Welcome to the third entry in the Women’s month series. If you haven’t read the last two posts then I highly encourage you to. Last week we celebrated The Ambitious Woman and today I am so honoured to be writing about The Daring Woman.
Deciding on one adjective to describe this powerhouse was quite difficult. The many other adjectives that came to mind were “The Passionate Woman”, “The Dedicated Woman”, “The Compassionate Woman”, etc. The list is endless.
Today, I’d like for you to meet Audrey (shown in the pictures). How do I know her? Audrey just so happens to be my mother and my friend. Audrey is an Educator, Psychologist, Social Entrepreneur and a Writer. A social entrepreneur, for those who may not know, is “someone who establishes an enterprise with the aim of solving social problems or affecting social change.” When I asked her to describe herself in one word, she described herself as extra-ordinary.
As an educator, Audrey taught Science and Chemistry before deciding to do a course in counselling and eventually went on to do her Masters in Child and Adolescent Psychology.
As a social entrepreneur, Audrey is the CEO of Prolific Education and Counselling Services, PECS. PECS has other organisations under it being The Avalon School and PECS Library. Finally, as a writer, Audrey used to write articles for The Post Newspapers in Zambia which was called “Targeting Adolescents”. In these articles, Audrey talked about so many topics affecting young people. Apart from all this, she is also very artistic.
Why did I choose her as my feature for the series? Audrey inspires me so much and her life, her actions and all that she has going on with her sort of give me an idea of how I’d like to turn out. She has been one of the people who have really pushed me and supported me through out my blogging and writing life. She always talked about how I was such a good writer and so when I started my blog, she was really happy about it. I owe a whole lot of this to her.
I call her The Daring Woman and The Determined Woman because in the last year, I have seen Audrey take up huge responsibilities and bring her dreams to life. She always spoke about wanting to have her own school one day. She has worked with children and young adults her whole life and so I knew it was something she was passionate about and gave her a few ideas of my own whenever I had any. Last year in March, Audrey spoke to me and told me this was it. It was time for her to do what she has always wanted to do. So she slowly started buying school supplies. Very few things at a time. As months went on, she told me she was planning on renting a building that was previously for another school but due to various reasons was no longer running. The next thing I heard was she was on her way out of the country for a day’s trip to order uniforms for kids. Slowly but surely, she was making her dream come true. Finally, in November last year, she signed the contract for the building and just like that. Audrey owned a school.
The amazing thing about The Avalon School is that they aren’t only focused on the educational part of it all but on the Social-Emotional intelligence part of life. So at an early stage, children are being taught or encouraged to identify how they feel which helps with good mental health. That’s something I was never taught in school and I appreciate that The Avalon School is doing that. Changing an entire generation.
I was extremely inspired by her determination and her courage. Regardless of how long it’s taken her to get to where she is now, she is where she is now. That reminded me that my dreams are valid. Audrey also, in partnership with Literacy Beyond Borders, started a home library that is open to the public and is currently running. She does story times with kids on Saturdays where they read books together and play games, sing songs and discuss whatever they have learnt in the book.
I asked Audrey a few questions and I will share that below:
What do you love the most about your career?
“What I like most about my career is changing and or improving the lives of those I come into contact with- be it children or adults.”
What keeps you going on days that seem to be more challenging than others?
Firstly, I’m a strong believer in God. I believe his strength within me keeps me going. Challenges can easily make you lose focus and give up. I don’t wanna do that. Secondly, it’s my desire to achieve my set goals.
In relation to everything going on around the world, is there anything you would like to say to encourage people or tips you would like to share so that people are calm?
I know there’s a lot of fear and stress going on and it’s okay to be scared. The whole pandemic is a neurobiological impossibility. My encouragement to all is to stay safe, observe safe hygiene behaviours and focus on connections and feelings of safety. I also want to assure everyone that God’s got this. It’s just a matter of time and the pandemic will pass.
From everything you have done so far, what has been the most exciting experience or what are you proud of the most?
I’m most proud of when I took a courageous stance and spoke for the rights of other people in the various job roles I had in the past. I’m most proud when I make a contribution in changing someone’s life. I’m most proud when I see my children, family and other people happy and thriving.
In the spirit of celebrating women, could you say anything to girls and women in general?
So our focus value at our school this month is “Courage” and that’s how I’d want to celebrate the girls and women this season.
I was once a young girl who was scared to announce to the world I was born again in fear I’d lose some friends. Once scared to put my points together in a debate contest. Once scared as a young mother how I was going to raise my children. Once scared as a newbie teacher to set up my own private school in fear that it would not work out. Once scared as a “youth leader” to be entrusted with so many youths when I was a youth myself. Once scared to take my counselling skills professionally that I’d be failing my clients. Once scared to negotiate a contract in fear that I’d lose my job and the list goes on.
But what I learnt is that when you just hold on, and gather COURAGE, even as small as a mustard seed, you will soar to places higher than you’ve ever known and the feeling is unimaginable; the freedom, unexplained! The Bible in Matthew 17 verse 20 says “And Jesus said, “..If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain (any challenging situation in your life) move from here to there, it will move .. ” (Paraphrased).
This is my message to all girls and women today. Be courageous and do what you want to do even if it seems scary as long as it’s the right thing to do. Your success and peace will come from a courageous stance.
And specifically to teen mothers (because I do a social emotional counselling group with some), be courageous, wave off the problem and choose to accept the blessing. Your future and that of the baby are bright. You can start afresh.
I chose to share this with you so that she can know that I appreciate her and so that you could be encouraged or inspired in some way. Her story may not be so significant to you but to me, it’s one of the best examples I have in life regarding determination and being passionate about what you do. Audrey doesn’t do all this just because she can. She is passionate about helping people and I have seen that from the way she treats me, the way she treats people in my family and everyone around her. She does all this because she is passionate.
As I always say, we all take different paths in life and at our own individual speeds too. Your dreams may take longer than others to come to life but that doesn’t mean you stop dreaming. They are still valid. Be daring and be determined. Be courageous and do something you enjoy.
If you would like to contact her you can find her on Facebook @Audrey Chirwa Mwanza where you will find all her contact details. Also, check out The Avalon School and PECS Library on Facebook too.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and practice social distancing!
The Confident Woman Xx