Blog Rewind 2020: My Favourite Posts of the year

Hey everyone! We are officially in the last month of the year. From last week’s post, it’s very clear that I have started winding down and ending the blog for the year. This has been a long blogging year for me as I have posted more this year than the two years before, combined. Despite it being tiresome, it has been fun! I tried so many new things with my blog this year and I decided to go through my posts and share my favourites with you. (Thanks YouTube Rewind for the inspo)

Continue reading “Blog Rewind 2020: My Favourite Posts of the year”

The Daring Woman: Audrey Chirwa Mwanza

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:

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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.

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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!

Love,

The Confident Woman Xx

The Ambitious Woman: Masiliso Mutumba

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Last week, I introduced the Women’s Month Series for the year: The_Woman. I also mentioned that in the next two posts, from that date, I would be highlighting two women who inspire me so much and who I want to celebrate publicly. Today, we celebrate The Ambitious Woman.

Meet Masiliso (shown in the pictures). Everyone who knows her probably calls her Masi. How do I know her or how is she in my life? I met Masiliso in high school and we have been inseparable since then. Masiliso is a Civil Engineering Student in Russia, a You-tuber, a Model, a teacher of English and the CEO of  Bossish, which you will be hearing about soon. The first word that always comes to mind when I have to describe Masiliso is Ambitious. When I asked her to describe herself in one word, she described herself as a goal-getter.

Masiliso getting into the modelling industry never looked like anything serious to me. She took part in the beauty pageant when we were in high school but I always thought it was just something she did because she simply wanted to or because she could. Surprisingly, since then, and since moving to Russia for school, Masiliso has taken advantage of her position there and has taken part in so many campaigns, modeled for so many different brands and has even gone as far as taking part in Miss Africa Russia. She has done so many TV interviews and I honestly didn’t think I could be more proud of her but she always proves me wrong. Of course it hasn’t been an easy journey but we are glass half full type of people.

Her YouTube journey is one I’m also excited to watch. I imagine it must be hard to juggle school, modelling, teaching and then also ensure you create content for your YouTube channel. I know it hasn’t been the easiest journey for her but she recently managed to get her channel monetized and she’s so happy about that. She also took advantage of the fact that she is in a country where English is not the official language and started offering to teach English at a fee, of course.

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For me, Masiliso is the definition of a woman who will use what she has around her, no matter how small it is, and turn it into something big and something that works for her. She really is a goal-getter and I’m always inspired by her whenever she updates me or tells me what’s going on in her life.

I decided to ask Masiliso a few questions for this blog, which I regretted for 2 seconds because her answers were really long but I’ll still share them with you:

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Why did you choose to go down the path you did? Juggling all these careers at once.

“I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and I wasn’t sure what would turn out of any one of them. At the same time, I enjoy doing them. They are able to work parallel to each other without being successful enough. For example my YouTube and modelling because I can get my modelling experiences and film them and they would help my YouTube channel grow. I’m not sure which one will give me the best results in the end because that’s the worst thing for me, being uncertain of my future and so I decided to do all this. There’s more I would love to do like music and acting. However, someone said to me recently a jack of all trades is a master of none. So I decided to pick what I’m enjoying and doing the best now, grow it and then when I’ve built a name, I can pursue all these other things. That’s how it works for Beyoncé. She built a platform for herself and now she can be an actress and she can rap if she wants to.”

My favourite question to ask. What advice would you give your 13 year old self?

“I would tell my 13 year old self to start doing something. Sometimes I feel had I started early I would have been much further in my journey right now. I see people who are making it young like Marsai Martin but I understand that in my set up, the way I grew up, it was definitely hard and almost impossible for me but I would definitely tell myself to start earlier.” 

What is the most exciting thing you’ve done in this stage of your life so far?

“The interviews have been the most exciting thing because it felt like it was no longer just me on my own, trying to grow, trying to make things work but it was other people acknowledging my hard work.”

What would you like to say to anyone who reads this?

“Try. There’s so much we lose out on by not trying. Listen to yourself. If you feel like you need to give something a shot, go ahead and try. If you fail, then you know that it isn’t for you and you learn and pick up from there. If you don’t try then you stay with regret and guilt. Go ahead and do it. That’s one thing I always live by. There are so many projects or ideas of businesses I have had and all of them were just ideas until I tried. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t. That’s exactly how I have come this far. Through trying.”

In the spirit of celebrating women, is there anything specific you want to share to the women?

“Just because of where I am in my life  and I have been doing a lot of learning , I would like to say be unapologetically feminine. You are a woman for a reason. There is a reason God made you a woman so wear that crown and be that queen or princess. Just be feminine.”

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Masiliso inspires me through her actions mostly. We don’t talk everyday but I see her working and doing a hundred and one things but still able to stay on top of her academics. She speaks very impressive Russian and I believe she should be cast in a spy movie.

So why did I choose to tell you about Masiliso? To you everything I’ve said may not be significant or worth sharing but I’ve known her for a fair amount of time and I have seen her work so hard to get to where she is. I always tell her how proud I am of her and I hope when she reads this, she will realise that her hard work is not in vain and she is building a very strong brand. She stepped into a world that was not hers and managed to firmly plant herself in it and now she is growing. Slowly but surely.

Everyone sure does take different paths in life. I’m not into modeling or fashion like she is but the leaf I’ll always take from her book is to be ambitious, be a dreamer, work extremely hard and don’t be afraid to try new things. The world will know her name.

Check out her YouTube channel here and follow her on Instagram @Ms.Mutumba.

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Thanks for reading!

Love,

The Assertive Woman Xx.