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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Mwangala

Hear Our Voices: Thank you for attending our virtual event

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

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If you couldn't make it, watch the 30 minute event here:

There is a world I used to live in before I could share my story.

It was a lonely world, such an empty space steeped in heartache and pain. I would be in an overcrowded classroom feeling alone and offended by the lessons we were being taught. For instance, in my life skills class, teachers would talk about gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, and in my inner world, I would assume they were attacking me. Tears would drop down my face and I would be working so hard to hide them because I didn’t want anybody to see my brokenness, my pain, and the shame that easily entangled me. In working so hard to hide my existence and the reality of my life that I hadn’t even chosen, I was losing myself–I was losing the me I was born to be.

My academic work was deteriorating, my morals were declining, and while I needed love, attention, affirmation, I was alienating myself from the same because I was so sure that people don’t have time to deal with problematic children when they can just love on the easy ones to love anyway, the ones that already have the best manners, and best grades. I was in a dark place.

It was in my first year of college that I finally opened up to one of my college professors who was interested in me. I shared what I was going through and she listened, with no judgment, with so much grace, I felt seen, wanted, special and that started the healing in me. A few more years of counseling, bible studies, therapy, of releasing my experiences through singing, written stories, spoken word, I found my calling and I have never looked back since. I never knew owning and sharing my story would liberate me.

I never knew owning and sharing my story would liberate me.

In a society where women are silenced, speaking out is the difference between life and death. I have seen women die, children commit suicide, girls engage into prostitution, drug and substance abuse, early marriages, unwanted pregnancies just because they were silent on the various abuses they were facing in their homes and were searching for healing the only ways they knew how.

That is why at Voices Awake we hear stories and honor them. We treat stories as sacred, and no matter how similar situations are, we never treat two girls as the same, because having a trauma-informed mindset has taught us that we all experience events differently. We love on our girls as a group but also as individuals, and we value each of their stories equally.

If you attended our first ever virtual event on the 9th, we are so grateful to you for being present with us. It was a very liberating event for our girls, validating event for our staff, and hopefully enlightening for you. It has taken a lot of work for us to get to the point where the girls can share such deep stories and believe that it’s working for their good, not that they are selling out their loved ones. We wish we had more time to share even more stories because a lot of the girls really wanted you to meet them, but you still can by following our facebook page, sponsoring a particular girl, or even emailing me, so I connect you with a girl.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy”, and that’s just what we are doing, you and us.

So I want to say: thank you.

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