CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS TO CREATING CHANGE IN MY COMMUNITY The community that I live in is a very patriarchal one where people still believe in male dominance. At times you find that it is difficult for a woman to make her own decisions without first consulting a male figure in her life, (married through civil rights or traditional). It is widely believed that a real wife is one traditionally married It is so unbelievable to find someone who is not exposed to other cultures as most of them have never been out of Swaziland with law here still requiring husband’s consent for a married woman to get travel documents. The other challenge is illiteracy and lack exposure to technology. Most women are not educated and you find that after school girls still believe in becoming maids get married. The problem with being married without a being educated is that the men tend to abuse because one doesn’t have any financial say. In that marriage you will find 3 or more other women as wives to that man since this is a polygamous nation. Poverty also contributes to lack of education and early marriages.
Present plans to overcome the above challenges If given a chance I would like women to be engaged in income generating projects which will make them to be self-reliant. I partnered with 3 women from a nearby rural area and we take trips to South Africa to buy clothes, shoes and hair accessories for resale so that they can be able to stand on their own and to take care of some of their children’s needs. We have been doing this for almost 3 months now. I would wish them to introduce their peers in cross-border trading instead of just waiting for their husband to bring food on the table. What if the husbands don’t do that???? The other project that is still in the pipeline is to engage girls in sports, just to take away the notion that “the woman’s place is in the kitchen” but I would like them to know that even sports can be a woman’s place. I’m planning to encourage them to engage in elite sports like cricket and tennis. This would also keep them away from abusive boys and later men when they grow up because in sports they will get to meet different people with different perspectives and ideas about life.
Pulsewire and other online communities These communities will help me to interact with other women and people from different countries. This will make it possible to share ideas and get information on how to help women and girls in this society. I believe that if women are given financial independence and education there will be significant change even in issues concerning HIV/AIDS, finances, family planning. The issue of HIV/AIDS is so unbelievably high in this country such that one would find even school going children at ages 14 to 16 taking Anti-retroviral drugs. I always what will happen to the country if the future generation is perishing at this rate.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.