On Saturday March 11th 2017, the alarm sounded at 7:30. That morning was the KidsForShe videoconference with Equality Heals Africa's kids. A videoconference where we would speak about gender inequality, the importance of gender equality, and how they could join/form a KidsForShe club with their communities.
The previous night, had been a sleepless one where I had twisted, turned, and wondered. I wondered how I could share my passion for gender equality with people so far away. I wondered what I could say in order to impart anything to these people whose lives I knew so little about. I wondered who I was to talk to people so close to my age about a subject that affected them differently than it did me. I had heard that gender inequality in Uganda afflicted girls in ways I had heard about, but never really imagined. Gender inequality cursed them in many different forms-some similar to those seen in the U.S., but some so different, I shuddered at the very thought.
I woke up before the alarm sounded and got dressed. I made coffee so that I wouldn't scare the kids with my half closed eyes, and locked the door so that for the next half an hour, it would just be the kids and me. As I waited and waited for the time of the call (which had been moved from 8:00 to 8:45), I tried to keep any feelings of doubt from my mind and I tried to focus on what to say. Then the screen of my computer lit up with the profile picture of Equality Heals Africa's logo, and once I pressed answer, with so many the smiling faces that they filled up the screen.
Every doubt I had before I picked up vanished as each girl introduced herself to me. They were people who wanted to have a conversation about something I was extremely passionate about. We talked about the definition of gender equality, the dangers of inequality, and about the importance of kids being informed and spreading the message of gender equality. They spoke about how dangerous inequality was because it led to abuse and they asked me all sorts of questions like what school I attended or how KidsForShe got started. We eased into the discussion shared words and eye contact through the camera. It seemed magical that despite the 8 hour time difference, we could all be together and discuss a subject we all valued. Our cultures may be different, but in those thirty minutes, the only thing that mattered was that we were talking about gender equality, a world problem, and how we, as young people could help achieve it. In the twenty nine minutes of our call, it didn't matter that I lived in the U.s. and that they lived in Uganda, we were all communicating about the same issues and about the same solutions.
The biggest gift that I got, was when the kids sang. As their voices vibrated through the speaker of my computer, I felt privileged to be sharing a Saturday morning with these beautiful people. They sang the words "children are the future, let us give them everything" which helped me realize the vitality of gender equality with young people and which emphasized the importance of KidsForShe teaming up with Equality Heals Africa. this partnership could give other little girls the opportunity to live a life that is equally valued to that of a little boy and give them the power to take charge and help make that possible for themselves.
On Saturday March 11th from around 8:45 to around 9:15, the lives of kids in Uganda and mine touched. I do not know what they did today, or what they had for breakfast the morning we spoke, but I do know that they changed my perspective and I hope I changed theirs. They helped me realize that one does not have to be nearby in order to convey an important message. They taught me that we do not need to have met before in order to discuss important matters. Finally, they taught me that although we endured gender inequality differently, that it is still a global problem that we need to work on together. I learned a lot and would love to continue working as a team where we can form a strong family with the goal to help end gender inequality.