Spreading the word

YWOMB hosts picnics for its members, which included a number of girls from different areas and backgrounds. One of the young woman that attended this picnic was Zakirah. She mentioned that she was inspired by the words of one of the speakers at one of the picnics. The speaker spoke about self-love and society’s perception of beauty. This was a conversation that was very relevant to her at that moment in time. Zakirah was facing difficulty believing that she was beautiful and she struggled with self-love. By being exposed to the wise words of the speaker she was able to overcome this inner conflict and eventually recognise her own beauty and not the unrealistic standards set by society. It is for this reason that Zakirah is a driver of change. She is able to absorb information and advice and apply it to her life and the lives of others. She takes what she has learnt from the YWOMB and shares it with others allowing her to better herself and those around her.

Zakirah was introduced to our organisation as a child while attending the Epic Youth Matters holiday (kids) club. She attended the holiday clubs religiously and was a recurring face at each of our events. After she reached the age that allowed her to become a volunteer at the same holiday club that she attended she capitalised on this opportunity and became a member of the Epic Youth Matters team. She did this while also being an active member of YWOMB. Honestly speaking, Zakirah did take some time to adapt to the work load of being such an involved member of this organisation. However, she was able to adapt and become a valuable member of the Epic Youth Matters team. The moment when Zakirah became a more contributing member of the team can be pinpointed one specific Epic Youth Matters event. This was at the holiday club that took place in December 2019; Zakirah began to show work ethic and more involvement with the children that she was assigned to.

The change Zakirah has shown is evident in the way she leads her life. Previously, she was consumed in her own well-being but she has become more concerned with the well-being of others. She pays attention to those around her and how her actions may influence them. This change is the result of being exposed to people of different backgrounds in YWOMB. This programme allowed her to develop relationships with girls that were going through different hardships. This facilitated the realisation that her own hardships were significant and helped her to support those around her and that she has the opportunity to help those around her tackle the hardships that they are facing.

It is because of the Grantee Organisation funded through WVL-SA that this change occurred. The funds provided by this organisation has allowed Epic Youth Matters to guide Zakirah towards change through our different prgrammes. Without the Grantee Organisation funded through WVL-SA our organisation would not be able to host the events that took place which allowed Zakirah to become the person that she is today.

From her participation in different programmes compiled by Epic Youth Matters, Zakirah has acquired a number of skills and knowledge. She has been provided with lots of information about growth, love and honour; all in a female context. While holiday club has taught her how to interact with children of various ages. This skill specifically had an influence of the career path that she has chosen – teaching. Other people that had an influence on her newly acquired skills are her family, friends and community because it is these people that she is able to share her knowledge with while also receiving knowledge from them. For example, at school Zakirah is able to start a conversation amongst her friends about the topics explored at YWOMB and therefore get feedback from her friends that she can implement into her own life. It can therefore be said that Zakirah has exhibited an evident change in the way she relates to those around her; basically, she has become more empathetic and less self-absorbed. This is a change that has been readily accepted by the people around her for obvious reasons; she a more pleasant person to be around. This change has also allowed her to positively impact the lives of others. As previously mentioned, Zakirah often shares what she has learnt form holiday club and YWOMB which allows others to change their own lives for the better. In this way she can better her community by giving them the tools they need to better themselves; more so for the women in her community.

Zakirah is yet to make changes in laws, policies or practices in her community; however, this remains a goal of hers. She has been successful in making changes in her family’s practises. For example, at YWOMB Zakirah learnt about recognising one’s own beauty regardless of what others think, she then shared this with her family and they stopped making negative comments about people’s appearances and enforcing society’s unrealistic beauty standards. At present Zakirah is focusing on learning and plans on accumulating knowledge before introducing any new knowledge to the organisation. This is important because this means that when she does introduce new knowledge, she would provide educated ideas.

Although Zakirah experienced a few challenges at the beginning of her journey she has found her way to overcome these challenges and develop into a valuable volunteer and member of the broader society. She previously did not fully meet the demands of Epic Youth Matters but she was able to adapt and contribute to the success of the organisation. Zakirah’s future plans are to continue volunteering and complete her degree in teaching. She has come a long way and continues to flourish every day.