Women regarded as useless, underwent torture, suffering, did sacrifices and the unthinkable just to safe their families, pleased their communities and men especially… yet were not hailed for their good work and huge selfless sacrifices.
Then came the creation of the International Women’s Day which celebrates the “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” that is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.
For the past years in my community women have faced a lot of challenges just because of their gender. This time around living in a conflict stricken zone, the challenges are up to its peak. Truth be told, women and children as usual are affected most. Killings, rise in death tolls, children and women violated sexually, physically, psychologically and economically as the number of internally displaced persons increase every day.
This is the voice of an internally displaced woman – settling down in a new place not out of your own will is not easy especially when the family members lives apart from each other. My case may be better or rather worse than that of others but whatever the case I had to balance myself and belief for the better…. as the saying goes “no situation is permanent” so I had to fight back so as to meet up to life’s challenges. My secret:- I focused on my strengths and weakness (worked on my weaknesses) and set up new goals for myself which I was determined to achieve no matter how long that was going to take me which implies I “think equal” to the task.
The goals strengthening for me meant believing for the better thus I had to “Build Smart.” Because I “think equal” and believed in myself and because of the encouragement I got from family, friends and relations, I got a dream job (I am passionate about sexual and reproductive health and early childhood development) which has enabled me to empower adolescents (girls and boys), women and parents (mothers and fathers) as a whole to “think equal and balance for better.”
As an internally displaced female leader I have been able to achieve my goals – I have been able to braved through so far, of course you and many others can as well.
Working on my strengths enabled me to turn one of my hobbies into an economic activity – Now that is “Innovative Change.” This hobby of mine is hair dressing. Before I would plait hair just for fun especially when trying out new styles. During the shutdown periods with no movement in my community, I challenged myself to do hair wigs instead of just wasting about while waiting for shutdown period to be over, instead of working with “pen and paper” I suppose my brain and hands "changed innovatively." As a result I hear positive statements like “Great job, I love your hair or your wig, I want to place an order because I need one for myself, etc.” This will go a long way to enhance my livelihood and I don’t care if others see it as a mean thing to do. Just believe in yourself and be decent.
My point here is when you think or have something in mind that you want to do, you have to believe in it, try it out (give it your best), seek help where and/ or when necessary and do not give up for quitters never win. If you are not where you want to be you can always use your side skills to get to where you want to be.
Just be the woman you are and work on your strengths and weakness so as to set your life goals. Remember, you do not have to build a new car model or build an industry for your work to be considered innovative. Start small and end big (just where you want to find yourself). It worked for me, it certainly will for you.
My dear sisters, as we commemorate the International Women’s Day 2019, let us “Think Equal, Build Smart and Change Innovatively” to bridge the gender gap.