Equipping women and youth with the ability to find purpose in life and pursue their passion has a positive ripple effect in ensuring the nation's success, sought-after motivational speaker and marketing guru Nyengeterai Mahaka has said.
Mahaka, the founder and CEO of marketing and branding consultancy firm True Reflections, is the brains behind the I am Women's Conference, whose inaugural event took place in Harare recently.
The forum, attended by hundreds of women, attracted some of the country's influential women, including Ruth Makandiwa, Pokello Nare and Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa, while the keynote address was given by the first black Miss South Africa (1994) Basetsana Khumalo.
"By life affirming women through various activities and engagements they in turn are able to empower and help more people because I also feel that they have always been at a disadvantage," Mahaka told Standard Style.
"It is the same thing for the girl child where boys are given more attention and because of that I have this deep desire to empower women."
Speakers at the conference presented themes of good health practices, financial stability and purposeful living among other spheres the series, to be replicated in other places across the country, is structured to achieve.
While her journey in motivational speaking and life coaching started as a hobby a few years ago, Mahaka has nurtured a strong resolve to inspire self-esteem among the marginalised.
"I think all my life experience, my studies and the wisdom from God has prepared me for such a time as this, just to be able to empower, enrich and encourage other people to live a life with purpose and passion, that is my greatest desire," said the happily married mother of three, who attested to have encountered sidelining while growing up.
"As a dark person with a flat nose, I was not your typical beautiful girl so you find out that every time we had a function or family set-up everyone would be looking at my lighter cousins or friends.
"I then had to find beauty within and I found it through reading the Bible where I realised that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so I had to start loving myself, so I used that to help people a lot that sometimes we must not define beauty by what the world says it is, it comes from within."
Such life lessons, in addition to what she sees in other people's real-life situations, are what she says helps in crafting programmes for her audiences.
"My passion is the women and youth and I believe they are the future and they need to change the way they think now for them to have a great future," she said.
"The life that we want or God has for us will not happen overnight, but begins from a changed mindset, thought process and understanding your personal brand and just starting."