Recently, I attended the Women Deliver 2019 Conference as one of the young leaders. I was, like many others, grateful for international exposure in the field of gender equality. But I also have a personal story that I would like to share, about the power of passion and collaboration.
I am currently, among my involvement with different initiatives/NGOs, serving as the Policy Director of the SAFIGI Outreach Foundation, which is registered in Zambia but comprising volunteers from all around the world. I am grateful to Women Deliver for giving us an opportunity to present our safety report in the solutions gallery during the conference, and also I am grateful that for the first time, I met Hadassah in person, my colleague of 5 years as she was selected as a delegate to the conference and there were no visa obstacles to prevent us from joining and finally meeting in person.
I joined Safety First for Girls in 2014 as a social media volunteer. At that time, I was not consciously making a choice to become a feminist activist or a gender equality advocate. However, these issues always attracted me and motivated me to switch from commerce to social science. Since then, I have been affiliated for 5 years with the foundation. This was possible because of two reasons: first of all, SAFIGI tried to bring in passionate volunteers from across the globe and promote the concept of safety on a global level. And secondly, the friendly virtual working environment created by Hadassah, the founder.
Given that it is a voluntary position and our foundation still does not have a high amount of grants to conduct our activities, we are serving as volunteers, fueled by our shared passion. For me, it was the unofficial beginning of my feminist journey. Recently, I spoke at an event where I was interviewed for my passion to promote inter-faith harmony. At one point, the interviewer asked me how my feminist journey. It was a tough question and I could not give a good answer to it. It is difficult to trace my feminist journey. Was it the very first time I felt discrimination or experienced injustice for being a young girl? Or was it the day I joined SAFIGI and started working on a cause I have always been passionate about? Nonetheless, if anyone asks me how I officially started working in the field of advancing gender equality, I will always give the credit to SAFIGI Outreach Foundation for giving me this opportunity.
Our story serves as a testimony to the wonder youth collaboration and passion can do. We had a very humble beginning, we are still not a big organization but we have a dynamic intersectional feminist network, comprising passionate youths from all over the world who want to invest their time and skills in advancing safety and well-being of women and young girls. Most of us are yet to meet each other in person and this is the testimony of our shared passion and determination to collaborate and create changes for building a safer world.
About the writer:
Shucheesmita is the editor of Women Chapter English, and policy director at SAFIGI Outreach Foundation. She is also affiliated to a few initiatives based in the Netherlands. She completed her M.A. in Development Studies from ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2018, specializing in Conflict and Peace Studies. In her free time, she likes to travel, read books or write. Writing is one of her major passions. In her words: “Writing makes my soul happy. Writing makes me feel liberated, it fills every cell of my body and mind with unexplainable happiness! Writing gives my soul wings to fly! “