What She Said: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures on International Women’s Day
IREX works to inspire young women around the world every day, connecting them to new technologies, to inspiring leaders and visionaries, and to a host of new opportunities for their futures. In honor of International Women’s Day, IREX asked three of our participants to share their thoughts on how their IREX program experiences inspired them as young women and the significance of the day and the theme: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.
Maia Matfei, Hincesti, Moldova
Roma participant in Youth Civic Engagement and Dialogue Program, Moldova,
High school student, age 17
Mir Mahamad Basira, City of Kant, Kyrgyz Republic
Tech Age Girls Finalist 2011, TAG Media Coordinator
High school student, age 17
Salma Bano, Karachi, Pakistan
Global UGRAD Pakistan alumna (Tennessee Technological University)
Project Manager for schoolmanagementsystem.net, age 23
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Maia: It is a day when women, preserving their national traditions, can demonstrate their aspirations towards achieving equality in society and obtaining equal access to all opportunities available in the modern society.
Basira: When I was small, I thought that this day of all mothers. But when I got older I understood that this day is very much a global and significant. For me, it is a very important day, as a girl. If I lived in past centuries, it would be difficult to live. Now I have rights, I can learn, I can talk all I want, as well as make my own decisions. I am glad that I live in the 21st century. Because we are all equal now.
Salma: International women's day is an awesome opportunity for women to show their strength in terms of capabilities and talents, that Women have high calibre to raise their voice for their rights and humanity.
How is your IREX program inspiring your future?
Maia: Like other young Roma girls, I always wish that our voices are heard and taken into consideration in the society. Participating in IREX’s program, I realized that this is possible. You just need to take an active position and understand that whatever happens in your community concerns you equally as the other community members, regardless of age, ethnicity and social status.
Basira: I gained confidence. I got a lot of new knowledge and skills. I use the knowledge I gained from the Tech Age Girls program. I teach children from orphanages IT skills.
Salma: The most important thing I got from my fellowship is the positivity of thoughts and sharing of ideas. IREX gave me a chance to experience new life that left long lasting effects in my life. I have just graduated from the University of Karachi, and my greatest achievement is starting my professional life with a good job in my field of study.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls aspiring to be leaders in your country?
Maia: I would advise them to be active in the school life and in their communities, to get involved in different activities leading to the development of their colleagues and especially in such activities which are priority for their colleagues and community.
Basira: Mainly, my advice is do not give up if she decided to pursue something, she must go to her goal. You must constantly be saying to yourself: I am a leader, I'm better, I will help his community.
Salma: One thing I advise is to search for your passion, set your goals and go for it, no one can stop you if you are more passionate towards your goals, and try to avail all the opportunities you will have in coming life.