…Gives award to men/women rights advocate
By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
A non governmental organisation, African Kids and Women Rights Empowerment Initiative (AKAWI), has drummed support for more women in the country to be empowered and equipped with skills.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Sherina Okoye, made the call on Monday in Abuja, during its empowerment programme.
Okoye said she was worried about the various challenges beclouding women in the country, saying special skills will help them to standout despite the challenges.
She called on women to speak out and tell their stories to enable others learn from what they passed through.
While giving an award to Miss Blessing Mccolumbus, a strong advocate for men and women rights, she said the awardee’s story of being a mother from age six and surviving suicide is a wake up call for all to conquer their challenges.
“Today we are witnessing the birth of a new movement; celebrating strong African women. The African woman is hard to describe. She’s that woman who has learned to smile while she suffers. She is that woman who has learned to combine motherly duties, with wifely duties, with daughterly duties with womanly duties. She is that woman that has learned to soldier on even when unappreciated. Today’s award is an attempt to show the average African woman that story matters. It’s an attempt to show the average African woman that she is unique. It’s an attempt to use the story of the average African woman to encourage other African women.
“I firmly believe that so many women, especially in Africa, have gone through a lot and are going through all manner of situations like poverty, molestation, lack of economic power, abuse, FGM, discrimination; the list is endless. Even in this very hall some have gone through or are going through these horrors by mere reason of their being African women.
“Our message to women out there today is simple: own your stories, tell your stories because your past may be someone else’s present. There’s probably a young girl in secondary school who needs to hear that that forty year old woman who is a captain of industries today was also once a young girl in secondary school who couldn’t afford a sanitary towel and was probably molested for that. That young girl needs to know that she can climb out of her own personal pit. She needs to know that she doesn’t have to die in that problem. That young housewife needs to know how that elderly woman climbed out of domestic violence. As human beings we’re all connected. We need each other’s stories. We need to know that we can rise from where we are to where destiny demands that we be.”
Also speaking, Mrs Charity Orchir, called for the inclusion of Small Medium Enterprises (SME) in to school curriculum to teach skills.
“We need SME from the scratch to encourage ur young ones. We also need to develop our own products and stop depending on china goods.
“We need government to come up with policies that can motivate NGOs to spring up and help young Nigerians with skills”.
On her part, Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, YIAGA Africa, said their is an urgent need to mound young girls to leadership roles and build their personalities.
She said they need to be inspired by the stories of other women to enable them stand on their feet.