I was just Tumelo Monakisi before ACTIVATE! Nothing was out of the ordinary, I was studying towards a Diploma in Youth Development. Life was good. I was comfortable with who I was. But then I came to ACTIVATE! and everything I thought I knew about myself just left me, I was left exposed. I had to re-evaluate, introspect and meet this new person who was emerging from within me. I realised that I was so used to my circumstances. I had accepted that I didn’t matter, my stories were irrelevant and nobody cared, and I gave up.
During the first module, I was given a chance to relive my past and to tell my stories to people who cared enough to look past the fact that I had failed so much. Remarkably, they noticed that I am still standing.
I have gained more than just tools to tackle social problems around me, the network has given me a space to be myself and be comfortable in my own skin. I had always known what I wanted but how to get there was still blurry.
The experience so far has been very fulfilling and through the reactions of my friends and those around me, I can certainly say it has transformed me somehow. I am the Deputy Chairperson of Agape Youth Movement, a position in which I felt out of place. I had doubt about my leadership skills. Through the leadership skills course I have discovered that I have my own unique leadership style.
Recently, I was selected to be on the UNFPA’s (United Nations Population Fund) Youth Advisory Panel, which is a great personal achievement. This appointment has helped to expand my knowledge in youth development and to make meaningful connections. UNFPA is an organ of the United Nations that deals with population and development issues.
Throughout all the modules I have learnt to be positive and accept the challenges that I come across. It is truly an amazing programme and I am so touched by it.
It’s really motivating to be in a room full of like-minded young people who just want to change the world and some who are already there, it’s inspirational and moving. I have grown from the person that I was to this ambitious and self-driven young woman, because of all these young people and facilitators of ACTIVATE!