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I Am a Girl from Africa

by Elizabeth Nyamayaro

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696345,537 (4.03)None
'Traveling with Nyamayaro - from Tblisi to Montevideo - is both inspiring and maddening, seeing all that has been accomplished and all that's left to do. Somehow, through it all, she manages to maintain an unwavering optimism - and a belief in the power of NGOs, education, collaboration, and even (gasp) globalism - that buoys the soul and reminds us that there's no progress without progressives, no light without the torch-bearers.' Dave Eggers 'From the first page to the last, I could not put down this book. I am a Girl from Africa is a story that can uplift and inspire every girl and boy from every part of the world. Beautifully told, and beautifully lived.' Angela Duckworth, author of Grit 'Nyamayaro's heartwarming and inspirational story is symbolic of the faith, community uplift, and interdependence a girl from anywhere needs to soar.' Oprah Daily A powerful memoir about a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.   She squeezes my hand and smiles. "I am here to feed hungry children in the village, because as Africans we must uplift each other." I don't understand what it means to uplift others, but I nod. I know that I can finally stand up. I will search for food. I will live. When severe draught hit her village in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth, then eight, had no idea that this moment of utter devastation would come to define her life purpose. Unable to move from hunger, she encountered a United Nations aid worker who gave her a bowl of warm porridge and saved her life. This transformative moment inspired Elizabeth to become a humanitarian, and she vowed to dedicate her life to giving back to her community, her continent and the world. Grounded by the African concept of Ubuntu - 'I am because we are' - I Am a Girl from Africa charts Elizabeth's quest in pursuit of her dream from the small village of Goromonzi to Harare, London and beyond, where she eventually became a Senior Advisor at the United Nations and launched HeForShe, one of the world's largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. For over two decades, Elizabeth has been instrumental in creating change in communities all around the world; uplifting the lives of others, just as her life was once uplifted. The memoir brings to vivid life one extraordinary woman's story of persevering through incredible odds and finding her true calling - while delivering an important message of hope and empowerment in a time when we need it most.  … (more)
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Elizabeth Nyamayaro’s memoir of growing up in a small village in Zimbabwe and experiencing starvation from drought. When she is helped by a United Nations humanitarian worker, she is inspired to follow in her footsteps. Nyamayaro lives in poverty with her grandmother, but, with the help of an uncle, and through hard work to support herself, is able to gain an education. She eventually works for the UN and World Health Organization. She travels back to her home country of Zimbabwe and to other African countries, assisting with HIV/AIDS and River Blindness education and treatment.

This is an uplifting story about a woman who overcame many hardships to achieve her dream of working for the United Nations. Her book is founded on the concept of ubuntu, an ancient African philosophy that recognizes the connectedness of humankind. One of the common themes running through her story is the need to develop a sense of community.

She has formed an organization that advocates gender equality, an inclusive movement that includes men and boys, HeForShe. She truly believes that transformative change is possible through working together and is passionate in her support of this belief. She is working to end child marriage and domestic abuse.

I think the book could have been organized in a way that flowed better, but overall, it is a wonderful example of a woman overcoming many obstacles to make a difference in the world.

“What we share is more powerful than what divides us.” ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
The author’s life is a beautiful example of how a small act of kindness can change the world. When she was 8, she almost starved to death in her village in Zimbabwe when a United Nations worker (the woman in the blue dress) gave her a bowl of porridge. She swore then she would grow up to work for the UN. There and in her subsequent employment she has absolutely changed the world implementing programs to improve access to healthcare to saving Women from domestic violence from Finland to Malawi to the US. The author reads her own memoir in this audiobook about her life in unbelievable poverty, becoming a janitor in London in order to survive, as she navigates her way to finally get a foot in the door at the UN. This is an impressive story in countless ways and I cannot more highly recommend it. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Jan 28, 2022 |
nonfiction/memoir. Positive story, with activism! ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 6, 2021 |
I received an advance copy of this book, Thank you.

What a remarkable life and what a remarkable woman. To have overcome so many obstacles and remained true to her dreams is awe inspiring. Elizabeth was raise by her grandmother in Zimbabawe surrounded with love and guidance. Years of drought brought her village to starvation and she was saved from the brink of death by a young United Nations aid worker. That is when her dream began. That simple act caused Elizabeth to want to go forth and help others. This path seemed unlikely since at that point she hadn't ever gone to school. For a few years she spends time with her mother, who had reclaimed her. She also spent time with an Aunt and Uncle. During these times she did get schooling, and found support at home. She pursued schooling, but was often called out to work to help her family. She also missed her grandmother a great deal. Her Aunt was a doctor and this is where she realized how much need is in the world and how medicine alone can't fix things. She saw that change needed to come from within and be accepted throughout the whole community. This book is about her entire winding, but focused journey. One of my favorite quotes is: "If you think you are too small to make a difference try sleeping in a room with a mosquito." ( )
  cjyap1 | May 8, 2021 |
Elizabeth Nyamayaro is inspiring. Growing up in a small Zimbabwe village, she was a part of a close knit community. During a drought and near death, an “angel from God dressed in blue” gave her warm porridge and water. From that time on she knew she wanted to work for the United Nations. Her quest took her to England and then to Zurich where she worked on the HIV/AIDS campaign. In her determination, she never took “NO” for an answer. I’d love to listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 27, 2021 |
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'Traveling with Nyamayaro - from Tblisi to Montevideo - is both inspiring and maddening, seeing all that has been accomplished and all that's left to do. Somehow, through it all, she manages to maintain an unwavering optimism - and a belief in the power of NGOs, education, collaboration, and even (gasp) globalism - that buoys the soul and reminds us that there's no progress without progressives, no light without the torch-bearers.' Dave Eggers 'From the first page to the last, I could not put down this book. I am a Girl from Africa is a story that can uplift and inspire every girl and boy from every part of the world. Beautifully told, and beautifully lived.' Angela Duckworth, author of Grit 'Nyamayaro's heartwarming and inspirational story is symbolic of the faith, community uplift, and interdependence a girl from anywhere needs to soar.' Oprah Daily A powerful memoir about a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.   She squeezes my hand and smiles. "I am here to feed hungry children in the village, because as Africans we must uplift each other." I don't understand what it means to uplift others, but I nod. I know that I can finally stand up. I will search for food. I will live. When severe draught hit her village in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth, then eight, had no idea that this moment of utter devastation would come to define her life purpose. Unable to move from hunger, she encountered a United Nations aid worker who gave her a bowl of warm porridge and saved her life. This transformative moment inspired Elizabeth to become a humanitarian, and she vowed to dedicate her life to giving back to her community, her continent and the world. Grounded by the African concept of Ubuntu - 'I am because we are' - I Am a Girl from Africa charts Elizabeth's quest in pursuit of her dream from the small village of Goromonzi to Harare, London and beyond, where she eventually became a Senior Advisor at the United Nations and launched HeForShe, one of the world's largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. For over two decades, Elizabeth has been instrumental in creating change in communities all around the world; uplifting the lives of others, just as her life was once uplifted. The memoir brings to vivid life one extraordinary woman's story of persevering through incredible odds and finding her true calling - while delivering an important message of hope and empowerment in a time when we need it most.  

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