Learning Journey: GL has taught me compassion

Date: July 7, 2016
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A sheistah Bundoo2015 has been an amazing year for me at Gender Links (GL). It was the year I was given the opportunity to acquire, absorb, grow and take up challenges. As my manager, Anushka Virahsawmy, had a lot of expectations of me, I had to make sure I lived up to them.

When I look back at the time I joined GL as an Intern and today as a Programme Officer, I can see my personal growth. Certainly, it is very difficult to get a job in Mauritius and fresh graduates have been victims of this system for many years. But I believe in one thing; that if you want to succeed in life you need to make compromises even if that means starting off ‘low’. If one loves what one does, one will find love in the work one does as well and GL is one of such places.

I have had the opportunity to work with survivors of violence under the entrepreneurship project. Taking down the stories of the survivors and doing the monitoring and evaluation for this project taught me a lot. I have always believed that women and men should not be victims of discrimination and I have always fought against it. I remember taking down the first ‘I-story’ of a survivor and she recalled the times her husband would rip off her underwear every night and rape her. As she told me the story, tears rolling down her cheeks, I could feel her pain and the bad memories she had of the one who was supposed to be her beloved. That story of hers made me speculate: firstly, that we need to help people in pain and be a friend to them by giving support when we can, for it is only then that we can change the world and we also need to be thankful for the life we have. Most days we go around complaining of not having this or that, we find faults in others and ourselves. What we forget is that this life of ours is not forever. We need to live each day as if it is our last and if we can help combat violence and hatred in our lifetime, this would be the biggest achievement of all. GL has taughta sheistah and anushka me compassion, the true principle of sharing love and supporting those in need. I am grateful to this learning journey at GL.

Besides, GL has always given me the opportunity to take up new challenges. I had the opportunity to engage in training with the help of my manager. Anushka has always supported me and helped me seek new horizons and excel in what I do. I have co-facilitated training with councilors and AIESEC students under an exchange programme. I have delivered training with the collaboration of the Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS) to several NGOs teaching them about the SADC Gender Protocol and gender mainstreaming with regard to poverty alleviation. Being a councillor myself, I have tried to bring changes at local the level by including gender responsive policies at decision making level. I always urge my fellow male councillors to consider women in sports as traditionally all budget allocations for sports would go to football tournaments for men. By bringing changes where I can and trying to change the mindsets of people, I will continue the fight for a gender equal society where men and women can enjoy similar opportunities and benefit from equal facilities.

As a concluding note, I would like to recall all the positive aspects of 2015 and gather motivation for a brighter and shinier 2016.

Written by Sheistah Bundhoo, Programme officer, Gender Links, Mauritius