Young but powerful

“There’s nothing wrong with me for I am a young woman of magnificent beauty.”

Grace Phiri first joined our YWOMB family 4 years as a timid grade 8 learner. She was very quiet by nature, and we were all aware that she had something to say but simply needed the platform to do so. She told us that it had been 4 days since her first day of high school and she was struggling to make friends are even spark any sort of conversation with her peers. Understandably, she had a huge impact on her self-confidence and her overall happiness while at school.

She expresses that lunch breaks where the most difficult parts of the school day, just because all her fears had become a reality. She found herself sitting alone during this time. To her it seemed as though all her peers were already formed friendship groups, she says it was during this time that she felt most lonely.

It was during this time that she heard an announcement about some group, that she had no knowledge of, that would gather during lunch breaks. She says that she thought a lot about whether she should continue to wallow in sadness or find out what this “group” was about. She chose the latter, and has never looked back since.

Grace expresses that since making the decision to become a member of Young Women of Majestic Beauty, she has found a second home and a place of solace. She recalls being repeatedly teased for the colour of her skin; the bullying was so severe that it began to feed into the way that she perceived herself. She became insecure and unhappy around her own peers. However, YWOMB has since taught and given her the confidence to embrace what others may see has an imperfection and to further value and appreciate life in general, regardless of the challenges that come with it. She says, “There’s nothing wrong with me for I am a young woman of magnificent beauty.”

Grace is living proof of the power that having difficult conversations has. At Epic Youth Matters, through YWOMB, we facilitate conversations about societal constructs, careers and self-esteem, amongst other things. We host picnics, workshops and camps that have proven beneficial to the beneficiaries in our community. And although we have substantial impact on Grace’s life, we cannot ignore the impact that her family has had in shaping her into the young women se is today. Grace comes from a loving family that supports her the best way she can. Her brother, Emmanuel Phiri, known as Ceejay to us; is also a member of our Epic Youth Matters family. He is a member of Young Men of Honour (YMOH). With both Grace and Ceejay being able to benefit from the fruits of our organisation, they have helped each other become the best versions of themselves.

Grace has not only become comfortable in her own skin but she managed to make lots of friends, some of them members of YWOMB. Grace says she also recalls watching a movie at one of the YWOMB camps about a girl who last her arm while surfing and still continued to do what she loves, surf. Grace applies the lesson that she learnt from this movie into her own life. She says that she now knows that sometimes life challenges are difficult to deal with but one can still succeed and overcome these challenges. She strives to better herself and possibly help others who may be in a dark place like she once was in. She hopes to do this by, in the future, influencing policies and laws in the future. But for now, she hopes to simply impact the lives of those around her, like her friends and family.

Grace shares what she has learnt at the YWOMB camps with those around her. By doing this she is able to better those around and possibly her community. She does; however, have plans to make an even bigger impact on her community in the future, as previously mentioned. Her involvement in her community is one her goals. She will soon be able to bring innovations and ideas that will help her community which is currently ravished by gang-related violence, drug use and poverty. These innovations will surely have a positive impact on the laws, policies and practises that currently exist. These ideas will also be used by the WVL fund manager. These ideas may include a more modern take or issues that YWOMB would like to tackle.

Grace says, “We are diamonds in the dust waiting to be discovered. Just as a diamond can only be polished by another diamond it is only through genuine engagement with others that people can polish their character and help each other out to reach greater heights. It saddens me that l will have to leave soon for university. But l will always carry with me the values and lessons that I’ve learnt in YMOMB.”