African Women Redefined is an excellent example of women pulling other women along to walk in the light. Started by Salome Phiri, African Woman Redefined (AWR) is a women’s empowerment platform which creates a unique space for women to develop themselves both personally and professionally.
The idea is to create a network of support that will help women embrace their uniqueness and live their lives as phenomenal women. Still less than a year old, AWR has many more exciting things in store and Salome Phiri is working hard to make the organization a success in Zambia and throughout Africa.
What is African Women Redefined all about? How is the organization structured, what type of activities do you organize?
At African Woman Redefined, we believe that all women are phenomenal and by embracing their uniqueness and tapping into their full potential, they can define themselves by their own standards and ultimately live purposeful lives.
Our mission is to promote positive narratives about African women by celebrating, inspiring and empowering them through digital content and events that are aimed at addressing various themes which are central to the modern African woman. Our focus is to help the millennial African woman develop a strong sense of self and grow into a well-rounded and balanced individual who thrives in various areas of her life through her own efforts and with the support of other women.
The AWR team comprises of myself and two other phenomenal women from different backgrounds, who share my passion and drive to contribute to the upliftment and betterment of women in our society. Together we dedicate our time, resources and expertise to achieving our common mission of changing the world one woman at a time.
What was your motivation for starting this social enterprise?
Growing up I was a very timid and quiet child who lacked the confidence to speak up and stand out. This behaviour spilled over into my adult life and for many years I struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem. My turning point came at a time when I had experienced setbacks in my personal and professional life that left me so emotionally drained that I could no longer recognize myself.
As a way to transcend the pain from these experiences, I resolved to search deep within myself and find out who I was at the core of my being and what I really wanted out of life. It was like I had finally woken up to myself. I became more confident and self-aware, and suddenly my life became more colourful, hopeful and meaningful.
As I began to walk in my light, however, I noticed that many of my peers were still in the shadows –lacking a sense of identity and living unfulfilled lives. We live in a society that is predominately patriarchal and deems a woman successful if she has an education, a job, a husband, and children.
This mindset has resulted in many young women making decisions that conform to societal expectations, some of which are to the detriment of their psychological and emotional wellbeing. I found this disheartening, and so my personal mission became not only to change the way society viewed its women but also to change the way women viewed themselves –as extraordinary beings that have great potential and purpose, hence the birth of African Woman Redefined.
What is your vision for African Woman Redefined? How do you hope to achieve that?
Our vision is to build a diverse community of millennial African women, who are secure in their identities and use their unique set of gifts and abilities to positively impact society.
AWR aims to position itself in Zambia and throughout Africa as a reliable and trusted source of information where young African women can learn to embrace their unique identities; learn to harness their potential, discover their purpose, and foster relationships with other women.
We aim to achieve our mission by targeting millennial women between the ages of 25 and 40. These women are likely to be professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, influencers and change agents who continually seek personal growth and wish to inspire positive change in their communities.
Your organization has been around for about half a year now. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
Our biggest accomplishment so far would be successfully organising our first major event under the theme “Be bold. Be beautiful. Be You”. The aim of the event was to bring together a group of women to connect with one another and to be inspired to live authentically and be bold in pursuit of their dreams.
Despite it being our first time hosting such an event, we received great reviews from the attendees, most of whom highlighted that the event was well organized and that it had effectively achieved its objectives.
Looking ahead to 2017, what can we expect to see and hear about AWR?
We have loads of exciting things in store! We are currently planning our next major event that will take place in March in celebration of International Women’s day.
In the long-term, we aim to expand our target market to include young women between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in college or university, and offer them mentorship programs designed to guide them through their academic careers. We also intend to grow our network by collaborating on special projects with other women empowerment platforms both locally and internationally.Embrace your uniqueness and live your truth - Salome Phiri Click To Tweet
From your personal experiences and through the work that you are doing, if you could use this platform to share one message with young, African women scattered all over the continent what would that message?
Embrace your uniqueness and live your truth.
Don’t ever be afraid to shine because greatness is your birthright. The world is in need of your light; shine brightly.
Your three words for 2017
Intentional. Strategic. Bold.
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