Bekezela Nsingo is a Multi Award winner and the Founder/ CEO of African Mothers Foundation International. Born and raised in Zimbabwe married at 21 widowed at 27 experienced human trafficking but education and determination got me where she is today. She is a simple village girl who has inspired and touched lives in Zimbabwe and world over. Check out her inspirational interview below.
Who did you look up to growing up?
My dad is my hero he use to tell me that l can do anything and achieve anything as long as l believe and work hard.
What does it mean to be an African woman in the 21st century?
It is a great thing even though we are still fighting for our rights as women till now. But l can say at least we have men who believe that we should be treated well as we deserve that.
You are the founder of African Mother’s Foundation International what does your organization do?
African Mothers Foundation International (AMFI) brings communities in Britain and Sub-Saharan African together to work in partnership, to be the voice of the voiceless, to challenge gender disparity and to help end global poverty through educating girls and enabling them to become powerful agents of change within their families, communities and nations.
What inspired you to start the African Mother’s Foundation International?
After being in the UK for 5years l went back to my country to visit my family what l found was not easy, young girls couldn’t go to school because their family had no money for their school fees, upon my return to Wales s l decided that l could not sit back and wait for someone else to be the change l wanted to see in my community. So in 2008 African Mothers Foundation International was born.
Last year you won the Positive Role Model Award for gender what did winning an award of this stature mean to you?
Well l still remember that day till today. I was up against two fantastic women one of them has raised more than £1m for charities across UK. I just thought let me enjoy the night because there is no way am going to win this not in a million times. But surprisingly when the super model who was presenting the Award said the winner of this Award is a role model for young girls in Sub-Sahara Africa l was numb, l couldn’t believe that l have won and l am proud be held as one of the role models for young girls.
What are some of the challenges derailing African women from assuming prominent positions in leadership, particularly in rural settings and poorly developed communities?
I will say first and foremost its Patriarchy system that is pinning us down as a woman people don’t take you serious and even us as women we don’t support each other. And lack of confidence especial when you are a village girl like myself.
Poverty is one of the biggest challenges world over and Africa is not excluded, What will it take to end poverty in Africa?
If we start promoting social enterprise and our approach should nurture local partnerships and encourages innovation while promoting a culture of accountability and high standards of performance that strengthens the capacity of organizations over time and promotes self sustainability
You have been nominated and won a number of awards so far. What would you say is the one attribute or ideology that has facilitated for the success you have had with your work?
I would say hard work pays and the people that are around you they help you grow.
You are currently based in the Diaspora does this present any challenges or opportunities for you to be able to be effective in what you do?
I will say yes and no because opportunities are there and barriers are there also. But if you have a vision you will work hard to achieve that, l have done my best and l thank all the young girls who have been part of this journey.
One of the key challenges faced by youth who want to start up their own initiative with good social value is sustaining them. To what extend do you think social causes need to generate monetary value?
If we all gives back to our societies as well as putting something back to the organization it will be sustainable as you are not just giving back but also empowering individuals to continue without you as you are giving them a fishing rod and if they are wise they will fish for the rest of their lives. Through our re-usable sanitary towels we will generate income for the women as well as giving back to the organization to help fund more projects
What do you think are the challenges facing African youth today and what do you think are some of the solutions to addressing the?
A lack of role models and as well as cash for them to start-up their own business. Some they don’t even have money for their tuition fees. The only solution to this is for us to come together work together assist them in any way we can. We must promote self sustenance.
How can we empower the girl child?
For me education is the best, lets keep them in school and they will have the knowledge to protect themselves as well as helping others. Good mentors too around the girls are a bonus. I am that example.
What keeps you going through tough times?
Passion l might say and no matter how dark the tunnel is there must be a light at the end if l can’t find one l will be that light.
What advice do you have for young women struggling with poverty or unemployment who would really want to make something of their lives?
They should start from somewhere join other women’s groups if you can. I believe everyone has a talent use it and help someone including yourself.
How can the youth connect with you?
I am based in the UK but am reachable via my website all the contact details are there.