Am the first born in a family of eight.We are six Ladies and two gentlemen.Both my parents were teachers when I was born and growing up .My mother is still a teacher to date but my father retired.As a first born and a girl life was not a bed of roses.I was charged with responsibility of taking care of my siblings.A times i would miss school to take care of them when the house help left.This will take close to two weeks or until my Mum would get another house help.
This experience as a young girl gave me a very bad perception about motherhood and I hated being a girl,boys never missed school to take care of kids because according to African culture that was a taboo.I admired being a boy because their education was never interrupted and I used to love books.Unfortunately this is still happening to date and those that have grown to be mothers encourage the same because that is how they were treated and this is number one reason why Women should be empowered and give their girl child a better life than they got.
Time passes and at some point I finished school,after having had to repeat a class because had missed almost half of the term.Real Drama started when I was to join high school.There was literally no money.I couldn’t understand how two teachers could not afford school fees for their first born child and to make it worse my Mum used to give birth every year so I was wondering how my parents will raise all of us,I later come to understand that she was doing that because of the pressure from the society to give birth to a boy,this made her give birth to Five girls before she finally delivered a boy.
My Dad confirmed that he had gotten some money to take me to high school.We went, I got admitted only to be chased home after two weeks,reason…My father promised to come and clear school fees which he never did.I become a little bit uneasy and started questioning Mum about the whole scenario.She never said anything but I chose not to stop there.One day when I was chased from school as usual I waited for every one to go to bed and I tip toed back to the sitting room hoping I would hear some conversation concerning me.
I heard Mum tell Dad”If I had my own account I would take Betty to school”then she went to sleep.That statement disturbed me so much,I could not relate how Mum was working and she did not have a bank account.I later come to understand that Dad and demanded that they open a joint account and every time they will go to withdraw Money,Dad will take all of it in the name of paying my school fees.
Problems started when my Mum once visited and found out that my school fees was in arrears.She went home furious and when she tried inquiring she was bitten thoroughly.After that,violence become the order of the day especially when Mum mentioned anything to do with Money.My Dad will even go and take loans and force my Mum to sign,if she refused will be bitten properly.I will never forget one day my Mum poured Kerosene on herself and was rushing to take a match box and burn herself,Dad managed to reach the match box before she did.
This made me hate men with passion,it was happening to my aunties,to our neighbors and surprisingly its still happening to date in some communities in Africa.My mum was not allowed to join any Women group,Dad termed those groups as a bad influence.She was not allowed to take any vocational courses or add anything to her skills lest she become “better than him”
Thanks to God ,some of my relatives intervened,one of the things that happened after the intervention, My mum was able to open an account and operate it herself.80% of the school fees for my siblings and I ,my Mum has struggled alone for years.I kept on asking myself,” with all the handwork and the zeal to look after her children when my Dad was drinking all his money if she was more empowered wouldn’t she change the world”…………..??????????
That is the question that have been asking myself for years until I met Sabina Hassan Founder of (Vnow) in one of the change maker online courses with passion to empower women and I realized my question was almost getting answered ,interestingly even where am currently working have encountered women who take loans and they give all the money to their husband who drink all of it or just use it the way they want,eventually the women are unable to service their loans.
Women have been victims of Violence,they have been sidelined and looked down upon.Personally have climbed the cooperate ladder holding several leadership roles and one of the things have noted Men reluctantly do what you say,not that you are not skilled but just because you are woman.
I want to be a Voice in the community because I am a living example of Women inequality in the society.Recently my Dad forged My mum signature and sold some property without her knowledge.We stood up with my sisters and said we want that property returned to Mum.Am not saying all men are bad but quite a number of them do not value women.
All this has motivated me to empower Women in Africa who go though similarly the same issues,Women who have lands and farming skills yet they lack the right technology ,Women who are intelligent but they lack the skills to develop themselves further.Women who can access finances but lack financial literacy and they end up diverting the money.Women who can take care of other fellow women but have no idea who they can collaborate to implement their ideas.I want to empower this woman.Women who have no idea on how to use a computer yet we are living in technological era
My many thanks goes to Sabiha Hassan who has deliberately, passionately chosen to empower African Women when herself she is not even an Africa, that shows how big her heart is for women and a big appreciation to her also for giving me a chance to become her co-founder.
That is my Story as a Woman in Summary.