My name is Blessing Gwidzingwi. l am a 19 years old young woman from Zimbabwe. l wrote my Advanced level studies at Mukaro high school in 2021 and l got 9 points out of the possible 10 points for my chosen subjects. I am currently teaching mathematics, physics and ICT as a part time job to raise money to go to the university and forge a career as a data scientist. In my spare time, I like to write essays and articles.
I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI) to attend the She Speaks Africa event where I got to meet with other young women and girls my age with the same mindset and a passion for employing their capabilities for the advancement of humankind.
During the event, I learnt about the challenges that some of the girls in my age group in Africa are facing, that include; gender based violence, being deprived of the opportunity to go to school, being introduced to early marriages, lack of sanitary pads, body shaming and rape, among others, and since it was just the Southern African region represented, it got me wondering how profound these challenges are in other part of the African continent. I must admit, I was heart-broken.
From the discussion that we had, facilitated by girls and young women like myself, l learnt about how we can join efforts to advance the wellbeing of the girl child. This includes; holding more meetings and forums to empower young women and girls, Organizing campaigns to educate girls about their rights as per the United Nations and the African Union; making donations when called out to help girls; mentoring girls so as to take up new challenges and catapult ourselves to greater heights; raising awareness to families so that they do not depend on their daughters to bring finances into the home-through dowry out of early or forced marriages; educating girls and young women on contraceptives; early pregnancies and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Also, to be able to pen down our ideas and solutions to some of the challenges we face, to organizations like The Amazon Leadership Initiative (TheALI), Graca Machel Trust, WoMandla Foundation and others, as they are ready to assist in looking after the welfare of girls.
With so much knowledge that I gained from the event, l managed to implement some of the lessons learnt to get out of my comfort zone and pave way for those who are coming after me. l shared the information with my friends who could not attend the event due to various reasons. l also got an opportunity to extend the talk with some of the pupils that I tutor. l researched about programs that help girls in my locality and l came across Pamuhacha, an NGO that helps vulnerable children who are below 18 years and are HIV positive. It caters for everything about education and provides beneficiaries with all that they need for school. l am currently working on engaging this organization in the welfare of some girls in my community who are not going to school. l believe in the saying ‘I am because you are, and because you are, I am’ which to me means, l have to help and lend a hand to someone else just like someone also did lend me their hand.
I believe we all have a part to play in making each other’s lives better and we can all achieve our dreams despite the drawbacks. Black Child, Your Dreams are Valid.
By: Blessing Gwidzingwi. 19 years old , Zimbabwe.