full-time employee does have it's challenges:-) I have never before felt as alive as I am after joining this wonderful forum on WP. The company I work for is undergoing retrenchments....which made me reflect on what I want to do.

I never consisdered myself a writer, in fact I'm quite shy to share any personal thoughts into written words.

Working through my thoughts on my vision, my future and of cause thinking about this assignment for week 4, it all came together for me.

I decided to register as an educator:-) with the Education board in my country (forms competed already) and decided that I want to committ my time to something that will give me a greater sense of being. Starting this online training forum is going to be completely voluntary to keep me connected to grassroot issues and use my working skills in another way. I develop curricular and content for corporate training. (Fortunately I have a brother who just completed is studies in software programming and is now unemployed-so I figured why not get him to develop a website for you, which he gladly offered to do) It's a win-win (he keeps busy and I save the costs, of money I do not have:-)

Wanting to exit corporate, I see an opportunity to work in education and spend my afternoons after school working on the online training forum. Yes, I need to remain focused as I have never before felt so alive. Thank you to all of on WP, who listen and never judge me.

I want to help young women find their identities so they can feel valued.

Am I at it? One step at a time..... but will get there.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

libudsuroy's picture

Yes, Myrtle, you are on the

Yes, Myrtle, you are on the right path. And that path has a heart. Yours. Best wishes!

libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Maybe Im being to idealistic, but this is my vision.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

Maybe Im being to idealistic, but this is my vision.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

Sharontina's picture

I believe that each and every

I believe that each and every change that life brings takes us to a new level ahead. So you are that new and fresh level. All the best. Am glad to read about the new projects and ventures. I hope you find success and joy in all that you do. And i am happy for you that you have a brother so supportive. Go ahead dear.

Much love

Merlin Sharontina

LisaXi's picture

Wow. Talk about being a

Wow. Talk about being a change leader. You're doing it, and leading the charge.

I love your "I have a Voice, I have Choice" quote at the beginning. Keep up the good work!

ikirimat's picture

MyrtleG, Im glad you are one

MyrtleG, Im glad you are one of those few people in this world who have decided to give your time to addressing challenges young people are facing. issues of young adolescence and growing up are complex and we can not leave the young people gamble through the process of becoming adults by chance. We need to regulate the quality of the outcomes. Thx for joining me in the struggle.

I wish to encourage you to continue networking with other stakeholders not forgetting targeting parents as well. i look forward to hearing more on your progress.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

MyrtleG's picture

Dear Ikirimat


Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me, encouraging me to take up this learning journey in working with young people and (parents). I’m very interested to understand what sort of learning interventions have worked well .

In Faith

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

MyrtleG's picture

Living fully.

We cannot empower women if we do not engage men as well.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

"an emerging war on our young people and children’s ability to live meaningful lives that will assist in sustaining themselves and their environment" Thankfully there are people like you to mobilise, protect and defend the vulnerable. Your vision sounds so worthwhile, valuable and empowering for the youth of South Africa. As you make your choices, you are fascillitating the positive, life-enhancing choices of others. Power to you.

LeenieT's picture

A great youth ally!

Dear Myrtle,

Both your compassion, and desire to create a supportive environment for youth as they navigate obstacles and search for meaning in themselves and others already define you as a fantastic educator, role model and confidante for youth! The importance of the presence of a caring adult in the life of a young person cannot be underestimated. Such a trusting relationship can make the difference between a child slipping between the cracks and "making it." Your passion for creating change in the way youth are supported in your country will impact great changes in your community.

All the best,


MyrtleG's picture

Thank you, Lena

I have lots to still do, but been networking with others to collaborate - as the audience I chose can be quite a "tricky" audience, especially in my country.

How does empower youth to empower themselves, and maintain a balance with societal pressures placed on them?

I envisage the online platform to be a space that they must own.


Myrtle Adams-Gardner

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