How I spent International Women’s Day

Guest Post by Erna Grasz

Life Transformers Pic_2It is pretty darn exciting how this ripple called Leadership Incubator is turning into a tidal wave. As I sit here in a garden on a Sunday morning, I cannot think of a better way for Asante Africa Foundation to be creating change in what is soon to be thousands of lives because of seed planting and nurturing support. I am in Tanzania right now and I visited the Machame Girls School last Saturday morning.

Why? You might ask. Grab your coffee- I want to tell you a story here.

Luciana (one of our scholarship students) with two other young women from her school, who attended our Asante Africa Leadership Incubator last December, came back to their school and met with their Head Teacher to start a women’s Leadership Club. What started as a club of 3 young ladies in December has now grown to 42, and it’s still growing.

The girls requested the help of our Tanzanian team for women mentors, leadership books and a partnership with other girls’ schools to share the leadership experience. This led to a meeting with the whole club on Saturday with Esther (a mentoring teacher). I brought the leadership books that I had carried all the way from home.

As we spoke, I explained to them that they are pioneers – they are the first school to start a leadership club from the Asante Africa Leadership Incubator. This coming December, they will be the mentors and role models to the other Leadership Incubator participants. They will facilitate discussions on the how-to’s, the good, the hard, the mistakes, and the benefits from participating in the program.

During our time on Saturday, we did a few exercises as a group on showing confidence even if they are timid and nervous, how to shake hands with men confidently, and how to use their voices to express their confidence. Then we practiced these exercises with the two men we had with us, much to their surprise.

Starting next week, our Tanzania coordinator has set up women entrepreneurs and professionals to come meet with the girls a couple of times a month, and to partner with other girls’ schools to network with. For me, this just demonstrates the power of opportunity, the gift of knowledge and exposure, and how effective it is to support students with their ideas of implementation.

How will you demonstrate the power of opportunity to young girls like Luciana?

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2 Responses to How I spent International Women’s Day

  1. Stacey Roberts-Ohr says:

    Thank you for posting this story. I think the stategy you are using to help these young women find their voices is of tremendous value. I especially liked the story of teaching the girls how to shake hands with men. This is a powerful learning expeirence.

    I just read in the newspaper today that a Swiss tourist was raped by 13 men in India today. This Is exactly why teaching girls to have a voice is so important.

    Another message I would like to pass on is that all women deal with low self esteem at several different points in their lives. I think it ebbs and flows and friends and family members can do a great deal to support one another during these low times

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