My dream is to be a great storyteller. Although I do feel that I am driven, I do not really have set in stone markers or timelines of where I want to be and at when. I would rather explore my community, and other communities, and do my best to shut out sometimes, ill- based pre- conceptions about people and places and initially try to build up my own ideas.

I want to be that person who can sit back and listen, and empathise without patronising. I want people to want to share with me, and see me as someone who they can trust to tell their stories honestly, and in ways that effectively highlight their wants and needs.

The reason I would like to extend this beyond my own community, besides the fact that I have the desire to learn as many different things from as many different people as possible, is that I would like to explore just how similar or different the wants and needs of different people around the world are.

The world is not just made up of different nationalities and cultures and so on, we are also all individual people, with unique thought patterns and ideas and through getting know different people and communities I hope to find ways in which we can all relate to each other and ways in which other peoples stories can help us to understand our own lives and hopefully start to try to find ways to improve them.

For me true empowerment comes not necessarily being financially successful, having the best career or being a great scholar or those sorts of things, but from agency. The truly empowered woman can choose for herself whether she would like to be a high powered business woman, or a stay at home mother, she can choose how she wants to dress, where she wants to go and what she wants to do .

I would like to be a Voices of Our Future Correspondent so that I can have the chance to be guided through the best ways to learn about people and tell their stories in ways which give them the greatest relevance to as many people as possible. I want to learn to write stories that not only address concrete issues, but also resonate with my feelings of what female empowerment is.

For me personally, while for the most part I am not lacking in agency, I still have other things to overcome which I feel this programme will help me with. The first is having the courage to insert myself into peoples’ lives and make them feel comfortable with me. The only way I have had to overcome this so far is to keep a smile on my face and pretend I am a bold, confident person and most importantly making sure I express it clearly when I am interested in something someone is telling me (people love to feel like their words are important ). The second thing is that while it is all good to learn as much as you can from people, at some point, to tell an effective story you need to find direction. I feel this programme will help me find ways to identify directions to take with stories that will give them the most relevance early on and give me more time to produced focussed pieces.

I have many more flaws, most of which I probably have not even identified, but I feel working here that my strengths will not only be celebrated but enhanced. Having people read my words and actually take time to think about them has been great, and I hope it doesn’t stop just yet!

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.

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You are indeed a story teller dear sister. Go!!!!! and acheive your goal in life.

Love busayo

Busayo Obisakin Women inspiration Development center Ile-Ife, Nigeria busobisaki@yahoo.com womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com

Dear Mudiwa, Do not worry; people will want to share with you because you want to "sit back and listen, and empathize without patronizing." That is very important and for a listener/storyteller. I am glad you include "stay at home mother" in the list of choices for a truly empowered woman! With warm regards, rozjean

That idea struck me, MudiwaM, about how the true measure of empowerment is agency, how it is in the act of freely choosing where and how one gives one's gifts to serve others that one receives the power.

Focus on your strengths, not your "flaws", so it will be your strengths that grow and bloom. : )

Best, Jeanette

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin