How do I even begin to describe the immense impact that a Female Leadership Journey with six amazing women from the Netherlands and a team of female powerhouses from Wellington, South Africa can have on a person?
Why not start from the beginning
Flying from Amsterdam to Cape Town, with one mission in mind: learning and working alongside the (all female!) NorSA team to create even more impact as an NGO that focusses on fighting poverty amongst children.
Together we embarked on a journey to explore how NorSA could become more entrepreneurial and financially sustainable, wondering whether Buzz Women could be an impactful program to launch in South Africa, whilst simultaneously working on personal leadership questions and fundamental career choices related to the participating women.
As you can imagine, backpacks were filled with big questions for women with big dreams and ambitions, and we wanted answers in just a few days.
When good women meet
Let the bonding begin, it was time to get to the core of questions like: who are you as an individual woman; beyond your job title and business card? What are childhood messages that still impact you today? Partly in Afrikaans but mostly in English. Afrikaans sounded strangely familiar to the Dutchies.
What we saw, and the stories we heard
For almost two days, we immersed ourselves in NorSA’s mission by seeing their work in action; it offered context and ended up touching everyone right down to their core. We visited townships, played with kids, talked to foster moms, and witnessed lines of children waiting to be fed.
The stories about alcohol and substance abuse amongst women and men were endless, we saw how the NorSA mamas take care of children that are not their own; still giving it their all, from the bottom of their big hearts.
I had a hard time wrapping my head around the things we were confronted with. Analyzing these issues or having an opinion about them doesn’t help, but I already knew that. It became very clear that it’s simply impossible to fully understand the complexity of poverty in this context, and how to do something about it. That such a natural female instinct of wanting to solve every problem out there simply doesn’t work. These women don’t need a quick fix solution, they need to be seen for who they are and need extra helping hands.
So, what now?
This week touched me on so many levels. I experienced what community really feels and looks like. Realizing that the way children play is the same everywhere around the globe, no matter what you have or don’t have. As long as you’re given the time and space to be a child, and that’s what NorSA takes care of, extremely well. They add color to the lives of children who came from nothing, and now have everything a child needs: love, comfort, education and security.
Whilst absorbing all of these impressions, we came up with answers to the big questions we posed at the beginning of the trip. Those answers enabled us to draft a clear plan to lift NorSA to a more entrepreneurial level and set an agenda to develop a women empowerment program with frontrunner women from the community, to help lift the community as a whole. We have committed ourselves to make both happen.
You’re probably still wondering how my week was, right? Well, I always dream big and am fully dedicated to realizing those dreams. Step by step.