On Sunday 9th April 2017, I facilitated a digital changemaking session with nine women in attendance. The session started at 4pm Nigerian time and lasted one and half hours. Venue was a cyber café in the area and the reason I chose the place was to enable all the women have easy access to internet connection.
1. Toyin Fakuade – 44years old– Administrator/Teacher
2. Rita Akinwolere- 38years old– Content Developer/Teacher
3. Olabisi Oladele- 25years old- Lawyer
4. Deborah Taiwo - 31years old-Teacher
5. Olaitan Lediju- 40years old- Teacher
6. Temitope Adetola- 35years old- Marketer
7. Esther Abe - 33years old– Administrative Manager
8. Bosede Akanbi - 39years old- Businesswoman
9. Modupe Kolawole- 40years old- Caregiver/Caterer
1. To lead the women on a journey of self-discovery, self-confidence and self-actualization through World Pulse
2. To inspire them to be proactive about their vision for change
3. To empower them to speak up on issues where they desire change, especially as it affects women and girls
4. To ignite the fire in these women to drive change.
My experience with the women was quite memorable. There was so much energy in the room as we all discussed the topic of driving change on any issue we are passionate about. I sighted the example of my latest story ‘Let’s Give Teen Mothers Second Chance’ which was recently selected for story awards on World Pulse and how that from my little corner here in Lagos, I was able to raise a powerful argument in defence of adolescent mothers and the need for them to be given second chance and be empowered through education and life skills. I went on to tell them that just as this advocacy is now reverberating all over the world, their own voices can also be heard across the globe through World Pulse and they can be the instrument through which women and girls will be liberated.
Going further, I asked each person to mention something she is passionate about and they all did. From here, I asked them to write a short story titled “My Life Is a River” and it turned out to be such a powerful exercise as they all wrote with so much passion and verve. It was a moment of self-discovery and a beautiful opportunity to express their vision with power.
Find below the articles written by some of the participants:
My life is a river flowing into the lives of teenagers and youth that are depressed or traumatized emotionally due to peer pressure, lack of money, uncertainty about tomorrow, sex, sexual urges they feel they can’t control, drug addiction, abuse, violence, low self-esteem, poor academic performance and mistakes in the past. I flow into their lives to be a friend to them, get to know the exact things that trouble them and help them come out of their depression by taking right decisions, standing by them daily to give them hope, not condemning them in anyway and seeing them rise above whatever it is they see as a challenge they can’t overcome. I stay flowing in them till they are balanced and on their feet, then leave them to move to the next person that needs my support and encouragement. My life is a flowing river and even if I leave to the next person, river leaves impact wherever it passes, so I would have impacted the life of my troubled friend even before I depart.
I am a river flowing into the lives of single mothers to make them feel that there is hope even if their husbands abandon them. I am a flowing river because I myself decided that I can’t stay on the spot where my husband left me. I have to forge ahead with my life because I can’t give to others what I don't have. My life is a flowing river because I challenge any single mother that comes my way to start up a business no matter how little, especially in the area of daily needs so they can fend for themselves and their children. I make them realise that they can survive even without going into robbery and prostitution. Flowing river brings soothing relief to whoever it touches so I'm a flowing river because any single mother that comes my path always finds out that their burden is lifted and they develop a more positive attitude towards life.
My life is a river that flows; I flow into the lives of Teens and Young adults with identification denial. Growing up, I went through identification denial. I was a tomboy and I understand very well the damage it causes in one’s life. Over the years, I have also discovered that this can also lead to death. As a river, I flow into the lives of these young once to open their understanding to the values that comes with being contented the way the Almighty has created them, helping them understand that they can live their lives and enjoy a good life the way they have been created.
My life is a river flowing into the lives of babies. Growing up, I had the attention and affection of at least one of my parents, my mum; while my father was the one out there making the most money for the family to live on; though my mother too had her own job, which by the way afforded her enough time for us children. However, the case is not the same nowadays because both parents are out there too busy making money in quote to take care of their children's needs, unknowingly neglecting the upbringing of their children in their early formative years. The question therefore is who takes care of the children? They are left in the care of house helps, neighbours, family and friends who most of the time pollute them; especially their young minds with all sorts of junk. This then informed my passion to help create an atmosphere of love, sound moral learning in these early years in order to enhance stability of the mind and emotions, helping to create a sense of responsibility for a complete human in the future and for the betterment of the families and society in general. To this and, I plan to establish centres to care for babies from cradle to school age where an atmosphere of a home away from home can be brought alive with lots of love, fun, learning, warmth, laughter and good health in the fear of God.
My experience with this training opened my eyes to see and appreciate the fact that there is a seed of greatness in every woman, regardless of her status or level of education. All she needs is a little push from a fellow woman and then she will burst out with the wealth of resources within her. Every woman is a powerhouse and should be treated so.
Indeed, the solution to the many problems facing society is in the hands of women, hence no one should be despised or relegated to the background. As women, we must encourage one another and work together as a team. We should always provide platforms for our fellow women to thrive. We should not be envious of one another or seek to pull other women down.
Thank you World Pulse fanning the fire in us! Thank you for giving so much power to our voices as women. Thank you for giving us a safe space to express our vision and propel change. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to heal our world and make it a better place for all.