We become what we see - The important of mentorship from an early age

The environment that a girl is raised in influences and shapes her life, her mind, her perceptions, her dreams, aspirations and limitations.
I have been thinking about the people that played a role in my up bringing, specifically the women that were in my life when I was child. They fed me, nurtured me but most importantly defined what a woman was to me in their word and deed.

My idea of who a woman is, my role in society, what I could do or not do. What I could achieve or not achieve. I became what I saw. I emulated my mother, by wearing her shoes and wearing lipstick when playing house for children imitate what they see.

She was my first role model. I was surrounded by a lot of women growing up who I aspired to be. They guided me in word and deed to reach out for my goals, work hard and dare to dream. They shaped my values, dreams,aspirations and my perceptions about life.

The dreams might have changed and are still changing but I am what I am today because of what I saw.

I have been thinking of girls from less privileged communities. The type of role models that the community has to offer. I have been thinking of their perceptions of what a woman and her role in society. The limitations of their dreams and aspirations because of what they see. I have been thinking of their potential, the girl who could be the doctor who finds a cure of AIDS, the next constitutional judge, the next president, the next social worker etc. I have been thinking of all this potential that could be lost.
This has challenged to think of the importance of mentorship in a girl's child and how that could change a woman's socio economic status and even her community at large. Mentorship is vital if we are to empower women. Girls need role model, an example, for when they see they will be inspired to dream, to work hard and achieve greatness. When they hear the inspirational stories they will believe that if she or he can do it so can I.

When they see, they will become and inspire the next girl to do the same!

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Concepts of WEE Mentorship
  • Courtney Mone't Randolph
    I agree that mentorship is important. Especially in poor communities. I did a program called project dream my old middle school that was centered in an urban community. Being a mentor held more weight than I expected. Those middle school girls had stories that I could not even fathom a little girl having or going through. I did my best to be an example but they needed more women than just me that would be committed to seeing them through to highschool and on to college. I have my own 9 year old little girl now and I make sure she signs up for organizations like Girls Inc. and enroll in extra curricular activities. I am also mindful that even though I am a young mother I still have to be an example of a successful powerful woman for her. I am her first role model at the beginning of the day and the last role model she sees at night so I have to be on point with everything I display. This was a great entry Rumbidzai!
  • Yuven Dzekesen Juliana
    well, what I will say here is, children live by what they see and as women, bringing up a child is a collective responsibility of every community woman. Women should know that they are custodians of peace and social harmony. We are care givers and peace makers, nurturers and children bearers. The very first lessons of peace come from us mothers to our children. Understanding who we are mothers will help us to mentor our children positively.
  • That is so true Rumbi, especially in this day and age where young girls are exposed to different role models, l remember how l wanted to be an airhostess my father said to me, it would be nice travelling but when you get to a certain age and weight they may not really want you anymore. I looked in the mirror and l felt l was not beautiful enough and then eventually instead of worrying about my looks, l looked to my mother, how hardworking she was, looked at my father and l was like l want to be hands on like these people, l saw myself being someone, l practiced talking in public in front of the mirror in my mother's shoes, and as it is that which l am living today. It is that vision that was instilled in me, the importance of education, being a role model in my own society, and worse when l was an average student nobody really expected much from me but l went way beyond people's expectations. My journey is still ongoing l always tell the people l come across especially young girls that admire the important things in life, the strength, the courage. In a world filled with many want to be Kim Kardashian's, l want to be like Mitchell Obama, Hilary Clinton, Graca Machel, Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Young people are focusing more on being rich too quick, without going through the journey, it is the journey that l so much appreciate the most as compared to the results because through that journey of being broken, failing, getting up and dusting yourself, you become stronger. Through all that great role models know what to say. The best advice is never to give up on your dream despite the situation, whether you are from a poverty stricken family, no one believes in you, the starting point is yourself.
  • Hope Mabasa
    I agree Rumbidzai. I also believe that it should also be paired with changing perspective as well. Sometimes people grow up with great mentors in front of them but because they themselves lack the ability to SEE CLEARLY they get nothing out of it. Lets fix the picture and the lens. I hope this makes sense.
  • It can not be said any better than this Rumbidzai! We become what we see and hear. Our world views today are the exact reflection of our society that has become part of us. This world view influences heavily on our thinking and natural behavior towards other human beings. It molds us!
  • Noor Ahmed Narejo
    I need list of organizations that really support girls and women in Pakistan so that I can refer cases of girls and women who are victims of discrimination and violence for the legal support. My email address noorahmed.narejo@gmail.com Thanks
  • Noor Ahmed Narejo
    I agree to some extent what Rumbidzai Derera has written. Belonging to Pakistani society I know how the society oppresses the girls and women where responsibilities of women are fixed by men. In the write up the ideal situation is presented. As an activist of women's rights I spend most of my time with marginalized communities where I see how women live life denied of their basic rights. Girls do the same by following their mothers. Changing mindset of men has always been a big challenge. Yes, there are inspiring women who despite facing all forms of violence are very resilient and courageous they need to be emulated. For the girls who have no access to education the loft ideas would be illusive. Ground realities need to be kept in mind while proposing such transformation of life of the girls and the women.
  • Thobekile Sithole
    it is true, we become what we behold and i think it is important we become more deliberate when reaching out to girls from less privelged communities and rural areas, because their reality does not include seeing empowered women. We need to see things in terms of what we can do to help the next generation and being a mentor to young girls would be a good start.
  • Sibo Hlabangana
    This is so true, children learn from what they see and if we don't practice what we'd like them to become, we do them a disservice. Let's indeed be the role models we want young girls to become.
    • Well said!!
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  • Heanneah .S. Farwenee
    Definitely agree with you.
  • Michel Choto
    This is so true, "we can only become what we see". Girls need women like you and me to inspire and motivate them to fulfill their potential.
  • Myriam Tadros
    I totally agree with every single word u have written ... I mean we as children ... we see and we learn ... Children at an early age began to see to comprenhd and to digest the world around them ... they are introduced to the language they will speak .. to their moms and daddies to their families and to their communities and then to their country .. So I Think that if a child is born in an environment (whatever is the country) that does not appreciate women .. then with a percentage of 95% he will be like them ... so if the baby is a women ... she will probably not get any education or she will learn the basics and that will be enough for her .. and she will spend the rest of her life in that shell ... BUT the baby is a boy .. He will be educated that women should not get respect should not work .. women must get married .. women are here to full-fill pleasure .. women are accessorises and maybe even more ... the environment is very important .. so I think to reduce its influence .. we must take in consideration schools .... schools must make people and children at an early age aware about equality ... either private or public schools either mixed or separated .. it's all the same ... we need awareness .. we need educated people ...
    • Yes Myriam, you raise a great point! Schools do play a pivotal role but sometimes the teachers themselves have their own gender biases about the roles of women. So education and awareness is needed across the board.
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