Tag Archive | Because I am a Girl

Postcards From Africa #18: Celebrating Ola Orekunrin, 29-year-old trauma Doctor and Helicopter Pilot, and Founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria.

This post was culled from the Facebook page of “A Might Girl (https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl)
A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls. Visit us at http://www.amightygirl.com, Pinterest (amightygirl), & Twitter (@amightygirl)

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Ola-Orekunrin TED FellowWhen Ola Orekunrin was a 22-year-old medical student in the UK, her 12-year-old sister became critically ill while visiting relatives in Nigeria.

With no medical facility nearby that could treat her condition, the family attempted to arrange an air evacuation. Orekunrin was shocked to discover that not only was no air ambulance available in Nigeria, there was not one available in the whole of West Africa:

“The nearest one at the time was in South Africa. They had a 12-hour activation time so by the time they were ready to activate, my sister was dead.” It was then, she explains, “I started thinking about whether I should be in England talking about healthcare in Africa, or I should be in Africa dealing with healthcare and trying to do something about it.”

Flying Doctors of NigeriaMotivated by her sister’s death and the desire to help others with minimal access to trauma care, Orekunrin left a promising medical career in the UK to found West Africa’s first air ambulance service, Flying Doctors Nigeria.

Now a 29-year-old trauma doctor and helicopter pilot, Orekunrin’s fleet of airplanes and helicopters have airlifted hundreds of people from remote areas to hospitals.

“From patients with road traffic trauma, to bomb blast injuries to gunshot wounds, we save lives by moving these patients and providing a high level of care en route,” Orekunrin says.

“I wanted to find a way that I can facilitate people who were critically ill,” she says. “Get them to see a doctor, and not just any doctor — I wanted to facilitate getting the right patient to the right facility, within the right time frame for that particular illness.”

In addition to the distance to health care facilities, there are many other challenges in the region that make air transport critical: “Many of our roads are poorly maintained, so emergency transport by road during the day is difficult. At night, we have armed robbers on our major highways; coupled with poor lighting and poor state of the roads themselves, emergency transport by road is deadly for both patients and staff.”

With 20 aircraft and 44 doctors on staff, Orekunrin is proud of her accomplishments, but sees much more room to improve the state of medical care in Nigeria: “Eighty percent of the world trauma occurs in low-middle income countries just like Nigeria. I feel there should be more focus on the trauma epidemic that Africa currently faces… I want to achieve a proper use of the healthcare sector in Nigeria.”

For her impressive accomplishments and determination to fill a critical social need, Dr. Orekunrin was named one of the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Young Global Leaders, the organization’s prestigious group of the world’s top leaders under the age of 40.

To learn more, check out this story in The Guardian at http://bit.ly/1qxkijZ or listen to her TED talk on women in business at http://bit.ly/1LMuflj. You can also check out the Flying Doctors Nigeria website at http://flyingdoctorsnigeria.com/

If your Mighty Girl dreams of flying one day or you’re looking for more stories about women pilots, check out our recent blog post, “Mighty Careers: I Want To Be A Pilot!” for girl-empowering books, toys, and clothing at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=6249

To introduce children and youth to another famous pilot who changed the world, visit our “Amelia Earhart Collection” at http://www.amightygirl.com/…/historical-char…/amelia-earhart

For more stories about inspiring women doctors and scientists for children and teens, visit http://www.amightygirl.com/boo…/history-biography/biography…

And, for pretend play toys for the budding doctors in your life, visit our “Pretend Play Occupations” section and choose your occupation of interest on the left menu at http://www.amightygirl.com/t…/imaginative-play/pretend-play…

 

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Postcards From Africa is a WWN Feature about creating a new, positive, empowering narrative of Africa by Africans. This is a movement about igniting an empowered citizenry to make a difference by bridging the integrity gap. It is about changing the status quo, from waiting passively for ‘leaders’, to our embracing a new paradigm that WE are the leaders we seek.

WWN seeks to advance ideas, causes, projects that transform our communities for the better, by first inspiring us to ‘see’ ourselves in a brand new light. We are committed to empowering and/or celebrating a new generation of Transformational, Ethical and Creative African leaders (T.E.C), who are actively engaged in nation-building, one idea, one person, one project and one community at a time!

Do you know anyone, idea or cause that should be featured? We’d love to hear from you: info@wholewomannetwork.com

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WWN™ Reflections: Remembering the Girls who are left behind….

 

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And as we advocate and pray for the girls that were taken away, let us stand up and give a hand-up to the girls who are still here with us, the ones who are left behind. Often, It is so easy to get caught up in agitating for something wrong to be fixed right, that we forget the small acts of love, volunteerism, service and attention that we can pay forward to the current situation at hand.

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Postcards From Africa #6: WAAW Foundation – Changing the Narrative and empowering African Girls through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education.

WAAW Foundation

This is an excellent season for giving back and WWN’s spotlight is on: Dr Unoma Ndili Okorafor and her amazing team at WAAW Foundation (Working to Advance African Women).

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#POETRY4ChangeAfrica. Floetry by JulietKego: A Poem For Every Girl-Child: “Today, I will Not Bow!” (VERSION II)

Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido -today i will-not-bow-for-web

 

 

 

Floetry by JulietKego: “Today, I Will Not Bow.” (Version II)

 

Today, I shall be born and my mother will not weep

when she beholds the folds between my thighs

and my father will not stare at her with accusing eyes.

Yes, today, my father will not hunch over,

and hiss out loud, brokenly; ‘It is a girl!’

To the soft hum of my mother’s searing, silent cries

And his half-brother’s pitying glances and mocking sighs.

Today, he will proclaim to his kinsmen,

hitting his hard warrior chest with pride

that a first-born child is gifted to him,

a child who’ll inherit his history, cattle and farmlands.

A girl-child who will be free to love and to learn,

the secrets of kings

and the traditions of his land, of red earth

Today, I am Queen, cherished and respected

I will not be bartered off to any willing aging groom.

I refuse be beaten or battered, stoned with cold rocks and killed,

in honour, by the callused hands of beloved brothers and uncles

On whose knees I once bounced with joy

in whose warm arms I was lovingly rocked

Today, I refuse to be sentenced to a life-prison, that cold-room

of resentment, bitterness, gloom and doom.

Today I will not bow,

to the voices telling me hush and stand still

and watch passively as my dreams disintegrate and die before me.

refuse to live a sham version of life, feeling fractured and broken.

Today, I will honour and nurture the seeds

of my day dreams and night dreams

Today, I choose to bloom.

 

Today, I will not bow!

To the sounds of the bullets piercing my body,

because my spirit is still strong and unshaken.

 

Today, I will not bow!

Not even when I am attacked and maligned

by lost souls, shackled by their own fears,

who turn my eyes away from the pages of life

afraid that I may discover new worlds and adventures

-of Achebe, Adichie, Tennyson, Tagore

-Marie Curie, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

In citadels of learning, within the sacred halls and walls of life.

 

Today, I will not bow

To the drums of the shrivelled village medicine woman

as she leads the crazed dance, and at its feverish peak

they restrain me down and crudely hack off

the tingling bud of my maidenhead!

They cannot stomach the sensual powers of this woman-child.

How they fear the fires of desires hidden in my shapely hips.

And the heavenly bliss waiting in the un-suckled milk

of my beautiful, budding, bouncing breasts.

They seek to silence my tongue so that I shall not question

the ineptitude of the men who ride with no skill.

They seek to strip me of the source of my multiple deaths of life,

sentenced to an endless, aching waiting,

-that never comes.

 

Today, I will not bow

To the diseased, sick, dirty old village chiefs

My bridegroom? Stealers of my childhood

Who take me, a mere 13-year old, for wife, -slave

A child bearing another child.

Today, I will not bow

Not in guilt and definitely not in shame

to the cowards (they, who call themselves soldiers of faith and religion),

who greedily plucked and sucked away all the fruits and juices

from my plush innocent gardens, even when I screamed ‘NO!’

leaving me there, by the dusty, dirty roadside

dead and dry.

 

There are many days yet ahead for bowing,

many days gone past for crying

but not today, no, not today!

Today, I refuse to bow

This is the day that I will not bow

Today, I rise for every woman-child;

Ancestors gone before me and the unborn, after me.

I stand here,

and hold sacred space in the gap.

And together, with my sisters’  spirit to guide me

I declare that we are all worthy- man, woman and child!

Yes indeed, tomorrow is yet unknown,

and yesterday not yet forgotten

But today? Today, is NOT the day I bow!

 

Today, I cease to hide under the sweeping skirts

of my mother’s fears,

Ma-jestic, a free-spirited stallion

chained in life’s choking barn,

a fierce tigress, caged in, breathless

I choose now to awaken, run my race, breathe

and live my dreams instead

Today, I shall stand tall on this stage of life

And be me, authentically me, W.O.M.A.N:

Wise-strong-weak, Opinionated-extraordinary-ordinary,

Ma-jestic, Accepting, embracing the Newness of all I co-create

And when I’m done, I’ll gracefully take my bow.

 

Yesterday, I was nameless, faceless, dreamless, voiceless

And today? I am re-born anew by a-ma-zing grace

I am Amina of Nigeria,

I am Malala of Pakistan

I am Rawan of Yemen

I am Damini of India

I am a little girl lost in Chibok…

And today I shall not bow

Today I invite you all

And together, we ARISE!

© Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido (All rights reserved).

Source: www.julietkego.com

Click Here to listen to the Audio Version of the first draft of the Poem: “Today, I Will Not Bow”

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For Whom and What Cause are you rising?

#GirlChildEducation
#StopFemaleGenitalMutilation
#StopSexTrafficking
#EradicateModernDaySlavery
#EndChildMarriage #ChildNotBride
#YouthEmpowerment
#AgainstDomesticViolenceAndAbuse
#AccesstoQualityHealthcare
#WomeninScienceTechEngineeringMaths
#FinancialLiteracyAndEmpowerment
#StopRapeAndAssault
#EmpowerWidowsAndOrphans
#BecauseIamAGirl
#Educate1000Girls
#GenderEqualityAndJustice
#WomeninLeadershipMgtGovernance

Click Here to listen to the Audio Version of the Poem: “Today, I Will Not Bow!”

Author’s Note:

This is a tribute poem and a prayer for all the women and girls around the world who struggle against injustice of any form.

It is for those who are forced into early/child marriage, sold into modern slavery/servitude, experienced various degrees of abuse-sexually, verbally, physically, emotionally or financially.

Also, for those denied rights to education and freedom, victims of war crimes and acts of violence, forced to endure degrading and inhuman practices (especially as widows), and young girls subjected to horrific and scarring acts such as female genital mutilation….

And in particular, this is a prayer for the 200+ young girls kidnapped by terrorist group, Boko Haram in Chibok, Northern Nigeria. They are in our thoughts and prayers. Today, we stand together  with them, united, we rise!

For Whom and What are you rising? #GirlChildEducation #FemaleGenitalMutilation #SexTrafficking #ModernDaySlavery #ChidMarriage #DomesticViolenceAndAbuse #AccesstoQualityHealthcare #FinancialLiteracyAndEmpowerment #RapeAndAssault #WidowsAndOrphans #BecauseIamAGirl