Empowering Girls And Women Through Skills

Empowering women economically, particularly female orphans and those that have experienced anguish, is sure a crucial aspect of any significant push to make them full and equal participants in their communities.

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So strengthening the economic role of women is also imperative to reducing poverty and education outcomes, as well as achieving other broad development goals.

Thus, a non-government organisation, Star of Hope Transformation Centre, decided to take up this feat to train these groups of women in the area of hat and bag making, newspaper craft, tie and dye, re-washable sanitary pads, foot mats, cooking bags, among others.

The Director of the NGO, Mrs. Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale told THISDAY what led to the establishment of the organisation, saying, “my father died when I was just three years old and my mother was everything to all her children and she ensured that she trained us. It was very hard, we were five; three girls and two boys. I am the last of five. During that period, my mother was getting older and there was little or nothing she could do anymore, so she took to farming. I always follow her to the farm on Fridays and come back on Monday, so I knew how hard it was for me.

“So when I looked at my story, it was sad and agonising and thinking of orphans, I know it will be worse for them. So I decided to work with female orphans and women who are abused, or have stories to share as a result of the unique experiences they have gone through,” she explained.

She said her organisation started working in Ibasa riverine community in Lagos, four years ago where she lived among the people for a period of 18 months training them until they were empowered enough to become trainers in other communities.

Asked how it has been empowering these group of women and girls in the last four years, she said, “It has not been easy and I was not expecting it to be easy, but it is better because I have women who trusted and still trust me till now. I don’t have any support from anybody except a TV Talkshow host Ms. Funmi Iyanda.

“I don’t have any mentor who is in Nigeria, but I met women online who helped me to shape my dream and sent me abroad to undergo different kinds of training on women strides, gender, transformation, social entrepreneurship and leadership and it was on scholarship. To the glory of God since I started I have sent 40 Nigerian women to access these opportunities too.”

Emphasising on her unique skills, Adebowale, who noted that she studied English Language at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said, “I do not learn art in anyway, but I sat down and I was thinking of how to use the smallest pieces and that was how I came up with the art with my youngest daughter who inspired me with an assignment she was given at school on creating a map with the face of Africa.

“If I am someone who has enough support, what we are doing is something the government should be proud of. If I go to other countries, they are always very proud of me today and you will see some people who will really appreciate your work. I started with the face of Africa and when I finished with it, it was awesome. I made three and that was the beginning and afterwards, I started creating so many beautiful things, it’s awesome.

Source: allafrica.com

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