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"VOF Week 2: (Behind every woman there is a story)."

“Can’t the whole world hear this?”
That is a question that I often ponder on in the process of my work among different communities. I have heard many great stories of courage, suffering, inspiration, disillusionment……..all in a day’s work. I recently sat down to capture stories of courage of women, and I could not help but wipe a tear with every new story that I listened to. The women who gave me their stories were all aged below 38 years, quite young. However the stories they told sounded like someone who had lived 101 years, and I was always amazed, “how did you manage all that” I asked.
The different answers given can be summarised as follows, “Because I am a woman and I have other women in my life”

It became all clear; it was all about what women have been doing each and every day but it remains invisible. It all came back to support from other women in their lives. Each and every woman I listen to in my daily life always leave me having a different view of the woman in all cases, a very deep respect of these women. I wish the stories can be written over their faces so that everyone who encounters them knows that there is a story behind this woman.

When is sit back to listen to the news, I only hear a fraction of what is happening in the world and I feel that there are unrepresented voices that nobody will get to hear. My passion is to make life better for community members and more so, girls and women and this can always happen if the voices of women are heard. Anywhere a girl or a woman is, that is my space.

I have listened to many women and girls tell their stories and wondered how better the world would be if their stories were told. That is my great reason for joining pulse wire. After getting to know about pulse wire during the AWID conference, I felt I will make the world better. I felt this is the space where I can tell the stories of women with the eyes of women. I know that there are so many untold stories of sheroes who have done so much for their community and have undergone so much but is there space for them to be heard? A space for women to learn from each another?

Yes there is; in pulse wire.
I am motivated by the many girls and women who have wanted to speak out but no space for this. I am in a position to amplify their voices and give them feedback. I will therefore be failing in my duty as an ambassador of women’s rights if I didn’t not grab the opportunity to be part of the ‘voices of future’. This is a step in fulfilling my personal vision of a community where women and girls are visible actors and agents of change.

Comments

Elsie's picture

because I am a woman...

Hello Sophie!

I have the pleasure of being one of your "listeners" for week 2. You have captured so beautifully what PulseWire is all about in your entry. However, I would love to hear even more about your story. Where do you work that you hear so many stories from so many courageous women? What have you done/experienced/hoped for in your life that led you to your current line of work and to pulsewire?

I am so excited to meet you on PulseWire and look forward to your future posts. Soon enough the "world will hear this." Thank you for sharing your voice with us Sophie!

warmly,
elsie

Sophie's picture

My story

Hi Elsie,
I am not sure when ‘My story’ started. It must have been when I was 7 years old in my first year of primary school in a rural place in Kenya. It was a great occasion to reward the best candidates in the school. We happen to have been two of us, a boy and myself at position 1 (with 496 out 500 marks! I still remember). The first prize included some cash. The boy’s name (not surprising) was written before mine so the person reading out just assumed I was number 2 (meaning I would miss the cash reward). The tiny me stood in front of the District Officer and said “I was not number 2 but number 1”.

The Officer more out of being impressed by the tiny young girl speaking out than the belief that I was telling the truth repeated to the crowd what I said congratulated me and awarded me the first position prize.

Fast forward while in class 7 (one year before the finals of primary school) I once again got into a confrontation with our new class teacher who declared that boys should never wash classrooms! The meant that we would not get our share of play time as it was the norm where boys alternated with girls in washing classes every week! Despite the few canes we got as punishment after a ‘mini demonstration’ our point was clear, we didn’t wash the class until the boys did their part even if it meant staying in a dusty class.

These among other experiences have shaped my views on gender equality. Having worked in the field for close to 8 years I have heard so many stories told by women and girls during gender awareness trainings while I have been part of the stories of women. While doing gender trainings I have listened to women from different cultures tell the stories of the lives on how they have had to confront patriarchy in different ways. I have been part of women and girls stories while working on GBV cases and assisting women and girls’ access legal and psychosocial support. Sometimes the greatest success has been seeing a woman smile while months before they could barely remember her name due to trauma. I have walked with girls who stood up to abusers and decided to pursue GBV case despite all odds. I have talked to young women who have achieved a lot through leadership development programs while capturing the untold stories of young women. I joined pulse wire when I was introduced to this in AWID and felt what a safe space for me!!

I am currently a Programs Coordinator for Young Women’s Leadership Institute, Kenya (www.ywli.org)

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe -www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com

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