Some have been wondering how I got here, and the answer is simple, I had help and couldn’t have done it on my own. Here is what I mean when I say it takes a village.
- Having lost my parents, my extended family supported me through primary, high school and university.
- After 1.5 years at university, the Zimbabwean economy collapsed and the uncle that had been supporting me at university lost his business and could not afford to help me anymore.
- I kept on attending classes and sitting for exams without ever seeing my results...until it wasn’t possible anymore. It was either I paid up or I dropped out.
- In an unlikely situation, I met someone that believed in me and offered to help me get through university.
- He helped me secure a scholarship through his parents and so I completed my BA in Zimbabwe and moved to Switzerland for my MA.
- We got married four years after we met and continue building our life together.
- Job hunting after graduation was a nightmare, the university councillor told me that my chances were slim because when people saw that I was African, they would be less inclined to hire me. It was painful to hear but it was true, I experienced it.
- I began networking and meeting people in the field of my interest. This improved my chances greatly.
- I volunteered for NGOs, offering my expertise and completely loved it. It also helped me strengthen my credentials.
- I got a mentor, she was working in the area that I wanted to work in, and she shared her knowledge with me. After a year of mentorship, she became my sponsor, my dreams were never too big in her eyes.
- I found a coach that taught me the value of negotiating my worth. She taught me to be less afraid of people saying “No” and to keep going towards my dreams.
- With my husband, family, friends, mentor, coach and my network, I have surrounded myself with people that believe in the dreams of that small girl that my mother left behind. They are my support system.
Here are a few take-aways from my journey:
- We all need a support system for our dreams/careers
- It is important to believe in people despite their backgrounds. Children left behind grow up and their dreams are valid.
- Good still exists in a world where people are sometimes more concerned about how it benefits them to help others
- Coaching and mentorship is underrated. It will compress time and almost ensure growth and success.
I will always continue to help others in the small ways that I can because I know that it takes a village! Another African proverb says “if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together. May you always find opportunities to uplift others.