One day I was browsing through twitter and I saw an advertisement targeted at girls between the ages of 18-24 years, who were interested in a 4-day Journalism & Leadership training to be held in LAGOS.
According to the organizers, there would be free transportation (from anywhere in Nigeria, to and fro) free accommodation and feeding. And I thought, Ah ah, just like that? In Lagos?
I was skeptical about applying, but I still went ahead and did so. I was selected a week after. Excited, I packed my bags and left for Lagos like I knew where I was headed. The training was scheduled to hold at Virgin Rose Resort, Victoria Island. That was about all I knew.
Poetry, violence and women.
I often define “a poet” as one whose personal emotions, perceptions of happenings around them and conjectures of ideas and myriad emotions, are artistically woven into words, which are then graciously offered to the world. The world is at liberty to interpret it, how it deems fit.
24-30 January 2016
Educate a Girl (EAG), Nigeria, is about giving girls in need the ability to transform their lives, enter the workforce & have a voice in the media. $100 covers the entire vocational education in media studies for one girl in Nigeria, as well as further personal and professional grooming.
We strive to be transparent: we employ a world-class audit firm, document each girl’s education and connect her to her donor. Join us in not only educating 1 girl, but 500 in Nigeria!
#YearEndReflections Two more trainings to facilitate and it’ll be a wrap for the year!
We waste so much resources on frivolities and yet just a little tweak in our mindset can totally shift the trajectory of someone’s life (and ours too). I’ve seen generational chains, patterns of poverty and under-development broken by simply equipping youths with the right skill set to make a difference.
Members of our team at WWN™ have seen young girls and boys find their voices and their places, in an often chaotic world that is always trying to box them in. And with proper mentorship, they break out of those set frames to create an amazing splash and value in their worlds. Sometimes, we tend to think the problem is a lack of money and yet that’s the least of it. One of the greatest gifts we can offer young people is mentorship.
We’ve seen people in under-served areas take loans and actually pay back after they set up successful businesses or train themselves by acquiring some marketable skills. I’ve had strangers give scholarships just after random conversations. Look around you and make a difference.
There were periods when requests for sponsorships and grants would come in and some angel investors sold some of their pieces of my jewelry and then, seen how the proceeds created a golden future for youths, especially girls – survivors of rape and sexual assault. To see them soar after a long time of poor self-image when they thought they were of no value to the world.
And I realize, their success is all the adornments I need. ( I still love my gems o, so on my next birthday, I do not want to be given any kpangolo):-) Don’t just ‘dash’ youths money without being present or without awareness. Be awakened in consciousness, well-intentioned and most of all ,provide some mentorship when you give. What is money but a mere symbolic means of exchange? It is a form of energy, it is neutral and what you infuse into it is what matters. YOU (and the services you provide), create the real value Exchange.
Give with dignity. Give with empathy. Be very firm and clear on your boundaries. Don’t make it about the photo ops. Make it meaningful and sustainable. I’ve seen a young girl ask for grants to start a business, and when we went through her value contract/hierarchy, we discovered she was spending more than $1000 monthly on hair, bags, clothes, skin care, jewelry…doing shady things she wasn’t proud off.
And yet after some months of mentorship and coaching, and with as little as $3000, she’s running a thriving business, creating magic with her hands and intellect (and has even given back and volunteered her skills to support other girls).
Sometimes, in the absence of guidance (or due to social conditioning and environment), people lose their way or simply develop a skewed sense of priorities. Just as we do too. Let’s learn to be more open and to be there for another; as light houses on our unique journeys. Our insatiable and blind lust for materialism, without any sense of responsibility is creating a society of our nightmare and not of our dreams.
We now live in a world where people budget tens of millions for weddings, burials and 10 years post-death anniversaries of great-grand-parents and yet our children in public schools still sit on the floor, on mats, to (un)learn! The government and leaders are YOU and I.
Since we created the WWN Lifestyle Loan Program – LLP, unfortunately, the only people who’ve ever defaulted on these loans are a few of the so-called ‘elitist’ women. Very well-educated, comfortable and yet, sometimes living a fake lifestyle. And in some cases we realized they used the funds loaned to them for training or business start-up to buy fake designer gear, aso-ebi and clothes for Facebook photo-ops.
And promised, we kept faith with them and we held them accountable. We have created a space for zero tolerance for different types of integrity gaps for members. Self-responsibility and self-accountability are critical prisms of Transformational Leadership.
In these cases, where needed we used legal means and brought them to book. Just because we know how big a difference the monies they refuse to pay can make in another woman’s life. And for most of them, we put them through a financial literacy boot camp to re-align out the off-centred priorities, teach them how to enforce their boundaries and say NO to societal trends, and rather how to co-create their own flow, live within their means, narrow their integrity gaps.
As we wrap up the year, all I can say, on behalf of the WWN team, is “thank you.”
To all our clients, friends, volunteers, mentors, donors, angel investors, mentees…etc., who kept faith and trusted us, we appreciate every single one of you. For some of you it was a bumpy road, but the ride will eventually end well, we give you our word. We are determined to finish up the year with every check mark done right. There are better things and opportunities ahead. It’s one person, one idea, one project at a time.
In the past few months, our team at WWN connected with a couple of spectacular youths across the continent, through face to face meetings, conference calls, video-tele-seminars, whatsapp chat groups….and their FEARLESSNESS, brilliance and ideas simply blow my mind.
They understand the power and magic of UBUNTU! They humbled me. Gave me hope. The upcoming year WILL be wonderful. I know this deep down, because we shall all collaborate to make it so. Beyond the craziness of our so-called ‘leaders’, there’s a new vibrant crop of African youth leaders emerging. Walking their talk. Hungry and in dire need of true role models.
#AGratefulHeart They’re few but they’re so bang on, so powerful, and it’s an incredible miracle to watch their ideas take root. In the next few years, you will see their flowers bloom. They challenge me everyday. They teach me everyday.
Most importantly, I am thankful for YOU, for inviting me into your space and teaching me about the power of BEING, surrendering, no walls, no attachments, just letting myself be who I’ve dreamed of being – a Pilgrim of Love (with all my madness and my flaws…, knowing that I am enough, I am worthy, I am complete and so are you. And I wish you all healing, joy, abundance AND everything wonderful and beautiful and glorious in the new year.
#LetsRaiseANewgenerationofTECAfricanLeaders: Transformational. Ethical. Creative. “We are not inheritors, we are custodians of the Earth.” Continue to dream wonderful dreams y’all and the courage to act, co-create your destiny with God! ❤ Cyber-hugs
Love, Light & Truth!
Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido
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.