I saw how unfair society was to girls when I was a teenager.

#MyEsteemCampaign day 12

I started seeing how unfair society was to girls when I was a teenager. But as a Senegalese educated girl from a patriarchal society, there is nothing I could do I often thought. I very often found myself writing on my journals sentences like why do everybody hate me? Why is my life so hard? How comes no one likes me? And I will answer to all these questions myself by saying that it is because I am ugly and because I am a girl.

It took me two years or more to realize that the problem infact was not how other people were seeing me, but it was the way I was seeing myself. I did not consider myself likeable and therefore could not see the value and esteem other people were showing me.

Loving yourself is the first step of starting to live and reaching your dream. It gives you the wings to fly and an open space to create the world you want to live in. So I decided one afternoon to live my life, to embark on a journey of self-esteem. Every morning, (to be honest I respected the schedule only on the first week), I would look at the mirror and say to myself: Mame, you are young, you are smart and you are beautiful. You can be whoever you want to be. From now, when someone say these words to you, your answer should be: thank you or I know. I later found myself happier than I were.

My name is Maman Codou Ndiaye . I am a beautiful smart girl from Senegal, a PhD student, and a fashion lover. Did I forget to say that I am also the president and founder of an association for girls called La Parole Aux Sisters?

Today, I want to talk to you my sister .As you are reading this message, I want that its end be the end of your doubts, your hesitations, and your negative perception of yourself. Love yourself, value yourself and celebrate yourself. Whoever you are, you deserve to be loved and respected but that will happen when and only when you love yourself first and know your worth.

As you embark in this journey, I want you to remember this : it is okay to be weak sometimes, it is okay to be a strong woman, it is okay be smart, to want to be a scientist, a doctor, a lecturer, a fashion designer, or a football player. It just has to be something you want and have chosen. Being a woman should never prevent you from achieving your dream. Sister, don’t apologize for being who you are. If you love clothes and shoes, go get them, but if it is not your thing, then forget and just be you. Be the best version of yourself, enjoy it fully and whatever other people say about you, who you are, and how you look, remember this : it is not your business.