Here are some answers some of the YFEM team members gave to the question; What does being a part of YFEM mean to you?
“Every day is a learning process as we are faced with different things on a daily basis. Being a part of YFEM has taught me to appreciate change and adaptability. I’ve learnt about the importance of creating room for change. Through the different opportunities for leadership in YFEM, I have learnt to compete with myself rather than others; I’ve learnt the importance of accountability and taking responsibility for one’s life because everyone has the power and ability to make decisions.” “Being reborn into feminism and growing confidently in your diverse skin, devoting your inner being and connection into feminist leadership.”
“Embracing diversity amongst sisters and standing on firm ground for one another, to dismantle the vicious roots of patriarchy.” “The reason why I choose to be a part of this is because we must come together and fight for our rights, we cannot always wait for someone else to bring change; if we do not then who will?”
“There is a false sense of competition that people develop as they try to be the most ideal version of their gender, this competition is never very obvious and it manifests as jealousy, suspicions, passive conflicts and grudges and strife that ultimately matter very little. I have sisters here, they understand the weight of this competition, they refuse to participate in it with me, they understand that I am unique and they celebrate it, we celebrate our differences, no one is less or more than the other, they also understand the power of empathy. This is the understanding we all have as we work here, over here, sisterhood here does not mean knowing every little thing about the next person or talking to them and seeing them on a daily basis. It means being empathetic and being a loving place for them, it means creating a safe and welcoming space for a stranger and providing growing room and respect as you interact with them.
• V. C. Makanza [Advocacy Intern]”
“YFEM means respect to me, YFEM teaches the importance of respecting and loving oneself and extending that same care to everyone no matter how different they are from you.”
“YFEM teaches people to make a change for themselves and to be able to speak for themselves as future leaders.”
“Any knowledge you gain from here can be used to inspire and encourage people. Do not be hard on yourself, you can lead.”
“To be able to own myself and protect what belongs to me no matter the difficulties I have to encounter to ensure it.”
“I feel myself at YFEM
I can be who I want to be at YFEM
I can express myself at any moment at YFEM
YFEM is my free space
I can feel love at YFEM
I am at peace at YFEM
I can be at home at YFEM
YFEM is my free space
I found leadership at YFEM
I found courage at YFEM
I found a free space at YFEM
YFEM is my free space”
• Pepe [ ICT intern]
“I am always safe and free when I am around my sisters, ready to share anything around them to feel that I am worthy and loved. This place really lightens up my day, especially when we have a workshop or meeting because I always leave with new knowledge and something to take home or a community of young ladies to lead with.”
• Rebekka Haukongo [Finance Intern]
“YFEM means to me, a place of learning. It is a place where young women and girls actively take their power back and say this is enough. It is a tool for change that is essential for our communities. All young women can be leaders, this is the message that YFEM has taught me. At YFEM we are constantly inspiring and being creative in the way we are leading change and that is something I am continuously excited about.”
“YFEM tears down the socially accepted organisational schemes that reinforce the idea that one is less than the other simply because they are learning. In this organisation everyone leads and everyone follows, everyone teaches and everyone learns and every single person is uniquely powerful still.”
“YFE means self-leadership to me. Leadership starts with ourselves, and self-leadership is about courage, it is about taking responsibility of our lives and our choices. Self-leadership means that we are taking back our power and by not participating in victimhood by determining, no matter what our past is, that we are creators of our future. Self-leadership is what YFEM has taught me; to lead myself to prioritize my well being. If I can lead myself, then I can gain the confidence to lead within YFEM. Self-leadership gives me hope in knowing that through self-knowledge, I am continuously learning and growing, and that is what YFEM means to me.
YFEM is a revolution of courage for us as Black women, to take back our power by reclaiming our voice. My voice has grown within YFEM. YFEM is a place of love. It takes courage to love and Feminism is a movement of love for our humanity and world.
YFEM connects us to feminist consciousness. It raises us, always allowing us to reflect on our own lives, the society and that is where growth takes place. I am proud of YFEM and her growth, I am happy to be here at YFEM.”