My Name is Mekdelawit Desta and I am a volunteer at the YWCA in Ethiopia. I was given the incredible opportunity to participate in the youth training organised through the World YWCA which had been prepared for the pre-African Union Summit. Here is a brief summary of my thoughts about the event:
My experience was not how I expected it to be. At first I thought “What am I doing here? I can’t be social and engage with different people”. In addition, I did not believe that I could become the type of leader I saw in so many women joining the summit, since it was only the first time I participated in this kind of event.
But all those thoughts changed when I got to meet all the women. They were friendly, excited to be there, ready to engage with new people and all there to address issues and seek solutions. Their guidance and welcoming spirit made me so excited – I felt like I fit in immediately. Having adapted to my new surrounding and friends, I began learning new things.
It was amazing to see the leadership skills I have become alive and present in our work. Realizing our Africa requires more women leaders and I wanted to be a part of that. The feeling was overwhelming. Deeply convinced, I promised myself to start being a leader in my school and also with my fellow peers. Because after all, change starts within us.
Desiring change wasn’t the solution; it is a first step but not the end. So at the end of the program I affirmed to myself that being a leader and engaging with new people would not be a problem anymore. I am so grateful for having had this opportunity to grow and change. I could not have been more thankful for the program.