I am Sister Zeph a woman who is known as a woman of action. I started working as an education activist at age of 13 and I kept working for 21 years without any break. I taught myself, I taught hundreds of underprivileged girls, I gave them free education, I taught them skills so they can become empowered. My students are teachers, nurses, professional tailors, beauticians, administrators, business ladies, healthy and educated mother and college and university students. My students are those who cannot afford to have education otherwise. I buy groceries for widows and orphans, I buy them winter and summer clothes, I feed many children every day with good food. I help burn victim girls to get treatment whose families does not care for them. I provide everything for those children who are homeless and help them to get freedom from child labor. I have saved hundreds of children from child labor and girls from child marriage and honor killing, I have taught self-defense techniques to so many girls with the help of my friends so that they can defend themselves from rape and violence.
I have been awarded two international awards, one global prize and one gold medal winning film about my life and work.
But today when I look back it seems like I have done what I could do, but now I can do nothing. I was having pain in my backbone and knees for many years. I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with many problems I was having deficiency of iron and vitamin D. I was having low blood pressure problem, but I did not do anything to make it all correct. I was having problem in my lower abdominal, I was diagnosed with a cyst and I did not take it serious. Then it all started getting worse, pain in lower back, lower abdominal, in legs, I feel dizzy, I cannot focus on anything, I try my best to work but I cannot. I am in pain all the time, I cannot even pass the urine without pain, I have fever and cough, cannot lift even my laptop’s weight, I feel sleepy always, my skin has gotten dry, I have inflammation in my lower abdominal, pigmentation and wrinkles on my face that I do not go on camera without makeup and I am gaining weight so quick and everybody is surprised to look at me, I have to do dieting to keep my weight in control because if I do exercise it hurts my body a lot and I have polycystic ovaries which can lead me to many other health issues.
My friends would always say to me to take some rest and medication, but I would always feel guilty, I always wanted to spend money on an orphan child instead of spending for my medication.
But now when I have no option I have decided to go to the doctor, but I finally have to stay in hospital for one week and this is just a beginning of my treatment. I have to stay away from those burn victims who I have to give massages, five times a day or their arms will stick again to their bellies. I have to stay away from our skill center where young women from ten villages come to learn skills and I have to make sure to be there to provide them everything in time so they do not lose their interest in learning.
I have to spend so much money on my medication which I would always keep for the salaries of our staff or for many other things in the school or skill center etc.
My team members never want to come in front because they have to keep themselves in veils and they cannot reveal their identity or their families will not allow them to work. Well educated girls like to come in front, though, but I will have to pay them really high salaries, which I cannot afford but now I have found a solution and I have started giving training to my existing staff and how they can look after everything in my absence without showing their identity publicly. I wish I could think of this solution before.
I wish I could have done this before, when it was not so much severe, I wish I could have learned this before that even loving myself is a love for my cause because if I will be fine I will be able to take care of them.
I have always been feeling guilty that if I will do something for myself this will be like I am using something what belongs to my students, my time, my life, my energy everything is for them, but now it makes me so frightened when I think what if I will have to be in hospital for many weeks, what if I will die, what if I will not be around, I was not a good planner I have started taking care of myself and I will be fine but I just hope that I am not late yet.