The World Pulse community lost a dear sister who was a Featured Changemaker, Featured Storyteller, Ambassador, and so much more.
When our sister Busayo announced the news to the Global Ambassadors, the group message was filled with shock, denial, heartbreak, and tears. It is the worse news mid-year of 2020, worse than COVID-19.
I wept when I heard the news, and I wept with World Pulse sisters who've met her and formed friendships with her. It must be empathy, but part of it was guilt.
On June 17, 2020, I read Esther's First Post where she narrated her life's story. It was filled with trauma and abuse, but her tragic narrative changed when she met our beloved Aramide. She shares,
"However, a friend of mine who we both passed out from the same Secondary School introduced me to an empowerement programme at Bestspring Foundation, under the administration of Aunty Aramide Oikelome in year 2019, which brought about a major turning point in my life. I was trained on a skill acquisition programme which I benefited from and was gifted with a sum of money which enabled me to further develop my skills and create a source of income for myself. This also created an avenue for me to support my mum and make me financially independent."
This wasn't the first time I encountered a World Pulse sister who mentions Aramide. Here's another one, "Then I met Aramide oikelome who pulled me into her NGO, and she introduced me to this group, she keeps saying she sees a lots of virtues I don't even think I have" (Read her story here).
While I was commenting on Esther's post, a thought came to mind, " How is Aramide? I should send her a message of appreciation for helping these young women and for promoting World Pulse".
Imagine my shock when I received the news of her passing three days later. She never received the message I planned to send. I checked her latest World Pulse post, I sent love to it , but did not write an encouragement. I had to deal with the nagging guilty feelings for these past few days. It was all too late now.
Oprah Winfrey said, "Turn your wounds into wisdom".
I'm wounded by Aramide's death just like the rest of our World Pulse sisters who knew her. For some of you who really knew her, your wounds are bigger, and I respect that. World Pulse is holding a space for you to share your grief.
One of the ways I deal with death is to see what the impact or legacy a person left in this world. I also believe in this Bible verse, "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24).
Aramide remains alone in what she does when was alive, but now, like a kernel of wheat or a seed, she is planted, her tribe increases from now on. More women will be inspired by her work and will follow suit.
That is why I am so comforted when our dear Tech Genius Kirthi promptly created The Aramide Initiative. I signed up immediately because I want to be part of the seeds Aramide produced: ending gender-based violence, mentoring survivors, and caring for woman and girls.
As someone who is passionate about encouragement, Aramide's death also reminded me that I need to keep appreciating and encouraging our World Pulse sisters while they are alive. We can never underestimate the power of encouragement, and all the more we need to encourage one another in this trying times. All the more, we need to celebrate our World Pulse changemakers on their important work, to "listen" to our storytellers, and *to appreciate our encouragers.
Aramide, say her lovely name.
Aramide, remember her name.
It is my hope and my prayer that we will not forget the name Aramide. Instead, let it be a CALL TO ACTION to end gender-based violence, to help the survivors in any way we can, and to encourage women in every opportunity we have.
REST in POWER, our dear sister Aramide! You've been planted; thus you are now ready to multiply! Your legacy lives on. We miss you already.
*On appreciation of our encouragers, World Pulse will be having an Encourager Party on June 26, 3PM GMT. This has been a pre-planned activity before the announcement of Aramide's death.