1:34:00 PM

*…and the winner of youth philanthropy 2013 is Sitawa Wafula* *Standing ovation as crowd applauds*

That was Thursday night at Sarova Whitesands…

How does it feel to receive an award?

Amazing…affirming…igniting explain?
Amazing = I am delighted my efforts to create awareness about mental health have been recognized, Affirming = I am on the right path and doing it right, Igniting = one thing I can equate to what I envision is when you get born again…you know things have changed in the spiritual and it is up to you to make the physical manifestation happen.

So how did you do it?
There is a movie by that title or something similar How does she do it featuring Carrie from Sex in the City; it is about going higher and higher on the job scale, trying to balance having a family and demanding job expectations, frequent trips out of town and the need to prove a woman can do it plus the stereotype of why women get passed for promotions because they need to be at home playing wives and mothers…ok that was my interpretation of the movie…so this is my How I do (did) it tips ok some that helped me out...there are many other things I might have forgotten but this will give you a picture.

1.       Dream your own dreams…
Last week on Monday, I got to fulfill two childhood dreams; travelling by train and sleeping on a tree house. To many those are really lame dreams like seriously Sitawa, Ms. Award Winner but they are my dreams. We live in a society where we live other people’s dreams. One thing I love doing is visual boarding (booking) where I project things I would like and every once in a while I pray over them and make efforts to make those dreams a reality. Try visual boarding and do not care how ‘lame’ or off your dreams look, they are your dreams…who would have thought my work in mental health would earn me an award in a non-mental health forum? Go ahead and dream your own dream, write them down and work towards making them a reality.

2.       …What’s that in your hands?
This was actually my theme for 2012 or was it 2011…age is catching up with me…anyway it is a verse in Exodus 4 if I am not wrong. When I started my work in mental health advocacy, I didn’t have knowledge in the area, I didn’t have money to go learn about it but I have one thing; experience and my mine was ‘grey’ as people call it; I had experience as a rape survivor, seizure attacks and mental health problem. We all have some kind of raw material; knowledge (papers), money, networks, passion…everyone has something. Question is; how do you use your raw material? Greater question (or award winning question) how do you use your raw material to realize your dream in 1 above?

3.       Lanes
Not everyone/everything is for you, period…that said, know the price, the people and place of your influence…in business lingo, know your target market and their characteristics. This can only be known after you go through a process, by networking and interacting. By going through the process, I learnt mental health is brooooooad; from research to awareness creation, advocacy, policy and legislation, community mental health and the list goes on and on. I concentrate on awareness, advocacy and policy and my tools of trade are my email inbox through which I assist loads of people, my blog and social media networks which I use as sources of references, giving awareness talks at youth concentrated areas and bringing all my findings to the National Mental Health Policy Review table.

4.       Consistency
I discovered almost everyday, is an international day for some cause…the same fall for business, every day, a new business is started to compete for the same audience you and I want to buy our products (support our cause)…so do we throw our hands in the air and say at least you dreamt, did a self discovery on the raw material you possess, went a little further and knew your lane? Know your message, know when to pass it, know how to pass, know who to pass it to but what should remain constant; a message (good/service) should be going out at all times. What was negative experience to some really helps me here as I am always sharing my story, sharing how my mentals are (mis)behaving, new drugs and their side effects and all these coupled with a whole lot happening in Africa. (I am continental now)

5.       1+1=2+2=4+4=8+8=16+16=32+32=64+64=128+128=256+256=512+512=1024+1024=2028…..
I have moved from Sitawa, rape survivor who has a mental health disorder to Sitawa, who sits on The National Mental Health Policy Review table, Assistant Secretary National Epilepsy Coordinating Committee, Spark*Kenya Changemaker 2013 and Winner Youth Philanthropy Award 2013...it is a process. I was raped 10 years ago and it is a process that I highlighted here.  I was a ‘victim’ now I am a voice of authority and force of influence, so however instant you want to be; remember to pause, if only to learn what is required, see what works for you, your dream and the raw materials you have…most of all enjoy the process, network, make friends…take pictures for future days when things are not going well or when you have to write a ‘wise post’.

6.       God
I am a firm believer in God, before I used to title myself not a role model Christian especially when my mania (I have bipolar if this is your first time here) and used to do things…wheew S/O to everyone we went really crazy with. Now I can proudly say, I am a role model Christian, growing in God every day and in return growing in my understanding of self. At the beginning of this year, we did a list of 13 things we would like God to come through for us at our church and I am proud to say, God has come through in bigger ways than I thought He would. Even faith is a process, do not beat yourself up if you keep falling…we fall down and we get up for a saint is a sinner who fell and got up.

What’s next?

I dedicate my award to all persons living with mental health disorders, this is for us and our quest to bravely battle everyday…we have conquered East Africa, now to conquer Africa then the world…if I can confess it, I can possess it.

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  1. This is GREAT SITAWA, keep the fire burning and burn the scars, scare them away and make it happen... You really are indefatigable.

  2. This is a great inspiration to me. it all boils down to "whatever does not kill you makes you stronger" Thanks for sharing this with us.