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9 August 2020, Change is in our hands, take charge!

Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world” – Hillary Rodham Clinton

Melissa Dolphin-Rowland and Kubeshni Govender are changing this narrative by growing, supporting and creating opportunities for women through Each One Hold One (EOHO).

I am fascinated by Kubeshni and Melissa's mind, heart, perspective to life and the desire to change the world. This Q&A explains my fascination.


In a sentence, who is Kubeshni Govender?

I am a mother, a partner, an entrepreneur, a child in service of a living universe.

What drives Kubeshni?

I am driven by the need to self actualise, to grow and be a better person. It is my hope that in doing so I can be of service to the world.

What words would your friends use to describe you?

Determined, Courageous, Dependable

If you had a magic wand to wish away one gender-based challenge, which one will you eradicate and why?

It would have to be violence against women and children. Gender-Based Violence is such deep pain. We have come from violence and injustice on the basis of race, and without sufficiently healing or processing this trauma we turn on ourselves, on our mothers our sisters our daughters. Violence Against Women and Children must stop.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Gosh, this is quite a question - being a mother to three young black men? Holding them as we navigate a world that can be both loving and hostile. Trying to make sense of the indescribable as I model vulnerability and strength to the souls that will inherit this life, long after I am forgotten.

How are you coping in the new normal?

I, like so many others, am riding a wave. Some days I am on top of the world, I can see the horizon, I am able to chart a path. Other days I see nothing but the depths of despair and I hold onto the hope that tomorrow will be different. I live, understanding that in truth I have control over very little in the world, and this humble acceptance helps me keep grounded and sane.

What are you working on these days that you would like to share?

Well, I am doing something amazing with Charmaine and Melissa (wink wink). I advise and support the South African Local Government Association to use knowledge, learning and capacity development to impact local government practice. It's such an important mandate that they have because legislatively our third sphere of government is the closest form of government to the citizen. I love my work with the public sector because I appreciate how important governance is to the future of this country. We know how poor governance impacts us, especially the marginalised and the vulnerable. I want to make a difference to a sector that can turn this around and play the role that our constitution envisaged.

Do you have a mantra or motto that you live by? If you do, what is it?

Do unto others, as you would have them to do unto you …

Why did you co-found Each One Hold One (EOHO)?

Because I am, was tired of being tired about the plight of women in this country. Because I truly believe that simple acts, can have profound change. EOHO is about such a simple act, of reaching out to one other, to hold just one other in conversation, in love, respect, in support. Because this idea can have exponential impact and actually make a difference. (Sorry that's lots of Because’s)

In one word how would you describe your EOHO partners

Melissa - Clarity

Charmaine - Energy

Who is the one person you would love to have dinner with and why?

My father, to tell him that I love him and that I miss him.

We are celebrating women this month, your message to women

We can change the world. Just us! With intention and common purpose. We can change this world.

My quote for the month:

We all move forward when we recognise how resilient and striking the women around us are”

Rupi Kaur

So Melissa, all the way from London:

In a sentence, who is Melissa Dolphin-Rowland?

A life long student in all aspects of my being.

What drives Melissa?

I drive Melissa. I have learnt that I need to create the perfect time opportunity and situation. We become comfortable and satisfied and stop pursuing our goals. When we have a goal that we aspire to, it takes us out of our comfort zone; we realise we have abilities and talents we didn’t know we had. Wow; what an experience this is. I do not wait for someone else to make things happen. Its all down to me. I am responsible; I am accountable.

What words would your friends use to describe you?

Caring, gregarious, friendly, insightful, committed and inspirational are words my friends use to describe me. Yes, I did ask them! 😊

If you had a magic wand to wish away one gender-based challenge, which one will you eradicate and why?

I would use a magic wand to wish away all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). Why? Because then these alarming figures will be eradicated -, 2019

1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner

Only 52% of women married are in a union freely, make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care

Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM)

1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2017; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances

71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited

Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date is living and continuing to live with a healthy self-esteem. Back in 2015, I met an amazing lady who opened my eyes to self-esteem. I knew what the concept meant having studied psychology, but never did I realise how much I was lacking in healthy self-esteem. And so my journey began. Self-esteem affects virtually every facet of our lives. Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn't about blowing your own trumpet. It's about learning to love and respect yourself — faults and all.

How are you coping in the new normal?

Coping in the new normal is work in progress. My default mode of how I generally feel has shifted and therefore I am trying to be kind to myself. I am putting my mindfulness practice to very good use and acknowledging the thoughts and feelings I have. Fitness-wise, I have a new normal running regime. My running is a big part of my life and I am especially enjoying it as going out has become very limited. Socially, I have zoom Friday nights with my girlfriends, I have quiz night every Sunday and video calls are the new norm for me now. Physical distancing does not have to mean social or emotional isolation. Be kind to yourself when experiencing the new normal, be kind to others who navigating their new normal.

What are you working on these days that you would like to share?

I am working on myself. This is a lifelong project which has recently involved starting a new chapter in my life. Big changes that I am embracing both personally and in my career. I am also currently studying a Master's degree in Psychology. This has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. But I am loving the experience. Finally, I am working on an initiative called Each One Hold One (EOHO) which I co-founded with Charmaine Soobramoney and Kubeshni Govender. Two amazing ladies who I met in 2019 which resulted in EOHO being launched. We are busy supporting and enabling women globally by matching holders (Apples) who have certain experiences to holdees (pears) who need support. Also, we host conversations online and have guest speakers talking on an array of topics within the business and personal wellbeing space. Now we are busy with campaigns such as having partnered up with AA South Africa in which people can sign up to a security app. Lots of exciting things to come so watch this space!

Do you have a mantra or motto that you live by? If you do, what is it?

My mantra is “Everything I need is within me”. My motto; it is difficult to identify one. But I would say “Life is what you make it”.

Why did you co-found Each One Hold One (EOHO)?

EOHO would never have happened if myself, Charmaine and Kubeshni had never met. I am truly grateful that our paths crossed. We used the power of collaboration to realise a common goal. Being part of an initiative which supports and enables women is extremely fulfilling. The fact that I get to impact someone's life and share in that journey in some way is a true honour. I look forward to the growth of EOHO and as EOHO touches more and more people’s lives in a positive way.

In one word how would you describe your EOHO partners

Kubeshni - Articulate

Charmaine - Inspirational

Who is the one person you would love to have dinner with and why?

My Grandad Jim. I lost my grandad to Alzheimer’s in my early 20’s. He was based in Arusha in Tanzania during world war two. With me having spent the last 12 years in South Africa I would love nothing more than to take my Grandad to dinner in Arusha at a quaint little restaurant overlooking Mount Meru so that we could share our love of Africa. I would also make sure the restaurant had a piano so that my Grandad could play me one of his melodies. Oh, what a beautiful picture I have in my mind right now.

We are celebrating women this month, your message to women:

Always remember: you are beautiful, you are worthy, you are important, you are special, you are unique, you are wonderful, you are talented and you are irreplaceable!

What are the 5 things that you cannot live with?

Family and friends, music, books, running shoes, and animals.

If you could do anything you wanted tonight, anywhere and for any amount of money, what would you do and why?

I would organise for all my closest family and friends to be together for a delicious evening meal, have music and dance the night away. Most importantly I would give them all the biggest hug and tell them how much I love them and make memories to cherish.

As I reflected on Kubeshnie and Melissa's words, I was overwhelmed with different emotions. I felt proud and blessed to be driving the EOHO mandate with these phenomenal women. I felt pain. I felt anger with regard to their comments relating to the violence against woman and children.

As we celebrate the power of women, PLEASE also commit to the eradication of violence against women and children by implementing and driving processes, and awareness in your homes, communities and areas of influence. Courageously call out those who violate and disrespect the rights of women and children. This simple act will, in time, eradicate this violence.

Stay safe, well and happy!

Thank you for stopping by: I wish you love, light, happiness and Freedom Charmaine Soobramoney I Am the Change and Free - Founder Each One Hold One (EOHO) - Co-founder #IAmTheChangeandFree #Education #Supportothers #Change#Equality #EOHO#Respect#WomansDay#WomansMonth#womenhelpingwomen#Support#Activists

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Thanks for an enlightening article Charmaine. I'm inspired by your energy, determination and courage to search for ways to address Gender Based Violence Kubeshni and Melissa.

I want to congratulate you all for starting the EOHO initiative, I've been energized by various speakers on this platform and look forward to drinking and learning from this well of knowledge and wisdom.

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