Speaking up can change your life

Don’t feel powerless in the face of problems

Speaking up can change your life

Sometimes, when we’re facing a problem, it feels as if there’s a wall in front of us that grows each day. To chip through just one brick seems impossible - and pointless when that wall looks so huge.

But if you can take that first brave step and dent your problem, you might be surprised at how quickly things can start to get better.

A problem shared
At Kara’s school, there were no proper toilets. No private cubicles, no sink to wash their hands. When she or other girls in her class got their periods, they’d have to walk for miles to get to a proper facility.

Anger to action
As she walked to the toilets one day, Kara felt angry. She was missing her favourite class. And one of her friends hadn’t come to school at all that week because she was too embarrassed.

She’d had enough. It wasn’t fair - the boys didn’t have to worry about this, and the girls fell behind even though they were just as clever and hard-working. The fury she felt pushed out her embarrassment and her shyness. Before she lost her nerve, she decided to go to her teacher.

Power in numbers
Kara’s teacher agreed that something should be done, but suggested Kara gather a group of girls to prove there was a problem across the whole class. Then, all together, they could go to the head teacher and explain how often they were all missing classes.

Building with belief
The girls won the headteacher over. Together they worked hard to organise a fundraising event, going to local women’s groups and community centres to gather the support they needed.

The girls built up their skills and their confidence. And finally the toilet was built too. Every time the girls used it they felt proud, knowing it was there because they had the courage to speak up.

Back to lessons
Of course the answer to the problem you’re facing won’t always be as clear as fundraising for a building. But starting by sharing, and teaming up with others who might be facing the same problem, is often a great start to breaking down those walls we’ll always come up against. Good luck!