Education as empowerment for single mothers

Tebi Honourine
Posted April 20, 2017 from Cameroon
My Son and I
Single motherhood plus education becomes a blessing

Adult education could be strenuous but much more focused.

Coupled with all other responsibilities of a woman at home, school and in the society, adult education is challenging but has more focus in a woman’s development as it helps shapes and guides the woman exactly in the direction of her aspirations for a purposeful career.

In 2011 at the age 24, I dropped out of Pan African Institute for Development, West Africa Bamenda only after six months towards obtaining a professional Diploma in Project Management Monitoring and Evaluation. I had desired to continue to the under graduate level but due to financial constraints and the number of siblings I have who had not even completed primary level, I had to suspend my studies togive them an opportunity to attain a certain level.

In 2012, I started volunteering with Better World Cameroon, Non-Governmental Organization in Bamenda where I was paid a stipend of 37,500CFAF a month Under the National Employment PED program for youth employment. I worked as the project assistant for the organization, gained experience and skills in project writing, sustainable agriculture, and communitymobilization. I had the opportunity to interact with different people of different levels and people from the Western World with whom I exchanged experiences. I had the opportunity from the organization toundergo a 4 months training as Administrative Assistant in Cameroon Center for Micro Finance Management and Entrepreneurship Development (CCEMMED). Classes began from 8am to 12 Noon,andat 1pm I will go to the Better World Office to put inpractice the things learned. This enabled me to learn to properly plan and manage time and become more professional in what was referred to action learning which increased my chancesof advancement in the organization.

In 2013 I became a National Volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) hosted by the Society for Initiative in Rural Development and Environmental Protection ( SIRDEP) Bamenda, Non-Governmental organization for a period of six months on a monthly stipend of 60,000frs.

After the voluntary work with VSO, I was recruited in SIRDEP to work as a community development officer on an Innovative micro loan project with a salary of 60,000CFAF a month. I worked there up to September 2015, when I joined World Vision for Education and Development (WVED) as youth mentor and Community field worker a post I still occupy up to date. I worked with over 300 girls aged between10 to 15 to build their self confidence and leadership skills through LitClubs.

From 2012, I was no longer with my parents as they were in another Region. I started being responsible for my needs, taking care of my house rents, feeding, transportation, communicationand general up keep as a woman and even supported my siblings in school.

With all these experiences,I had the vision to promote youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and social business creationthrough training and mentorship. This set the bases for me to reflect about how to achieve this vision and continue my education at the same time.

Understanding the fact that formal education was not the only factor to influence this dream became a starting point for pursing a greater career in entrepreneurship and new business creation. Now, at 24 yearsI had enrolled into the University of Bamenda taking the option Geography and Planning where I aimed at specializing in agriculture and rural development at the under graduate level, then to continue with Masters in entrepreneurship and business administration.

Two months after school resumption, I discovered I was pregnant for a man who made me believed we had plans for marriage.However, when he noticed I was pregnant, he instead abandoned me taking little or no responsibility for my condition.This did not stop me from doing what I had planned to do for my life. It strengthened my resolve to succeed against all the odds.

As apregnant single mother carrying out mentorship work with World Vision for Education and Development based onpast experiences, it was the greatest challenge of my life though later to become a blessing. I had come to the realization that money is not always the issue in achieving success, despite the dwindling income in the face of single mother responsibilities; I learnt that through sheer determination I could achieve everything with little means.

In the first year of the university, my parents believed the guy who was responsible for my pregnancy was also responsible for me and the unborn baby which was not the case. As a young girl who had come to know that every coin has two sides, I had to stay strong and positive. With the mastery of my life,I was able to face pregnancy, studies and mentorship for young girlsusing myself as an example when talking about sex education and teenage marriage.

In my University program, classes were normally on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday from 7am to 6pm daily and Thursday from 2pm to 3pm was my LitClub day for mentorship. I was able to learn proper time management, prioritizing activities, multi tasking and remaining focused on my career dream.

During the first semester exams I successfully passed all my courses with good grades of A+, B+and two C grades out of 17 courses. Three days towards the second semester exams were to be written, I delivered a bouncing baby boy and kept him with my mother to sit for the exams. When the results were published, my younger friends were surprised and many began to appreciate me for the hard work and seriousness in a very difficult situation. Appreciation was out of place because for me I was propelled by my decision to continue education as an adult who wants to make it in the future despite all the challenges.

Withthis in the back of my mind, I decided to stay in my corner, not always going out for leisure; I would sit back, reflect on my life and the vision of the future. I told myself, pregnancy will not make me lose my career. I continued with the mentorship program, university program and other activities as a woman. Being occupied all the time gave me courageand the sanity to prove to the society that pregnancy should not be a cause for school drop outs and forceful early marriage.

I now believe that, pursuing education as an adult is challenging but the surest way to make a difference. I tell this story as an inspiration to other young girlswho are vulnerable in the complex society of today, so they can learn from my example how to use one stone to shoot two birds at a time.

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Contact               tebihonourinea@yahoo.com

                             +237 674232741

Comments 6

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Jill Langhus
Apr 21, 2017
Apr 21, 2017

Hi Tebi. Welcome to World Pulse:-) Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story of strength, courage and determination. You're quite the role model there for other women. Is your vision still to promote youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and social business creation through training and mentorship? Did you complete your degree or are you still working on it? Good luck to you, but it doesn't sound like you need it:-)

Tebi Honourine
Apr 21, 2017
Apr 21, 2017

Thank you Jlanghus for the soft words of encouragement, I am still pursuing the degree and with same vision focusing on women (single others) and girls.

Jill Langhus
Apr 22, 2017
Apr 22, 2017

You're welcome:) Awesome. Can't wait to see how your vision unfolds. Did you see the WP call for entries for "lifelong learning?" I think you would be perfect for it, if you are interested that is. I think your fire, determination and strong message would be great for this. Please keep us posted on your progress and mission.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Apr 22, 2017
Apr 22, 2017

Hi Tebi your story is very inspirational. Thanks for turning a challenge to an inspiration. Keep this vision you have for single mothers because our society needs it.

jmcc
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Hello - Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. It takes courage and perseverance to continue to work towards your goals through adversity. You are providing a wonderful example to others. I hope  you continue to drive change

Tebi Honourine
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017

Thank you Jmcc.

My inspiration is coming from within my dear. Lots of societal challenges but one can only be inspired with that which affects him or her. I am beginning the vision. I won't relent my efforts. The society needs us and we need the society.

Love you.