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Itumeleng Likhama did her degree in Economics at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). She is also a Finance Manager at the NUL Innovation Hub’s Phuthalichaba, a Financial Cooperative. She just entered an International Story Telling Competition organized by the United Nations (UN) and she came to be among the few winners! She will join other international winners for a conference in Doha, Qatar, soon.

Here is her personal story that impressed judges.


For me, losing my self-esteem or an epicentre that connected me to my truest being was as much brutal as it was NECESSARY. I say it was necessary because it taught me lessons about myself that I couldn’t have imagined learning in any other ways.

Having been born and bred in a family where patriarchal love and validation were in short supply, I grew up as an emotionally needy child. The effects of my emotional hunger were felt in my romantic relationships where I watched myself lose MYSELF in the hands of men who didn’t value me. This came as a result of my strong yearning to be seen, validated and loved by a man alluding to my weak emotional foundation.

My experiences didn’t only drive me to heights of insecurities and low self-esteem, but they also saw my world of academics crumble down. Relegating me from an over-achiever to downright mediocrity!

In a quest to re-enact my epicentre and restore my self-esteem, I learned a very valuable lesson of RETURNING HOME TO MYSELF. This constituted spending time in solitude with the person within to validate, love and affirm them. Everything that I wished I could’ve been granted as a child.

With the rising statistics of mental illnesses and the plethora of people committing suicide due to depression these days, I realise to achieve a SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, it’s imperative that the person within is fulfilled.

Emotional hunger is as much a pandemic as true poverty itself! My idea of a conducive and habitable world is where the government takes the issue of emotional security and mental stability seriously. It could do so by advocating for and increasing mental awareness campaigns. It could also achieve this by encouraging people to spend time in solitude to listen to, validate and affirm the inner person. AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT.

I am positive, this change in the relationship with the inner self, will result in more loving, compassionate and productive human beings. Love itself is an elixir to the broken heart.

I also believe taking mental and emotional security seriously, will also lead to poverty stricken graves as opposed to a lot of talent and potential that is buried in the graves because people died prematurely before ACTUALISING themselves.


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