LOUD WHISPERS: #MySistersKeeper2016

One day, when I was still working at the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) in Ghana which I Co-Founded as Executive Director, one of my staff members from the Grants department, Ndey Jobarteh, brought me a newspaper article to read. It was a report in the Daily Graphic, one of the national newspapers, about a woman who had been selling roasted plantains in the center of Accra, for the past forty years. According to the story, she was happy selling the roasted plantains, but would like to have a large umbrella to protect her from the scorching sun. Ndey thought the story would be of particular interest to me because everyone in the office knew that I had odd eating habits. I only had coffee for breakfast and I did not eat lunch. The only time I ate lunch, it had to be roasted plantains and groundnuts. After reading the report, I agreed with Ndey that we needed to find out more about the woman, who I will refer to as Ama. We knew that an umbrella was not likely to be her only need. Ndey teamed up with Abigail Burgesson, another colleague from the Grants department to follow up on Ama’s story. It turned out that Ama had a number of challenges. She had an adult daughter with disabilities who she was caring for. She owed her landlord three months rent. And she owed her cooperative money she had loaned from them to buy plantains for her business.

AWDF is a grantmaking foundation. We do not fund individuals, only organizations, and they have to be formally constituted with management structures and processes in place. Our grants range from $5,000-$50,000. My staff team who met with Ama calculated all that would be needed to address her challenges. The total came to $1,500. I decided to support her using our discretionary Solidarity Fund. When I gave my report to board members at our next meeting, to my pleasant surprise, everyone was very excited about the one-off grant in support of a woman in need. So we took care of Ama’s problems and her life was transformed ….

 

Full article in Loud Whispers cover final

 

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the founder of Above Whispers.com, an online platform for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com.

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3 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: #MySistersKeeper2016

  1. Tunde March 8, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Please, just keep being good and selfless and positively imparting on your generation as you have shown and proven with these stories ma…

    As the Holy Book says, we shall be duly rewarded of our labour of love if we do not give up… (Gal 6:9).

    SHALOM ma!

    Reply
  2. Fola Richie-Adewusi March 9, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I thank God for #MySistersKeeper2016. When I got the hashtag, I really didn’t know which sister or sisters to reach out to and in what way. On saturday morning I had called up my hairdresser Florence that I will be coming to retouch my Jerry Curls. I have known Florence since 2007 in Abuja. She is quite good in her forties. I went to the usual place, she was not there. I called her and she said she had moved and operating from her house. so I went there. While she was busy doing my hair, It just crossed my mind that I should be my sister’s keeper and ask some personal questions. I noticed she was unkempt, though she tied scarf on her head but one could see that the hair was not made, the hem of the skirt she wore had loosened on one side. So I asked about her family, husband and children. That was when I found out that she is not married and no children. Loneliness was written all over her. Well I tried to let her know that God is there for all of us and the fact that there is no husband is not a reason not to look after herself. She promised to do her hair and I left but since then I have been calling her to follow up and she is quite happy that I took interest in her. I am pleased with myself also. This 2016 IWD indeed made a personal difference.

    Reply
  3. Ometere March 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    And sometimes, even with the gorgeous outfit, sleek makeup, some of our sisters are dying inside. I’m other words, we can also stretch a little more care to that woman that looks like nothing is wrong. Later, you could discover some things that would surprise you, learn to be a solution though and keep it private too.

    Also, if she really is very okay, make her better…

    Reply

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