From a wind chaser to awards winner

Posted April 11, 2018 from Cameroon

I have been struggling all of my life to be me and not what situations, circumstances and the people around me wanted me to be. Being told from a very young age that my place was below the ladder despite being exposed to things and people who could help me be better was very painful.

I grew up with a natural stubbornness that made me do contrary and positive things for my second and people took me for a mischievous girl. I accepted to be mischievous than to be a no body. I had the passion to bring change in my little way and I said I would, at any given opportunity. With my mindset, I had to stubbornly join my young friends during holiday periods to make our voices heard over the radio, through a program, Holiday Forum. I had my own slot, called How to Say it in English which stayed and people kept changing the name but still exists today in CRTV Bamenda. I stole myself from the house to the radio every morning without my guardian knowing because I would be a dead animal if they knew about it. I became famous and I enjoyed the feedback. I continued my program till the end of every long holiday for 3 years and I stopped. At the end of it, I was awarded a certificate and I felt fulfilled. At home. I was useless but to my community, I was great! I remember the 1st day I went to the Higher Teachers Training school and I was called up to read. After introducing myself, I read to the satisfaction of the whole class. At the end of that lecture, a classmate came up to me and said " Are you Feka Parchibell?" I responded "yes". She said, " are you the one who was over the radio some years back?" I said "yes". She exclaimed " Jesus! I thought you were one wealthy man's child. I didn't know you were just an ordinary girl with nothing." I laughed because laughter is my priceless gift from God even though I was hurt. I was hurt because I was still reminded that I was not good to be me.

My dreams and vision kept growing and as a teacher, I said I wanted to do more than the classroom teaching, so I  decided to become a social worker through Hope for Vulnerables and Orphans  ( HOVO). People closed to me still didn't believe in me. They still thought I was crazy. I accepted to be a crazy person for the good of girls, women and vulnerable persons because I understand what they are going through. 

I still continued to have challenges and people still kept on telling me how useless my ideas were. It got to a point that a leader told me not to apply for a program because I lacked what it took to take part in it. I was so shocked! I didn't want to believe that the man-made limitations still followed me to present day especially from "a changemaker. I stopped talking and sharing my ideas with her and every other dream killer in my life. That comment from her made me not to do many things for a while but I told myself that she was of no use to me.

I took my courage and continued with my activities. I continued going to the villages and reaching out to my girls and women in and out of Cameroon and before they knew it, 2017, I was awarded the African Dream Achievers Award! Many were shocked and they openly expressed it. How does menstrual hygiene and sanitary pads earn someone an award? If only they knew what menstruation and SRHR meant in the lives of girls and women. I continued my "madness", "tourism", "wasting my time" as many saw what I was doing passionately until a few days ago, I was awarded the 50 Most Influential Young Cameroonian award, emerging 1st in my category as Social Entreprise and Philanthropy and overall 2nd among the 50 and the 1st woman. 

Yes, my "madness" got recognized twice in one year and I am motivated to do more. We have to keep so many positive people around us if we have to grow. My challenges made me dream big and I am, in my own little way, touching lives across the world. I motivate millions of young people and encourage millions of girls to hold unto their dreams through some of the programs we run at HOVO Vocational centre. 


This post was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker..

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