Nicely put, I live in a negative, male-driven environment where the dreams of women are stifled even before they are expressed and where this tradition is championed as one that preserves the modesty of women. In 2010, as the result of a spiritual re-awakening, I sought to escape this situation that was proving to be so detrimental to my sanity and sought to emancipate others who happen to be in the same ordeal. I studied harder than ever; worked harder than ever; volunteered even more; in the hope of achieving my goals. During this struggle in the path of reclaiming my self-esteem and self-identity, I discovered the Voices of Our Future program of World Pulse. The journey thereafter has been surreal.
Even before the official program had started, all the applicants were inspired and refined to deliver their best of journalism. It was challenging yet rewarding. I re-discovered my self-esteem in a new light as I overcame – one article at a time – the internal barriers of self-doubt. We had begun a global conversation surrounding issues that affected women universally. The power of conversation is that it empowers the voice that has remained undermined for years. The first step towards accomplishing any goal is to be able to communicate it clearly, confidently to someone other than you, and here we were doing just that – and more. Thirty-one women continued the conversation from the point others had left off. As the conversation ruffles the masses, we graduate from the program with a pledge to surge ahead with our advocacy against a lopsided society.
In my résumé (and anywhere that lists my credentials), I make it a point to mention that the Voices of Our Future program hones us in “solutions-oriented” journalism. That is not a fancy term I picked up from the training materials to embellish my résumé. That stands for a real skill I have developed throughout the training. If you compare my articles submitted over the months, you will notice a refreshing pattern. Registering the fact that brainstorming for ideas is relatively simpler than execution, World Pulse always focused on the latter. “You see a problem? What can you do to address it and to engage the wider community to act upon a solution?” My articles are no longer limited to problem-identification. They go beyond that to accommodate solutions vital for the welfare of women, and with that we indeed change the world through our words.
My mentors have elevated the meaning of mentorship. With every round of editing, I could see my work come alive a little more till it was fully resuscitated to take on the world. That is an integral one of the many connections I have made over this network. The community’s support is not restricted to our journalistic endeavours. It is a spring-board for change-makers. Whether in the form of an innovative logo or crisis-mapping software, World Pulse never let go of my hand in the crucial and daunting first stages of my projects.
That was months ago. Today, World Pulse is my solace from all the uncertainties, all the discrimination that a misogynistic culture thrusts upon me. Today, World Pulse is a community that immortalizes my vision, my stories.