As human beings we have some moments in life where we find ourselves in hard situations and feel totally confused. There are times where some things seem just out of control. When you try to think about it you end up asking yourself, “Why is this happening? Why to me?” But you also hear a voice inside you which says, “Just stop. Please!”
And there are also those of us who are fighting a silent battle that’s
much more than that. So please be strong in that fight and listen to my story.
My name is Regina Edmund Mnyasiand. I was born and raised, and currently live, in Tanzania. In 2008, I lost my father and by that time I was preparing for my final Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) national examinations. It was a really hard time for me. I attended my father’s funeral and then I had to sit for my final examinations just after.
When the results came, I was so relieved. I found out I had passed them and was selected for a higher level of education. My maternal uncle was a great comfort to me and gave me much support to move on with my studies. Whenever I recall losing my father I think of others who are orphans or those neglected in their family and I know at least I have someone who supports me.
After graduating from University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania, my mother and I believed that things would get better. We thought graduating would help me get the job I needed to cover our basic human needs. But things did not go as we expected. A job was very hard to come by and as the years went on life got much harder. Ideas to become self employed started rolling through my mind, to start even a small business, but I didn’t have any capital and I received so much pressure from my community. “Look at
this girl, a University education can’t even help her!” Others would say, “She’s just wasting time!”
Unemployment is high in Tanzania and jobs are difficult to find. Whenever I would go to an interview, I was never selected. I spent three years “on the street.” In Tanzania this term is for someone who does not have a job and must go here and there on the street in search of one. Whenever I became even more stressed I would look up some inspirational quotes that would bring me some hope, but with no money for basic needs I became frustrated and down. I kept struggling with my own thoughts comparing
myself to graduates who were younger than me but got good paying jobs.
During the fourth year after graduating, it finally happened. I got a job from a big institution. We became happy that I was going to be able to help my family. In my family we are all daughters and I am the only with with an education, so my mother depends on me. With the job I knew I could start supporting my family. For a while I was able to, but unfortunately, in a short time, things turned upside down, and I lost my job. I was pregnant and the company could not afford to keep me on.
This was the most painful part of my life. I was crying much of the time. I lost all hope because I then had no money to support my family. I was thinking of my unborn baby in my womb and no other source of income for us to live. The father does not have a steady job. Some close people in my society said to me, “Hey girl, you are just unlucky!” All messages and calls stopped coming in from many people I knew who used to chat and talk with me. It was a moment of silence in my life.
In our Tanzanian society, the value of a person sometimes can be measured by or labelled with what he or she has or does not have, and that really means money. Even if you have some knowledge but you don’t have money you can be labelled as nothing or useless. But my mother always kept comforting me, “Never, ever give up, because there is still a hope.” “That’s how you learn to be strong in life,” she would say, and told me maybe I was being prepared for a greater opportunity.
After delivering my baby I decided to take a risk and we started a very small business to earn just enough income for our basic human needs. We sell vegetables and my mother is helping me in taking care of my little boy. Whenever I had time I checked for opportunities on the internet. One day, I
became aware of Youth Aid Education Possible Changes Organization (YAPO) Tanzania, a youth-led organization. This organization has changed everything for me. YAPO has shaped me and has taught me so much. I changed my thinking towards my problems because their program made me stronger and helped me believe that change is possible. I learned you can stand up again and again as many times as you need, and you should never stop no matter how many times you have fallen down.
YAPO connected me to different training sessions which have helped heal my mindset. And also connected me to MENTEE. Each brought me new hope. You have to accept all of life’s moments because each moment
teaches us something. Even when it’s a sad moment, you need to know it will pass and the happy moments will come again. As long as you are still alive you have to take heart and start afresh! It’s just a matter of time, because time heals almost everything. Because now I am healed.
Trust in time. Find those around you who can help support you and who believe in you. With them and the right mindset you can have whatever changes you want to see.
MENTEE is a virtual and global mentoring program for marginalized and oppressed groups from around the world. We give the power of network and guidance to our mentees. The amount of time you give and when is up to you! Help support mentees like Regina. Find out more about our mission and how to get involved at www.menteeglobal.org.