Visio Divina for women: Thursday, Dec 9
December 9, 2020
Thursday December 10th: Building God’s Kingdom
December 10, 2020

We all had mentors before we had a name for it

By Camille Rambharat

Mentorship is an important part of my life and every day I am reminded that parents are our first mentors. We mirror their every word and action which sometimes can be a good or bad thing. As women, we are seen as everyone’s mother, especially Caribbean women. We have a natural instinct to love and care, consciously or unconsciously.

Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, we all had mentors before we had a name for it. For me, aunties, by blood and by friendships, a couple teachers, and most importantly my father. Today, young people entering the workplace should all have mentors. Females in particular need advice and guidance to get through issues like sexual harassment, gender inequality, barriers to opportunities and other aspects of gender discrimination in the workplace.

At age 17, having a mentor at my first job helped with my own situation. A grab of my tender leg was all it took. After sharing what happened the following morning with my dad—he quickly said ‘don’t return to that place’ and left my room. I never returned. My dad mentored me to be strong, confident, help others and not ‘let your right hand know what your left hand is doing’. He never once said that I should or shouldn’t do something because I’m a girl.

Throughout my career and personal life, I’ve always sought out mentors—both male and female. Outside of my family and relatives, Brenda De La Rosa became one of my early mentors to the point that without deliberately doing it, I even started dressing like her. Mentoring has also included our own children throughout their life’s journey, with my dad alongside me as he scolded me for being ‘too strict with the children’. ‘Leave them alone.’ he said to me. Now I say to our children: “can’t wait to pay you guys back by spoiling my grandchildren.”

I knew I needed to move from always the mentee to becoming a mentor, especially to young people and I’ve been doing that for the over 20 years. In fact, that led me to professionally creating and managing mentorship relationships as part of my work. We all need to hand our experiences and teachings up to this generation and hopefully be around to do the same for the generation after them.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African Proverb that is really about mentorship, so let’s do better for our young women and men. It’s for us to understand them and not the other way around. This is not about telling mothers to let their daughters dress better or for mothers to tell their sons not to harass our girls. As mentors, let’s go beyond the blame, find better solutions and lobby for better laws. Let’s be that village mentoring and raising our children.