This week I want to introduce you to four women who are serving Nigeria with passion and purpose.
You may have never heard their names before. Â But I felt you should know them. Â Each is a change agent, a visionary of her generation.
None of them seek the spotlight or recognition. Â In fact, I had to nudge them forward to be featured in my column. Â Each one simply wants to help her fellow Nigerians and does so in a way that uses her unique set of talents and interests.
As you read, ask yourself, â€œWhat is my unique role to play in bringing positive change to my community and country?â€ As you read about these inspiring women, I pray that YOU are inspired to do YOUR part in making Nigeria a Great Nation.
I encourage you to reach out and show these women your support. Â Lend your help where you can â€“ whether it is a financial contribution, joining them as a volunteer or simply texting words of encouragement. Â We need each otherâ€™s support in our quest to improve Nigeria.
Using Innovative Literacy to Change Lives
Meet Mina Margaret Ogbanga (Port Harcourt). Â Â Mimi is one of the founders and the Africa Regional Director of Center of Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI), a 501 (c ) registered charity geared towards promoting good governance and sustainable development in rural communities.
Mimiâ€™s passion is innovative literacy. Â In the past 10 years CEDSI has carried out development initiatives in over 500 communities. Â One of the unique efforts of CEDSI is the Library Ports Literacy Group. Â Each resource center is a one-stop center where young people can learn life-long skills. Â The centers have a music academy, library and bookshop.
Young people are encouraged to develop skills in reading, writing and spelling as well as debates on civic issues. Â The centers also have character building clubs that seek to enhance the character of young people. Â Through the clubs they are trained on strategic categories and in sectors covering responsibility, patriotism, truth generation leaders are developed. Â The stories told in the clubs have been compiled into an over 100 page magazine called Reading Bridges.
These resource centers are gradually being furnished, providing citizens with access to employment skills with the goal of reducing poverty levels across communities. Â The resource centers currently built have the ability to reach millions of rural people and contribute to the overall goal of sustainable development.
Mimiâ€™s vision for change is: Â â€œ. . . a world where people and communities have access to education and basic amenities so they play active roles in their own development. Â In turn it would lead to a more peaceful and less aggressive society where people have the wherewithal to support their fellow man.
When asked why she keeps working when the problems seem so big in Nigeria, Mimi responded, â€œI certainly believe that little drops of water sure find their way to making a mighty ocean. Â The world wonâ€™t be better off if we all keep quiet and take no action or play no role in seeing an end to the challenges in literacy and other sectors.â€
Mimiâ€™s organization could use very specific help, â€œWe welcome support from donors and corporate organization as part of their CSR, to support community libraries which weâ€™ve already mapped out. Â We have an ICT laboratory that needs furnishing and computers. Â We need a publisher who can join us to publish the manual for the librarians. Â We need partners who support our â€œTelling Our Storiesâ€ documentaries across the benefitting communities and create a voice for these targets to express themselves. Â We need equipment supplies for the music academy. Â We also desire to learn from people who are already running centers like this so we can apply what they know to enhance the work we are doing. â€œ
To learn more about CEDSI and the Library Ports and to offer your support, contact Mimi at Â 8033402265 or email her at email@example.com. Â Visit: Â http://www.libraryport.com/about_us.html .
Creating Awareness on Sexual Abuse
Meet Pastor Mrs. Ugo Fidel Onwuraokoye (Lagos). Â Pastor Ugo runs an NGO called Total Woman International. Â The organizationâ€™s aim is to create awareness on sexual abuse especially on the girl-child. She organizes seminars in secondary, university and tertiary institutions to create awareness on sexual abuse and teach girls how to avoid it.
Pastor Ugo has been doing this work since 2006 and has been to over 30 schools so far. Â In an attempt to reach a larger number of students at a time and to make a greater impact, Total Women International has scheduled a seminar at the National Stadium Lagos for the end of May to bring 5 to 6 schools together to be trained at one time.
Pastor Ugo feels a sense of urgency in getting this work done, â€œEach minute that passes by without me telling a girl about the grave dug on the way for young girls through sexual abuse and rape is tormenting to me because our society has degenerated to the level of total wickedness and godlessness.â€
Total Woman International desires to spread their message of awareness to girls across the country. Â To do this they are seeking partners who can support the work financially and volunteers who will give their time. Â They need practical things like a projector, a digital video camera and a bus to further their work and enhance the success of their seminars.
To learn more about Total Woman International and support their work, contact Pastor Mrs. Ugo Fidel Onwuraokoye on 08025396623, 01-4180441 or email her at Projectrescuegroup@yahoo.com .
Encouraging Self-Development among Youth
Meet Mariam Campbell (Lagos). Â Mariam is owner InterCamp Consulting and member of Town Hall Meetings Project (THMP).
Miriam focuses on using her skills in business development, counseling and writing to improve the lives of people she comes in contact with by encouraging self-development. Â Her desire is to see people maximize their potential for themselves, their families and their nations. Â Â She focuses on building confidence through actualization of personal goals. She speaks at seminars, offers one-on-one training, consults for organizations and coaches. Â Her motto is, â€œUse what you have to build a better you personally and in business.â€
Miriam is also a member of the Town Hall Meeting Project (THMP) a group that aims to bring about a change in Nigeria by giving the average citizen a say in what happens in their locality. Â She is also a member of the Mastermind Council a group that is focused at bringing change into the lives of youths in the Niger delta region of Nigeria.
Mariam believes, â€œNigerians need to know that their destiny is in their hands and that without them channeling their skills and energy into making their personal lives better for themselves, no one else will lift a hand to help. Â The era of government doing the bulk of the work is over. Â Nigerians can also work towards a better nation by developing themselves individually.â€
To have Mariam speak to your group and to learn more about volunteering with Town Hall Meetings Project, contact Mariam at 07036883989 or 07025422520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocating for Justice & Equality
Meet lawyer Abby Ojo, who spends time working for positive change in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Â Abby is an advocate for justice and equality. Â To this end she is Founder and President of Unity and Positive Change In a New Nigeria (UPCINN).
UPCINN is dedicated to portraying Nigeria in a new light, promoting Nigerian culture and highlighting tourist attractions and showcasing new and ongoing developments in the different states in the country. Â UPCINN believes that every citizen of a nation must contribute to the positive change of the country and be passionate about the good of the country, not just leave all the work to their government.
In January, Abby and the other members of UPCINN worked with other well meaning organizations to organize a peaceful worldwide demonstration demanding that the nation had a right know the where about of its President in the event that he was incapacitated and could not carry out his leadership role, that the Vice-President be empowered according to the provision of the Nigerian constitution to act in his stead. Â In April UPCINN organized another world wide demonstration and campaign among Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to recognize the constitutional (human) rights of the disabled and autistic people in Nigeria.
Abby believes in Nigeria, â€œI believe we Nigerians can do it because I am passionate about my people and country. Â We are at a point now where Nigerians are tired of being second class citizens in their own country. Â Nigerians today are better educated, better exposed and more resolved than ever to bring about changes in our dear nation. Â You have seen this in the huge turnouts that we get every time we campaign. Â Nigerians both at home and abroad are tired of the status quo and we are united in our voices in demanding more from our leaders through our democratic and constitutional rights as citizens.â€
To learn more about UPCINN 080223505905 (Motunrayo Olarinde Lagos state UPCINN cordinator) 08051997150 (Matthew Akintola Oyo state UPCINN cordinator) (Okey Martins UPCINN charity cordinator) 08039112839 and email for informations at email@example.com, charities@upcinn. Â Visit the website at: Â http://www.upcinn.com .
Your assignment this week is to determine how you can begin using your talents, resources and time to do something positive for your community and nation. Â Find one small way to get started this week!
Food For Thought
â€œThe purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.â€ Richard Leider
Patricia G. Omoqui 2010, All Rights Reserved
Patricia Omoqui, The Thought Dr. â„¢, is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, life coach and writer. Â Patriciaâ€™s mission in life is to inspire people to move beyond fear so they can reach their full potential.
To share your thoughts about this article, please email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at her website: Â www.patriciaomoqui.com .