Last week, we trained women in rural Omin.

Our ongoing training is in Omin, a rural community near Ibadan, Oyo state Nigeria. It is a 15 day training programme. We love to train women for weeks so that we are able to live with them, eat with them, go to the stream together, share our stories, and understand the condition of our sisters in their own comfort zones. This creates a lasting bond between our trainees and us, and in most cases, it develops into a lasting sisterhood. This has been our method since we began our programme in Nigeria.

Early this year, we came to an agreement in our organization that we will charge $6 as a registration fee for our training programmes, especially now that funding for our work is scarce.

We went into Omin last Monday, but on seeing the situation of the women, we decided to forget the idea of any registration fee because most of the women cannot even feed themselves, let alone pay a registration fee for a training. If we had pegged the registration fee to $2, I am sure that half of them would drop the programme. The economy situation in Nigeria is biting very hard in the cities and villages. It is very hard in the villages because everybody produces what they need. There are few households without a farm, unlike the cities where people buy their food.

As the training progressed last week, an unfortunate incident happened amongst the women. One of the participating women stole $1. It became a dirty incident. When money is stolen in a crowd, the innocent one in the crowd is the owner of the money. Fortunately or unfortunately, someone saw the woman who took the money, and told us as it was happening.

I invited the woman who took the money to talk to me. Her story is a long one: Her husband walked away leaving her with two children. She has no work to keep body and soul together, and her children are another burden. She was attempting to steal to feed her family.

The matter was settled amicably. But as I listened, I asked myself: How can a woman who finds it hard to feed herself and her two children be able to save enough money to start up the business?

She is not the only woman with a walk-away husband. Many of the women we work with are widows and some are unmarried mothers, or mothers with estranged husbands. Hardly is there a woman who is comfortable in life amongst our trainees because our trainees are selected by their level of abuse or hardship they are facing in life.

This messy situation brings to mind the major challenge facing our trainees. We love to train women and women love to attend our training. In a country like Nigeria where life is very hard for single mothers, abused women, and rural women—the majority of our target group—how can we help the women to take off comfortably after our training?

It has been our dream to donate the resources women need to start up a business; we do not want them to access loans through our organization, because personally, I have seen many situation where women die because of the stress of a loan repayment. I do not want to cause more havoc for women who have already gone through a lot.

We know that we can do it, and we will continue to work towards starting up our trainees without causing them sleepless nights.

Comments

Thank you for sharing with us the situation that happened there in Nigeria; It is so painful to hear, I pray to the good God to help those women who have gone through this horrible life. Just a word courage and good luck

sylvie

Thanks a lot.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

What a story! I hope your program enriches these women with marketable skills and empower them to have the courage to look for ways to put these skills to work for their survival and why not also become leaders of others in situations like they were in!

Thanks a lot. I appreciate you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Dear Olutosin, What you are doing is more than you can imagine. In such difficult situations, sometimes money is not the immediate answer. Your presence , immersed in the community ( Read Robert Chambers thoughts on Who's reality is it? and immersion exactly what you are doing), the dialogues you have with these women in itself, before you talk about the actual training is healing in itself. For them having something to participate in and look forward to gives a sense of hope  and self worth that they need in order to cultivate ideas for economic empowerment. You are doing a commendable job, I pray that you can get funding to strengthen the work you are doing!

LVB

Olutosin,

You inspire me so much and I want you to know that the work you are doing is causing a ripple effect across the world. I send you bright blessings to keep on doing the incredible work you are doing!

Your Sister,
Ann

 

Bright Blessings,

Ann

Hello sis. Words can't express the joy you are bringing to these women. The story is very sad but the bitter reality of women's situation in many of our communities. I hope and pray you find the resources needed to do a start up for these trainees that way the healing process from the trauma a male dominated society gives many will be completed. Strength for this great task be yours always!!!!!

Sally Maforchi Mboumien

Founder/Coordinator COMAGEND Cameroon

Facebook Page: common action for Gender Development

www.comagend.org

Hello Olutosin, I so appreciate your leadership, and your vision for improving these women's lives. You are terrific!!!! I can understand your need to charge a fee, and yet I see how it is impossible for these very women to pay a fee. This is a serious dilemma. I will hope and pray that you will find a source of funding so that you may continue in your important work.

Thank you for sharing such an eye-opening story! In the modern world, money has such a powerful influence over people, and can make them vulnerable to desperation, to the point of stealing, as mentioned in the story. The work that you have done, and continue to do, is extremely inspirational and influential; you are a true role model for women and girls around the world. I look forward to hearing more about even more work that you will do in the future.

Olutosin, you have opened up a whole new world of potential buyers for your wonderful wares!  Keep up the good work supporting orphans.

 

 

~ Julie Thompson

Hello, that's the spirit. Empowring widows, single mother's and even married women will help eliminate many domestic violence and create self resilience. Women needs to be one another's keeper. You solved the problem with wisdom. Keep the great work