Thomas Paine said and I quote, ‘the mind once enlightened, cannot again become dark’.
I arrived, a tabula rasa, also with a very low self esteem, on the first day of the EAG training organized by the Dawood Global Foundation, in partnership with the Whole Woman Network.
I was too timid to participate in the numerous life changing activities; from the mind-blowing lectures on Journalism, to the deeply inspired biography of Malala Yousafzai, due to a malnourished sense of confidence my home provided me. It was soon very clear to me, that I would have no limit, but myself.
In a nutshell, I was filled with enthusiasm throughout the training program, and by the third day, when Ms WanaWana came over; speaking with passion and truth, and asked us: ‘Anyone here willing to change the world through her voice?’.
Her words ignited my soul, that I was unable to remain dumb. I confidently stood and shared my dreams. The audience obviously noticed my fiery voice, because when I sat down, I heard people whisper, while someone squeezed my hand. It was an overwhelming experience for me, standing to share my thoughts in front of an audience.
I was happy within myself, because I found my voice, and discovered my passion on that day which was the focus of the training: ‘By women, for women; to change lives globally’.
Realizing that the coin must be invested, I swung into action when I got home. I live in a remote area, Atan Ota; where the highest education for the girl child, on an average, is the junior secondary education, before she transits to her husband’s house who often sees her as a flesh of wretch; a half baked, half-being, with no practical skills.
I had tête-a-tete with most of them, which today, has turned into a catalyst for them. I’ve also motivated and inspired a few female senior students, who serve as role models to the junior ones. Most of them now raise and inspire themselves, by focusing on higher goals and dreams.
It is pertinent to also note the gait, confidence and elegance I learnt from the beautiful coordinators of EAG, who unconsciously taught me how to be a lady.
Furthermore, I am currently working on a project. A passion. It is a foundation which creates awareness and provides support to those living with muscular dystrophy in Nigeria.
Without the EAG experience, I might still be roaming in darkness, without form, without voice.
Adenike Aina Oyindamola Adeniyi [EAG Scholar #49]