Saturday, 28 July 2018

It’s Holiday Time; Let’s Speak Frankly About Sex

Gone are those days when parents/guardians/teachers, religious leaders and community heads shied away from speaking about sex with their children and wards. The spate of sexual violation and abuse today has taught us to engage a more radical approach in educating our wards if we must protect them from molestation, keep their innocence intact and secure their future. Experience of victims as reported by the media everyday tells us that we must be down to earth, open, frank and willing to help our youths.
Moreso this is a very long holiday period when youths are wander about in order to kill boredom. In the process many become vulnerable and fall prey to unscrupulous elements that use them for their selfish interest and escapades.
And so, we engaged our girls on frank sexuality talk, sharing vivid stories of our temptations, peer-pressure, failures while growing up and eventual strength to deal with sexual pressures and allurement. We also informed them about all the safety measures the Lagos State government as put in place to protect the girl-child from sexual violence and abuse, including the helplines to call when they are faced with harassment from violators at home, school or in the community.
And when it was question time, the girls had a lot to say to us.
Asked to write down their takeaways at the end of the day, below are some of the lessons learnt by our amazing girls:
   1.     I learnt that we should not follow bad boys.
2.     I learnt that we should know how to keep our body and as girls, we should know how to say NO.
3.     I leant that we should not allow the challenges we face now bring us down.
4.     I learnt that I have the right to protect myself and say NO to any sexual violence.
5.     I learnt that we should not give ourselves so easily to boys or men.
6.     I learnt that we should not go to boy’s house when we are asked to come.
7.     I learnt that it is not good to tell any man that you are virgin.
8.     I learnt that it is not good to rush into marriage.
9.     I learnt that we should not be intimidated and not be in a hurry to have sex.
10. I learnt that we should not be in a hurry to have sex and we should not rely on any one or be intimidated by anyone.
11.  I learnt that our body is our own and also that our challenges should not stop us from becoming what we want to become.
12. I learnt that we should trust no one, especially boys.
13. I learnt that my brokenness is not an excuse to fail because every challenge I face is for me to get stronger because God cannot give me challenges that I cannot surpass.
14.  I learnt that we should always be strong no matter the challenges.
15. I learnt that you should never tell anybody you are a virgin and always keep yourself safe.
16. I learnt that we should speak out and don’t cover up
17. I learnt that you should put your life in God’s hands so that he may take care of you
18. I learnt that I should not be discouraged but be focused.
  19.  I learnt that my body is mine and I should take control of it.
  20. I learnt that we have to be focused and not let our background makes us a failure.
21. I learnt that we should not run after men in whatever condition we are.
  22.  I learnt that your broken home does not determine your future ambition or what you become in life.
  23.  I learnt that there is no reason or excuse for failure as no one is born or created as a failure.
  24. I learnt that we should learn how to speak out no matter our challenges
25. I learnt that you should always share your problem with elders because a problem shared is a problem solved.
26. I learnt that as a young lady, we should act smart; we should always put God first in everything we are going through.


Monday, 18 June 2018

Vocational Training For Teenage Girls & Adolescent Mothers


Skill Aquizition Tour with Teenage Girls and Adolescent Mothers

One of our cardinal objectives is to help girls gain economic power so they can stand tall against all form of pressures and intimidations to trade their bodies for money.  This we sought to achieve through opportunities for vocational skills and training.

And so, we recently embarked on a one-day tour to different skill acquisition centers. In attendance were excited school girls, out of school teenagers and adolescent mothers.
It was such fun as we went around and learnt how to make hats/fascinators, how to manage plastic waste, how to bake cake and how to make soaps, insecticide, airfreshner and Vaseline.

Although we do not have the seed grants with which to empower our girls to start their businesses as at today, they are excited to learn and hopeful that they will soon scale this financial hurdle and stand on their feet as small-scale entrepreneurs. We are holding on. We must keep hope alive!!!







Saturday, 31 March 2018

IWD: Pressing For Progress with Ijegun Girls


Amid the intense wave of solidarity for women across the globe, Girls Arise Initiative joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 2018 International Women’s Day by engaging young girls with the positive and inspiring #SheCANLead Campaign of the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria.

The program, which held on Saturday 17th March 2018 at the annex of our community office in Lagos had in attendance a total of 85 schoolgirls drawn from 10 schools, who were accompanied by 8 teachers, 5 adolescent mothers, 2 pregnant teenagers, and 4 female professionals drawn from the medical, legal, banking and marketing field who shared their experiences on how they surmounted obstacles to achieve success in life and career.

The purpose of the summit was to inspire the girls to break the glass ceiling and crush every form of fear and inhibition standing on their way to achieving greatness in a male-dominated society, especially in the area of career.

The facilitators-Mrs. Abimbola Ogedengbe, Barrister Bisi Oladele, Miss Seun Ajibola and Mrs. Temitope Adetola took their turn to share their stories of struggle, defeat, determination and success. They also spoke on key factors to consider in choosing a career path, how to overcome peer pressure/distractions and how to build leadership skills. The exciting interactive session was spiced with lots of fun, real life examples, question and answers and practical discussion.

We also had a skill acquisition session where Mrs. Omotola Bisuga took the girls (especially teenage mothers) through practical steps on how make Perfume, Air-freshner and Disinfectant for home use and for small scale businesses.

And to save the day, one of the leading Food & Beverage Companies in Lagos, UAC Foods supported us with the donation of snacks and drinks, thus making the event very colourful and exciting.

As part of our efforts to heal hurts and restore hope, the program ended with our girls feeling celebrated and greatly empowered to live a purpose-driven life and with the resolve to excel in spite of all odds.
.
Yes, we are pressing for progress! We are investing in the Amazons of tomorrow! We are nurturing a new generation of responsible and successful leaders who would take the world by storm and secure the future of our nation.

#IWD 2018
#PressForProgress


Friday, 30 March 2018

We Are Ready to Soar In 2018!




While those in school were encouraged to write out their goals for Year 2018 and to diligently work towards fulfilling it, the teen mums were stirred to learn new skills besides soap making, given that we are in a dynamic world where people's preferences and demands change from time to time.

We also had a trainer-Omotola Jesusina on hand to train both groups on hall decorations for event as a means of generating little income in the community, with the promise of further assistance for those that do well here to go for short-term courses on Events Decoration as we get resources.

Although we had more school girls in attendance than the out-of-school girls/young mothers, we are optimistic that the year will bring lots of goodwill and opportunities for empowerment for all and they will be better positioned to actualize their dreams.




We are prepared to Soar! Yes we can and we will!


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Let's Talk About Values and Integrity

The Girls Arise meeting started with praise and worship.
Sis Tope revised the previous meeting topic “empowerment” with the girls.
She discussed “Value” with the girls.
Opeyemi defined value as a worth of something. Calister said value is an esteem that an individual or the societies cherish.
Aunty Tope defined value as principle or standard of behavior. It also means one’s judgment of what is important in life e.g. respect, charity, excellence, she said.
It means guidelines or principles that assist you to decide what s right and what is wrong and how to act in various situations.
She then asked, is it good to have values? All the girls replied “Yes”.
Aunty Tope mentioned Integrity as an importance of value. What is Integrity?, she asked the girls.
Semilore said it is an act of having a moral principle.
Calister said it is being bold.
Aunty Tope said integrity is the quality of being honest, hardworking and having strong moral principle. It is also doing a right thing in all circumstance even when nobody is watching.
She briefed the girls about a story narrated by the Vice President of Nigeria.
In an office, there were Chief Typist, Senior Typist and Junior Typist. The junior typist was very hardworking. One day, a man came asking the Vice President to recommend somebody as his personal secretary. The Vice President recommended the Junior Typist who is hardworking and she followed the man abroad.
Hardworking took her to where she hasn’t dreamt of going, she said.
Integrity supports –
1.      Hard work
2.      Diligence
3.      Honesty
4.      Humility
5.      Gratitude
6.      Self Restraint or Discipline
7.      Compassion
8.      Service
Aunty Tope asked some of the girls to contribute to the topic.
Mary said integrity is being hardworking
Opeyemi said value is the worth of something.
Semilore said integrity is being honest. We should always respect one another.
Christiana said compassion; we care and pray for the need of others.
Calister said integrity being straightforward. Our ‘yes’ must be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ must be ‘no’ so that people will associate with us.
All the girls chorused the definitions of values and importance of values.
Aunty Tope end the meeting with a bible verse, Ecclesiastes 12 vs 13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandment, for this is the duty of man.


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Celebrating the Int'l Day of the Girl Child

 The Girls Arise meeting came timely with the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child which theme was Empower Girls.
Sis Tope discussed verbosely with the girls about Girls Empowerment.
Sis Tope defined Empowerment as increasing in spiritual, political, social and economic strengthening of a girl child.
She talked about the importance of empowerment-

  1.   It improves decision making ability
  2.  It helps to increase access to information and readiness to learn
  3. Empowerment gives youth positive mindset.

After Sis Tope discussed Empowerment with the girls, a five-man panelist was selected among the girls to talk and educate others about Empower Girls.
Comfort Augustine said empowerment is assisting the girl child socially and economically.
Blessing Chijioke said it means to support girls so that they can achieve their desired goals.
Chiamaka Chukwuka said it means helping the girls to realize their goals and aspirations.
Mrs. Aramide Oikelome asked, why do we celebrate the female child? Girls are very dramatic, Favour Oduh answered.
Mrs. Aramide Oikelome said it is because we are in a boy world, so they believe girls don’t mean anything in the world because they end up in kitchen.
She narrated a story of a woman in Ibadan who was a pepper seller but now an Engineer and has PhD in Biomedical Engineering. She then asked the girls, where will you be in the next 5 years?
She also stressed that wishing for something is good; the following are things that may stop your wish to come true- (1) Money (2) Peer group pressure.
Mrs. Aramide Oikelome also narrated the story of a girl who was a virgin but was influenced by friends who have boyfriends. She joined them and later resulted in HIV/AIDS.
Mrs. Aramide Oikelome also asked the girls to mention things that can hinder girls’ empowerment. Some of what were we mentioned are-
1.      Peer pressure
2.      Negative thinking
3.      Lack of determination
4.      Absence of Diligence and Discipline
Some of the girl their contribution-
Opeyemi Olowogaba said we should aim high
Blessing Chijioke said our weakness should not hinder us because that is just the starting point.
Opeyemi Adeyemo said we should be determined because determination leads to destination.
Chiamaka Chukwuka said that there is a king in us that the world is waiting for us.
Later, Aunty Bimbo called from US to talk with the girls. She apologized to those that haven’t gotten a mentor.
Aunty Bimbo talked about “The Power of your Voice”
She said, your voice is very powerful which you use to speak to about situation, life and to friends. Your voice can be used to say “No” when things are not right.
She said there are many ways of expressing ourselves. It can be verbal and non-verbal- singing, writing, drawing etc.
One powerful way of using our voice is to express ourselves by writing, which can bring change to many people in the society.
Areas where your voiced can be used are - (1) To speak (2) In writing (3) singing, dancing and in drawing.
 Aunty Bimbo also asked to girls to contribute and ask questions.
 Chijioke Blessing asked, can you speak your mind through your voice?
Aunty Bimbo said you should find someone you can trust, maybe an adult and tell the person about your mind and your emotion.
Olowogaba Tobi asked a question that if your friend seeks an advice and you voluntarily helped her and gave your little advice, she took it in a wrong tone and said would kill me, what should I do?
Aunty Bimbo said if what you said was true, you should leave her for some time.
Opeyemi Adeyemo summarized the topic “Power of the Voice”.  She said we can use the voice verbally, non-verbally in your heart.  We can express ourselves in singing, dancing and so on.
Aunty Bimbo appreciated all the girls and promised to call them the following week for the mentorship programme. She advised the girls to respect her time and the teachers, thereby being committed is the only means of appreciation in exchange of her dedication to us.

Aunty Tope led the closing prayer.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

September: Time to Assess Bestspring Foundation’s Work with Ijegun Youths



Unlike previous meetings where the boys and girls met in separate groups, this month’s meeting was combined.
Expectedly, Girls Arise Initiative team took the lead, being the most vibrant and engaging group. We had lots of things to talk about, ranging from how the summer holiday has been to what preparations needs be made as school resumes in few days.
The convener, Aunty Aramide stressed the need for youths to be responsible, dutiful and appreciative of the efforts of the organization to serve them selflessly. Thereafter, she called for sincere assessment of all the activities and engagements of Bestspring Foundation since it began operations in Ijegun in October 2013 and more importantly in the last one year when both Girls Arise Initiative and Boys & Champions groups were inaugurated. She noted that the assessment is not to demand praises but to let the foundation know what the pressing needs of the youths are and how best to serve them.
It would be recalled that the activities of the foundation bothers on providing educational, nutritional, psycho-social and health support to members in Ijegun and its neighbouring communities.
Comments from respondents are as follows-
1.      Celine Fredrick– I am a first timer. I appreciate what is happening here but I observe that some people are immature. I advise there should be stronger bond and more maturity amongst members.
2.      Calister Uche – I appreciate all that is happening here. The organization has given me numerous opportunities to go places where I have been inspired and impacted positively. I wish for continuity.
3.      Abiodun Remilekun – Bestspring has taught me many things. I have gained wisdom on how to live a purposeful life so that I will not be abused or molested by men.
4.      Angelina Uche – I am a first timer but from all that my sister used to say, I like what the foundation is doing. I will appreciate if they can bring more mentors and inspirational speakers to come and talk to our youths in Ijegun.
5.      Opeyemi Adeyemo – Bestspring has provided me a great mentorship opportunity. I feel loved and protected. They have also provided health support.
6.      Chijioke Blessing– This group has impacted my life in many wonderful ways. I am a better informed and upward looking girl now. But I will like Mummy Aramide to be calling us to know about our welfare because sometimes, I may have things I want to share with her but because I don’t have credit I can’t call her. You know, its not everything I can tell my mummy at home. So, I will like her to be calling us in case I want to pour out my mind to her.  
7.      Ola Christiana- I want to thank this group for introducing me to Naija girls’ programme presently going on at Ikotun Local Government . I recommend it to every girl because there we learn about Life, Love and Life-Skills. It’s a very enriching programme for every girl so every lady in this club should be part of it.
8.      Ayomide Shobayo – Were it not for Bestspring Foundation, I would not have gone to secondary school. So I want to thank them for providing me scholarship to get secondary education. I also want to suggest that they should help us in getting job. There are many jobless youths in my area there are just wasting away. They need help. We need help to save the youths.
While promising to work on all the suggestions made, the convener urged the boys and girls to be computer literate so they can take advantage of the employment opportunities that come from the current Lagos State Government. She promised to do all within her power to help the youths get a better and productive life.
The youths left the meeting very excited and hopeful for a better tomorrow. Many also received the admission card to join the Naija Girls programme at once.




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