Juniour’s Commitment to Empowering Women in Africa
Juniour is an Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) Graduate who completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology in the United States. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration at a Japanese university. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Juniour was still not able to come to Japan and is attending her classes online from Zimbabwe. Despite the seven hours time difference, Juniour is enjoying her lessons and is eager to put the theory into practice.
Juniour first heard about Ashinaga’s leadership program, the AAI, through her uncle, who found out about it from the Japanese embassy in Harare. Juniour reached out to Ashinaga via email and requested more information about the program. After she went through the application process, she was selected to be part of the next cohort of AAI Scholars. Thinking back to the start of her journey with Ashinaga, Juniour recalls leaving Zimbabwe for the first time to join the Preparation Year at Ashinaga Uganda.
“The study and preparation camps were instrumental for my growth and development. It was the first time I had people believe in me and tell me that I had potential. I learned how to set goals, plan my professional development, and received support to navigate the application process to universities.”
Juniour felt ready to embark on this new journey upon her arrival to the US. She quickly created a support system of professors, fellow AAI Scholars, and a host family who supported her along the way. Juniour completed multiple internships throughout her time as an undergraduate student. Her experiences span three different countries: Ghana, the US, and Zimbabwe. From working with an NGO that promotes LGBTQ rights in Ghana to empower incarcerated women in Zimbabwe, Juniour accumulated various skills and experiences and developed her passion for social justice advocacy.
During her time in high school in Zimbabwe, Juniour said that several female friends dropped out because they were forced into marriage. She felt the responsibility to do something about it and raise awareness, advocate, empower, and provide access to opportunities in rural Zimbabwe and across the African continent. Her contribution was already visible during her undergraduate degree when she had the chance to work with one of her professors on a project advocating women’s rights in American prisons.
Juniour’s background and undergraduate experience turned her interest in the topic into a life goal, or at Ashinaga, what we call kokorozashi. Juniour hopes to devote her career to this cause and continue to contribute to women’s empowerment and human rights advocacy. Her kokorozashi is to build an organization to equip women with the skills and mindsets necessary to reach economic freedom and social prosperity.
As for her advice to AAI Scholars, Juniour said: “I would encourage every AAI Scholar to make the most out of every opportunity that Ashinaga provides. Invest in building connections and work hard.”
During her free time, Juniour enjoys watching Korean shows and learning Korean. She is a fan of the famous Korean band BTS, and she looks forward to visiting Korea hopefully soon! Juniour also enjoys writing poetry. Her poem titled “I am That Girl” featured in the Ashinaga Poetry Anthology and won the Best Poem Award from the Ashinaga Kenjin Tatsujin Council. If you want to discuss women empowerment, advocacy or ask for K-drama recommendations, connect with Juniour here!