美國勵志書籍作家瑪麗安曾說:「我們最深的恐懼不是怕自己能力不足，而是有超越量度的能力。」(“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love) 人的自信和成就感，必須從完成任務逐漸建立起來。我在烏干達婦女身上更深刻感受人對自我實現的需求。
不同於以往，這次，有些孩子在家屬席參加母親的畢業典禮，孩子積極為母親記錄光榮的時刻。此培力計畫因和遠距教學與外部教育學院(College of Education and External Studies)合作，給予了社區中的女性一個提升自我的機會
非洲尚不能形成完整的紡織產業鏈（原材料種植到面料生產再到紡織成品加工）,而是大量進口紡織面料再進行成品加工，而婦女們正學習市場所需的設計與加工技術，加上品質標準的要求，期待每個畢業生都為自己的生涯規劃添上另一筆選項。正如計畫負責人蘇珊所說:「當世界坐著等待，你必須起而行動;當世界起而行，你得設下高竿的標準; 當世界達到了那樣的標準，你也自然更加傑出。」 其中的世界，也許不過是我們對自身和外界的認知。
如同某些在都市求學爾後走進臺灣鄉區的知識分子，許多離鄉背井的大學生也說明自己將返鄉傳講衛教知識，幫助the vulnerable of the vulnerable（弱勢中的弱勢）。被賦予證書對畢業生們是個肯定，是個感謝自己堅持不懈的時刻，是相信自己的能量超越先前認知的度量，我們需要更多這樣有心的人翻轉烏干達的鄉村。這非結束，而是認知自己有能力幫助其他女孩的開始。
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Confidence and the sense of accomplishment are built from a task after a task given by life, just like laying stones and bricks. Here in Uganda, I saw women providing a living example of human’s demand of self-actualization, and it reminds me of a quote from A Return to Love written by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
On the graduation of Love Binti training program, the girls proudly showed their work, a toddler dress, a tailored skirt, and ten reusable pads. Without shame, the graduates shared their dreams of opening up a tailoring shop by applying the entrepreneurship skills they’ve got.
“I never thought I could be a part of tailoring course!”
“I was so green with tailoring, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I DID IT!”
“I’m so glad that I didn’t give up, so now I’m sure I will never be poor.”
“I don’t care if it is the best dress, but to me it means a lot, a lot, a lot.”
What made the ceremony special and unprecedent was the role of attendees. They are daughters and sons of their mother, or spouses of the other. For some women of the villages, they’d never got a chance to study, not to mention being a graduate. But the empowering project in partner with College of Education and External Studies truly offers an opportunity of self-improvement for women of various background.
“Now I observe woman’s outfit when I take a bus, and wonder how it is made.”
Africa has not a complete and mature textile industry, from cotton planting, fabric production, to secondary processing. Textile is imported and processed through tailors’ hand, bringing about the specialty and uniqueness of African style. These women are learning the most required skills, design and produce. With the demand of quality, we expect every graduate to have another option for life. At the end of the ceremony, Susan, the project management, gave us the word “When the world sits and wait, you must act; when the world get up and walk, you must set a high standard; when the world reach the standard, you are outstanding.” In which the world is the current cognition of the environment and the capability of ourselves.
Several weeks ago, our team endeavored to discuss about the cooperation of training center with our partner, Makerere University, the most prestigious school in Uganda. When it came to the preparation of graduation, the locals and us were never on the same page. It could be out of the different ethnicity that we were not willing to allocate too much money to the flamboyant ceremony and the official speciosity. After all, the resources were limited. Instead of all the promotion Joseph, the local professor, insisted, we wanted to focus on the real teaching quality and the feedback from students. But this time they actually managed well and surprised us with the meaning of graduation to the students, who were so proud of themselves. It was the first graduation gown, the first certificate for some women.
Most of time our capability is restrained by the fixed mindset. It is not the incapability we fear, but the powerfulness in us beyond measure. The women are in awareness of the fact that nothing can stop her from learning and a better future. They even wanted to help the vulnerable of the vulnerable in their home county. This isn’t the end, but the start of recognizing our capability and help other girls.