I Will Wear My Heart Upon My Achievements!

Self Appreciation

The Human being called a Woman is a real masterpiece. God must have come back from a long vacation from somewhere warm and beautiful, with white sandy beaches and peaceful sunsets when he created a woman, his best masterpiece.

The world has, for a long time undervalued and underappreciated just what makes these creatures called women. While there is no need to make physical comparison on physical strength difference between the genders, we would be fools not to appreciate that our differences is what makes us unique.

I think back during my times as a young girl, growing up in a village between the hills and the valleys that sang midnight songs while we slept. I remember my mother, Dali (hence the name Dali Spaces-Coworking Spaces for Women ), her mother, Marura and all my aunts and women that constantly surrounded our lives. Thinking back about how society viewed them, treated them, expected of them, wanted from them, demanded from them, forced them into, defined them…and yet, in spite of all this, they rose! They defied every obstacle placed in front of them and forged through.

I was 8 years old when my parents separated and life as we knew it totally broke down. We moved in with my grandmother, who, by her own means, was just barely surviving. I still remember and hear her infectious laugh, boy she could laugh. Life was tough, but she made everything feel like Christmas. That woman! That incredibly strong woman! Like so many African grandmothers, she takes care of grandkids while the parents go to cities to find work so they can provide for the families. They do so much work, hard work, raising kids in their sunset days, yet, the world doesn’t really appreciate the work they put in, they big role they play, how they directly contribute to shaping the future female leaders. Their work, sadly, almost always, goes unnoticed.

See, my mother, as single parent with hundreds of children (seemed like 6 was hundred to me when I was young) had to leave her children behind, like so many women have to, and move to a faraway town so she could work to provide for her family. The sacrifice she had to make, missing out on spending time with her children, yet, knowing that this sacrifice was the only means to ensure the future of her children. This is a very common story we hear, yet, again, the world doesn’t appreciate or realise how such experiences shape the future of the leaders of tomorrow.

Everyday we hear about incredible sacrifices that women still have to make, and realistically, much more than men have to. The jobs they miss out on, the opportunities to be financially independent, the chances to go to school, the right to vote, the right to marry who they want, the right to study what they want, the right to feel safe, the right to own property, the right to work, the right to earn equal pay, the right to get treated fairly at workplaces…and so on. This is not a story of developing nations only, even in the most developed countries, women still have a long way to go.

We can’t ignore the fact that there has been some real progress in the past years to ensure equal rights for all. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but we see progress. We can only hope that we will live to see a world where gender will no longer be the determining or limiting factor when it comes to basic human rights. Until then, we keep pressing for progress!

While we keep working and pushing for equality, we cannot fail to celebrate the victories. Women always tend to provide or care for everyone else while forgetting about themselves. I was having this same conversation with my mother two days ago. Even though she is retired, she still works her butt off, in fact, she works harder than when she was employed. She doesn’t even realise that she should slow down. That it’s time for her to take care of HER. That she did her hard work, now it’s time for her to sit and enjoy the fruits of her labour. I was trying to convince her to take herself on holiday, just go away for a few days or weeks and do absolutely nothing. But this is so foreign to her. She can’t imagine what she would do while ”resting”. She can’t imagine just taking time for herself, to be with herself, to celebrate herself, to appreciate herself. She is so used to taking care of everyone else that the sheer thought of taking care of herself sounds so foreign.

This is a very common thing you hear, when it comes to women celebrating and appreciating themselves. The society, and in many cases, our own doing, has programmed us to believe that appreciating ourselves means that we are showing off. We equate self appreciation to arrogance or showing off. We believe that by doing so, we throw down our humility, which is utter nonsense.

I was having a conversation two days ago with Manuela, who was so excited and very impressed by the supposedly incredible things that I am doing. While she saw this amazing woman doing so much, when I looked at myself, I didn’t see the picture of what was so ”incredible” about all the work that I am doing, and I said this loud to her. He response: ”That’s exactly what majority of women do. Not part themselves in the back enough.” This really startled me and go me thinking just how right she was.

So today, instead of only mentioning the hard work that is ahead of us before we achieve 100% equality, I also want to appreciate all the hard work that the women that came before me did. I celebrate my grandmother and all grandmothers. I celebrate my incredible mother, Beata D. Mghendi, who achieved so much with so little and encourages me to be the best version of me. I celebrate the whole European Women Payments Network (EWPN) & African Women in Fintech and Payments (AWFP).

Today I celebrate this little girl from the village that turned out into an incredible woman I am today. I celebrate all the great things I have been lucky enough to do in my short life. I celebrate all the magic that I continue to create in my own way. I celebrate the contribution I am making to making this world a little better the best way I know how. I celebrate the immigrant woman who moved to a foreign country and has achieved so much within such a short period of time.

Martha as a baby

I celebrate that I Founded andI am leading some incredible organisations that are growing to large and impactful organisations: European Women Payments Network (EWPN) , African Women in Fintech & Payments (AWFP)Beyond Innocence Foundation (BIF)Dali Spaces-Coworking Spaces for Women. I celebrate being recognised for all the work I am doing and making it to the Women in Fintech Powerlist (2016, 2017 & 2018).

Today, I Will Wear My Heart Upon My Achievements!!

Happy International Women’s Day to all you magical creatures called women! Don’t forget to pat yourselves in the back and wear your heart upon your achievements!