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Saved by the Web

At 57-years, I am finally about to realise my dream of graduating from University at the end of this year, through distance education. Despite originating from the pre digital age, becoming computer literate was an aspect forced by the need for remaining employed in pre-independent Zimbabwe changing world.

Seven years ago, employment and economical considerations resulted in my becoming remotely based. This became my blessing in disguise because despite limited and difficult access to the internet, I have been able to achieve this. In addition, the internet has allowed me to undertake setting up and administrating a social network and fundraising site for Zimcare Trust, an organisation, which is the head office for several centres dealing with intellectually challenged persons. Hitherto, they were unknown on the virtual network. Full exploitation is however, hampered by access to a slow network and a reliance on personal funding.

Currently, I am trying to facilitate the movement of used computer equipment from a donor in the United Kingdom, which will be used to further support for the stakeholders of this organisation.

Historically, I would need to start with my mother. She faced the struggle of growing up as a first generation, mixed race person. Shunned by paternal and segregated from maternal family by the prevailing laws and societal influences she suffered severe isolation from supportive community. Her circumstances never allowed the opportunity for formal education yet, she acquired a wealth of informal knowledge that laid to waste for want of a nurturing environment. As a self-taught literate woman, she could not believe in dreams because the barriers were so insurmountable for her.

My life was, in part shaped by this history. The greater part spent dealing with clinical depression, a sense of failure and frustration as a form two, high school dropout. Feeling inadequate and voiceless was part of my life and in this, always fighting to be heard as the voice speaking for the weak and the vulnerable, the disempowered self of my historical background included.

Over the years, I have used short stories published in local magazines to build awareness of various issues, child car safety, teen safety, rape and, most recently published, an article based on my experience as a parent and observation of life. It covers the need for parents to have more confidence in their ability as parents in terms of knowing their children more intimately then the many professionals who become involved in teaching, treating and caring for them. This further intention of this article is to give professionals thought about the essential contribution of parents in assisting them to make the best decisions in their professional capacity.

As a single parent who is fortunately blessed with two children who are making a success of their lives, I can attest that, it was in no small way that the internet served to allow me access to information, which launched them on their present life journeys and continues to do so.

Last year, my daughter graduated with first class honours and was the award-winning student in her field of Web development and design competing against male counterparts. My son is currently one of a select few chosen for a signature four-year masters degree in Computer Sciences.

It is my belief that the more women are empowered on the internet, the less opportunity there will be for the manipulation of networks exploiting woman and children. In addition, the internet is important to facilitating the contribution of woman who do not have any other platform from the seclusion of their homes and accessing international information is also a way of guarding against exploitation by more sophisticated or worldly wise individuals.

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This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Comments

sabapetit's picture

Thank you for sharing!

Dear Rayella,

Thank you for sharing your experience of empowerment! I love it! You are demonstrating us that everything is possible when you are determined and constant, when you follow your dreams! Neither difficulties can stop us from what we want! Your story is inspirational for all those who think that it is impossible to learn something new or those who feel lazy to start a new project at a mature age. Congratulations!

Keep spreading your experience because is inspirational and motivational! Thank you!

Peace,

Sabapetit

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