Learning Journey: We are providing an essential service!

Date: May 16, 2016
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“The things that may change our world to make it better; smiling, helping, respecting and forgiving” Hussein Abdallah

A ThandoI am at the airport looking for my boarding gate and Anne is calling every minute to find out which side I am on. Eventually, we decide to meet at Mugg and Bean. I get to Mugg and Bean and I do not find her there. I call her and we argue that we are both in the same place, then about who is actually `not looking properly’. It turned out that we were in different outlets save for the name.

The airport experience got me thinking about how in life we cross others, believing we are right and it turns out that is not how things are. In a working environment one is bound to see such mistakes from oneself and others. It is on this principle that I have grown to seek answers, rather than proving others’ wrong doings.

Helping the IT department is showing me that one of the best lessons and experiences you acquire is through practice and when teaching and helping others. I am the communication officer responsible for demonstrating the scope and reach of GL News Service. This is a task that has taught me to understand dashboards outside the meltwater platform we use for GLNS. Together with working on the website, I am now finding it easy to navigate through many platforms available online.

Working on the website has taught me to up my game as the smallest mistake when uploading gives the worst headache that no pill can cure. Attention to detail is a must, thus it is a good skill that I now use in other aspects of my work and private life.

I keep on growing in video production skills, with all compliments to our IT officer and bra of mine, Albert. We at times fight as to why I take good pictures of everyone but him. I say “Bra! One cannot take a picture of a cat and then a leopard appears in the photo’’. I am now able to work on a video from shooting to final production. I am working on doing so even in my spare time to increase my knowledge and make even better productions for the organisation. I am proud of, and learning from, the video I filmed at Orange farm during the sixteen days of activism. Not only the footage I got there, but also the messages from Mam Rose about unity still ring in my head. In Siswati we say kusasa kuyitolo, which means we cannot live without each other.

As part of the media team I have had the opportunity to watch the watchdogs through the Gender Media Progress Study (GMPS). It is great experience in as far as helping one identify what media reporting does to the mind-sets of the population. The very gender inequalities in our societies mostly emanate from gender insensitive reporting and or lack of reporting thereof.

Writing my own article entitled GBV knocks on activists’ door rekindled my love for writing and more importantly showed how important it is to have a little introspection time and again.

Attending the SADC protocol review meeting late in the year was an eye opener as to the importance of the work we do. The atmosphere of the writing of history in progress made me appreciate being part of an organisation and a world with such a vision of equality.

A Thando 1Working with GL has changed my life in the way that I see and appreciate what I have and what I can offer society. During the FLOW review project in Swaziland, I shed a tear when gathering testimony from one of our women entrepreneurs on how GL has changed her life for the better. This was a tear of sorrow for the abuse she endured in the past. Her story shrunk my skin; no person alive deserves what this strong woman went through. This tear turned to one of joy when she spoke of the happiness she is now experiencing because of GL’s intervention.

Through the entrepreneurship programme her life has changed so much for the better.  She constantly told me during our interview, and I myself believe it to be true, that every survivor of GBV deserves this programme. This has made me grow in wanting to do my part and more for the organisation, so that every atom of my strength has an impact towards changing our society for the better.

I wish GL, other like-minded organisations and capable individuals could extend such a programme to more of our mothers and sisters out there who live in misery and abuse because of financial dependence on their abusers. Our work deserves more notice from governments, donors and the world at large; this is an essential service we are providing. Aluta continua!!

Written by Thandokuhle Dlamini, Communications Officer, Gender Links