I remember when I was around eight or nine years old, I used to doodle encouraging messages to myself on my school notebooks. “You are really cool!” or “Kinga is amazing!” were my favorites. While I really believed in my superpowers -- which I thought were both being an optimist and knowing how to communicate with animals -- that didn’t mean that I thought I was better than anyone. My notes were just reminders that I was a strong girl who had hobbies and was surrounded by friends.
I believe in introspection, where one digs deep in their heart to search for who they really are and what their purpose is. This introspection isn’t just for personal gain, but to meaningfully improve the lives of those around them. This process led me to realize that girls and young women often suffer in silence. This has motivated me to speak louder and begin my journey of elevating the voices of the voiceless. I am eager to affect change that will make my community a better place for girls and women.
On May 26, 2018 in a landslide victory (66.4%), the Irish electorate voted to repeal Ireland’s near-total Constitutional ban on abortion: the 8th Amendment. Since 1983, the 8th Amendment forced more than 170,000 women and girls to travel abroad to access abortion services that should have been their right at home. Countless more imported pills, self-administering them without the recommended medical supervision and support. Now, with the impediment of the 8th amendment gone, the government can finally guarantee access to safe abortion in Ireland.
The first time I was embarrassed of my period was the first moment I got it. There was no pretext to that feeling of shame. It was as innate as my breath. There isn’t anything specific from my childhood that led me to this feeling of dirtiness and humiliation. It was just there. I can remember wiping and wiping, urging the blood to go away. I was disgusted by myself.
My journey as a young leader and advocate began when I was about 10 years old. Even as a child, I had so much passion for activism. Together with my fellow young activists, I led many initiatives geared towards advancing the rights of children. However, at the age of 14, my dream was cut short.
We live at a time where there is more opportunity than ever before. For some young women, the principles of feminism are encouraged. They are supported in their endeavors to get an education, be professional, and be independent. They are given equal opportunities with men in terms of education, employment, and inheritance. But, unfortunately, this is not the case for most. Despite our privileges, my generation must continue the fight for equality.
I am asked more often than I thought I would be how I got to where I am today.
It’s a position I wouldn’t have believed I’d be in ten years ago. When I was nineteen, I was close to exhausting the articles, listicles, and books on the ‘Right Way To Live Your Life,’ and walking away with my head swimming with conflicting, and often irrelevant, standards against which to measure myself.
For me, growing up was a series of realizations about the things that I ‘could not’ do, merely because I am a girl. And while my relative privilege allowed me to get an education, start working, and travel independently, the ‘do nots’ list still hasn’t fully disappeared. The need to challenge this reality is what led me to my work as a campaigner.
I am 28 years old and I grew up in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, an Eastern European country that got rid of communism the year before I was born. My parents’ life was fundamentally different than mine. They lived their younger years in a closed society based on fear, and considered family and hard work to be their core values.
Being a lesbian is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wish I could have imagined this possibility when I was younger, because when I was 11 or 12 years old, all I knew about lesbians were discriminatory things. But when I was teenager, I discovered myself.
As you read this blog, let my journey inspire you but remember that yours won’t be the same as mine because our dreams are different.
I grew up in a small city called Guwahati, tucked in the far northeast of India. My region is full of abundant resources but also had its own share of issues, like insurgency and violence, that I witnessed from a very young age. I think this is what led me to choose a career in the development space.
One of the questions that kept coming up was, “Given our current fertility rate and the traditional belief in children as a blessing, how are we going to manage our population structure?” The answer lies in investing in family planning methods that are available for people to choose of their free will and free from coercion.
Aren’t processes that affect millions of young people supposed to provide an environment that is conducive towards meaningful youth engagement and inclusion, especially in a year when the focus is on the youth? Aren’t processes supposed to be clear enough for a young man or woman on this continent to understand?
With our recommended intervention, we the Kenyan youth will feel, and say, that the Innovative Youth Intervention Center, is ours, ni yetu!