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Leadership is about serving others

I have come to understand the importance of leadership in every sphere of our lives.

New Ground with Patricia Mabviko Musanhu

The dictionary defines leadership as “the ability to guide, direct or influence people”. What I find missing from the dictionary’s definition is a qualification of leadership which Ross Lessin clearly expresses in his.

A leader is one who “finds strength by realising his weakness, finds authority by being under authority, finds vision by seeing the needs of others, finds credibility by being an example, finds loyalty by expressing compassion, finds honour by being faithful, and finds greatness by being a servant.”

You will be amazed at the potential that each one of us has to lead and to bring about positive change in our communities. Female students at St Rupert’s Mayer secondary school in Makonde, about 220km from Harare, have had their lives changed by ordinary Zimbabweans who embraced the opportunity to lead by seeing and meeting their needs.

Father Joe Arimoso, who is in charge of St Rupert’s Mayer and 17 other Jesuit schools in Zimbabwe, had gone on his regular supervisory visit to the school.

He noticed that a significant number of girls were missing from class. Upon further investigation, he discovered that the girls were not attending school because they did not have anything to use during their monthly menstrual cycle.

As a result, they chose to stay at home to avoid being embarrassed. Father Arimoso communicated this to two female friends who decided to mobilise resources and buy pads for the girls at St Rupert’s Mayer secondary school.

Juliana Kariri and Rudo Magundani founded Girls Wisdom Hub in 2013 with the assistance of ex magistrate and human rights defender Dzikamai Bere. Juliana and Rudo are both graduates from the University of Zimbabwe and have ordinary jobs where they are working to make ends meet.

They responded to this call for leadership and came up with a way to provide targeted interventions that would remove obstacles to progress and help unlock the potential of underprivileged girls, especially in rural schools like St Rupert. In spite of their busy schedule, they create time to go out and source for pads and other sanitary wear for the girls at St Rupert’s secondary school.

They schedule meetings and activities to mobilise resources in cash and kind for the school to ensure that every girl child has the opportunity to fulfil her potential regardless of her background or social status.

The organisation is registered and is run on a voluntary basis to ensure that the proceeds collected do not go towards the payment of salaries and overheads but go directly to meet the needs of the girls.

To date, they have raised about US$50 000 and are awarding scholarships to girls in need. As a team, they also take some time once every month to drive to the school and spend some time motivating the girls and helping them find solutions to some of their personal and family problems.

“I find that a lot of the girls lack belief in themselves. They are growing up in a rural area where there really isn’t much for them to look up to. It’s difficult for them to believe that they can go out there and be somebody”.

Most of us have been socialised to think that change will come when some huge donations of funds have been given to us from somewhere.

It’s encouraging to know that everyone of us has the ability to bring about change if we choose to heed the call. It doesn’t really take money, it takes action. For less than US$2 a month, you can buy a packet of pads and make a difference in the life of one girl at St Rupert’s secondary school. That is all the change we need!

Patricia Mabviko Musanhu is a Company Director/Producer at Black and White Media Productions. She can be contacted at pmabviko@gmail.com

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