Introducing myself to the economic empowerment group.
As little girl I had always believe to be economically self-empowered. Women economic empowerment to me means a certain degree of financial freedom.
I was introduced to World Pulse by a friend only a couple of weeks ago. At first I really did not understand what it is all about. It took me a while to grasp the whole online community empowerment concept but oh boy! Since I did there has been no stopping me reading these personal stories and feeling as if someone is quietly talking to me or telling my story. And I have been asking my friend is this WP addictive or what? And she will laugh and say you haven’t even started. I kept saying to myself I wish I had stumble on this site a long while ago but you know as the saying goes it is never too late!!. Thank you my friend J
Growing up as a little girl in Cameroon, I always like to engage in some sort of petite business during the long summer holidays so that when it was back to school time I always had extra money with me, making me financially empowered than my sisters and brothers. This entrepreneurial spirit in me has progress over the years. Even when I was in university in Nigeria on going back home to Cameroon, I will buy things like cosmetics, jewelleries etc. to sell during the holidays so I will have extra cash on top of my usual pocket money given to me by my parents. One of my sisters told me once, and so too did many of my friends if I were you Stelz, I will be studying for a degree in Business instead of Journalism. And my answer to them often was I need communication in order to sell my stuff. Not strange enough when I graduated as a journalist my first role was as a reporter with the financial news desk.
The Indians in the United Kingdom are mostly noted for their entrepreneurial ship, owning from big wholesale department stores to small corner shops, so much so that when other nationalities open shops especially corner shops as these are predominantly owned by them, you will be given the nickname ‘Mr/Mrs Patel’ This is how I earned my nickname of Mrs Patel in Cardiff UK being one of the first sub-Saharan Africans in the city of Cardiff to open a corner shop selling West African items from food, artefacts, to beauty cosmetics products. It was not long before I decided to do a Master degree in Business Administration.
Putting all these into perspective my shop in Cardiff became the centre point for most Africans when they first arrived the city of Cardiff to make one inquiry or the other. Africans will stop by either to just listen to good African music, to find out where one church is or another was, where the job centre was, how they could get one sort of help from the government or just to feel at home etc. Some will tell me very personal stories and how if only someone could hear them out!!! Now I say to myself only if there was world Pulse then!!!
Sooner or later I realised that my shop was becoming just more than an African corner shop but an empowerment centre so much so that the local government started collaborating with me to drop leaflets about settling in the UK, local jobs, integrating in the UK community as a foreigner etc. I became the distribution centre for most churches for their pamphlets and some sort of a recruitment centre for African Christians.
Little did I know that I was not just making money from my shop but I was being recognised within the community more so that I was approached to start the African Community Centre Wales, Cardiff branch? An NGO that served as a platform for breaking down barriers, speaking out for the African community in Wales, (sounds like World Pulse online community to me) I later on became the board of governors for this organisation. There my leadership role in the community was just beginning.
During my spare time I will volunteer at different charity organisations empowering through training refugees and other ethnic minority groups in ICT and how to start a small business, all these in a bit to help them improve their skills thereby improving their lives. This was very fulfilling for me.
I am still building on my vision of women economic empowerment which I hope sooner than later it will be a realisation.