Being a kid who grew up in urban areas, I never knew anything about rural places. They were places I would see on TV and life would continue. I grew up in a family where I was taught that everyone was equal and my sister and I would perform household chores on the same level. In fact, I am a much better cook than my sister. We all went to school and had the same rights. At school I would study with boys and girls; we even had more girls compared to boys, and girls occupied the top places.
Born into a culture that defines girls as timid, reserved, and withdrawn, I found myself to be a misfit.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.
A few weeks ago, I joined the Resonate team as a Trainer. My first training was so memorable that I wanted to document it in a blog, and to share the impact that working with these wonderful young women had on me.
At Resonate, we host workshops with women and girls so they can tell their own story. It’s sometimes hard, without having been in one of our workshops, to understand what a catalytic impact that this simple skill can have. Learning to tell your own story helps you to understand the values that drive you, the strength you’ve demonstrated, and the great potential you still have, no matter what age you are.
“Resonate trainings gave me keys to unlock my strengths and overcome my weakness. It reminded me that leadership is not about position but about us scanning an existing problem in the society and gathering our strengths to come up with a solution. Resonate reminded me that falling is an accident but that staying down is a choice.” – Nicole, …
Then I heard, “And the winner is Wendo Dorcas”. That evening I took the trophy to my room, sat on my hotel bed and cried until my ribs hurt, I cried for the woman who did not have confidence in herself, who considered herself inferior, who was fearlessly afraid, who was so proud of herself, for doing something she had never done before. She had pitched and won. Yes!
Today is the International Day of the Girl, a celebration of girls and young women everywhere and the Day of the Girl’s theme for 2016 is ‘What Counts for Girls: the Role of Data in Measuring Progress’, designed to address gaps in data on girls worldwide.
This month is my third month working as a Trainer at Resonate and every time I talk to women and girls that we train for follow-up, I keep being blown away by what women are capable of achieving. They create changes for themselves, their families and their communities once they are helped to have a sense of self-confidence in their abilities and given some tools for leadership and decision-making.
My dream was to become an engineer even though I knew it was going to be a big challenge for two reasons: taking many hours of sciences, and lack of support from my classmates and friends. It seemed to me it was almost a given that sciences aren’t female subjects, and that as a girl even if I attempted I would not perform as well as a boy would. I demonstrated the opposite, I was able to graduate from engineering school and now my goal is to inspire other girls to believe in themselves and never let others make decisions for them.
Aline Mwiza Uwashimimana lives in Muhanga, the Southern Province of Rwanda and works as a sales person for UAP Insurance/Muhanga. Aline attended Resonate’s Storytelling for Leadership training through our partnership with Cornerstone Leadership Academy-Rwanda, where she completed her high school education in Biology, Chemistry and Geography.