The Power of My Story of Self
By: Yvette Teta Nyiridandi
July 27, 2017
My Story of Self
Born into a culture that defines girls as timid, reserved, and withdrawn, I found myself to be a misfit. I was the first girl in my family, and the second among six children. I was taught to be responsible for all the household chores, including taking care of my big brother as well as my younger ones.
When I was in grade 3, I campaigned to become the class captain. The only criteria was academic excellence, which I met. I was the first girl to run for the position and I had the zeal to campaign. But I was defeated by a boy classmate. When I asked my teacher why he did not choose me, he said “You really think a girl can lead my class? Not in my existence. Girls are good for nothing.” I was heartbroken and disappointed. “Did I lose the post because I was a girl? What could that boy do that I wasn’t able to do?” Such questions kept flowing in my head out of disappointment and anger.
However, this experience also gave me the will to fight for women’s empowerment. I was exposed to all-girls schooling and I kept my ambition to show everyone the power that girls hold. I work very hard to raise a good reputation for girls. I campaigned for small leadership positions to contribute to the betterment of my community. I am involved in many volunteering activities, some of which involve physical efforts. I do not quit any physical work so that I do not give the wrong impression about girls being weaker than boys. Some boys even call me “Igishegabo”, which means tom-boy, but I don’t really mind because I know what I want. I became very good in class, and I won many competitions because I didn’t want to believe that I was good for nothing, according to my former teacher’s definition of a girl. My parents became very proud of me and surprisingly, they talk about me more than they do about my brothers.
This is my story. I learned how to communicate it and share it with others from the workshop I attended with Resonate.
I wanted to participate in Resonate’s workshop because I believed it would enhance my passion for leadership. In addition, I believed sharing my story to fellow girls would inspire them to use their strengths and abilities to make a change in the community.
When I attended the workshop, I shared my story with the group and was amazed at how the audience understood the exact message that I was trying to convey. This is important because my story reveals all the values that I have. When I learned about Storytelling for Leadership, I knew it would be my powerful tool to help my peers stand up for what they believe in. I am interested in public services, particularly the amendment of laws and problem-solving citizen’s challenges. I believe that because of Resonate workshops, I am more professionally ready for any challenge.
I was even more thrilled to learn that while Resonate helps women to be professionally ready for leadership by using their stories, they are also starting to engage men too. The last activity of the day was about gender equality. We were reminded of the importance of gender equality to the development of the country. We also highlighted examples where we see boys being discriminated upon, like how there are more girl schools than boy schools, and also examples where girls are discriminated upon, such as in families, where boys are given more privileges. We learned that gender differences affect us all.
I would like to thank the Gashora school administration, Resonate, Imbuto Foundation, and Spring Accelerator who gave us the chance to attend this impactful workshop. Resonate exceeded my expectations, and I am looking forward to continuing to share my ideas and effectively showcase my values.
Teta is a student at Gashora Girls Academy and recently attended our first Boys Engagement workshop for participants from Kepler University and the Imbuto Foundation.