Be a story teller
“If anyone makes you feel less than you are, for the color of your skin, for where you come from, for the gender of the person you love, for the religion you have faith in, stand up, speak up, roar. No silence till we are equal.” — Thisuri Wanniarachchi
Like Wanniarachchi says in her quote, stand up, speak up, roar. Let us not be silent till we are all equal.
There is no timeline to when we can start making a difference, even if just small baby steps because to some disadvantaged people these baby steps are large strides in the right direction. UNICEF shares with us the story of a true heroine and activist, 18 year old Oumou who picks up her camera and takes on the streets of Senegal to hear the stories of girls in her community, asserting that “These stories need to be shared”.
The stories focus on different issues and challenges young women face on a daily front, for one, in Senegal sexual assaults have been on the rise during the COVID pandemic; there are times when young women are stuck at home with their attacker. One of her projects is a true story of a woman who was peer pressured to lose weight, the young woman takes a mixture of drugs hoping it will help her slim down, instead the drugs kill her.
Oumou also leads group discussions with teens in her community to discuss issues such as sexual harassment. If young men in the group warned the women that they need to dress conservatively as to not provoke sexual violence, Oumou stands her ground saying, “No matter what a woman is wearing, you have no right to rape her.” These discussions, these acts of sharing only bring her to the forefront, we want to share her story too.
” We have to liberate what’s in our hearts….Don’t keep it inside” Oumou