A Sisterhood Without Borders
Urmila: When Olutosin called me and told me she had taken a train to Bangalore and would reach my city in a few hours’ time, it all began to feel real. I was waiting for her, lost in my thoughts as flashes of what Olutosin and I had shared all these years came to me. My eyes filled with tears remembering how she had been a source of motivation and affection for as long as I had known her. And I had not even met the woman!
A small voice behind me broke my trance. “My sister! Is that you?” were her first words spoken to me in person.
Olutosin: Just imagine, we have been online friends for three years. She has become well-known to me like the back of my palm. I sighted her immediately, waiting by the roadside. “This is my sister,” I informed my roommate who accompanied me. Surprised, she asked me, “How did you know that she is the one?” I smiled and responded, “I don’t see her as an online friend anymore. I have accepted her as my sister and I can recognize every one of my sisters when I see them.”
Urmila: I jumped up and embraced her. We laughed, we hugged, we cried, we screamed. We beamed from within.
Olutosin: Everything stood still at the BEL Circle junction in Bangalore. We had so much to say at that moment; we both started talking without listening to each other. We had bottled up so many unsaid things, waiting for a warm embrace, for the ripe boil of our words to burst out. It was our moment, a time we had patiently waited for these past years.
Urmila: One of the first things I told her was, “I got that job, sister!!”
Breaking Down Barriers
Urmila: A circle was completed that day. I met the woman who had played such an important role in my life for so long. I realized that there isn’t any difference between a ‘real life’ and ‘virtual’ friend—there are just true friends!
Olutosin: World Pulse is a community of great people who are yet to meet. We are not just online people. We exist! We have a pulse, we have blood, we are human, we are clicking away softly at our computers in nooks and crannies throughout the world.
Urmila: Olutosin and I spent an entire day together in my house while she was here. I cooked for her with joy and we ate together as one big family.
This is what I want to say to all women of the world: Don’t you ever doubt that we women can support each other across continents and across manmade barriers. We can be there for each other to share our problems and seek joint solutions—until one fine day distance becomes just a word. Like it did for Olutosin and me.
Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale is the Founder of Star of Hope Transformation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria and a citizen journalist. She has traveled the globe and carries the message to support education of the girl child. She trains women to become entrepreneurs in a bid to strive for economic independence and empowerment. A powerful speaker, she is a change maker in her community, her country, and wherever she goes. Connect with Olutosin
Urmila Chanam is a social development professional in HIV/AIDS, a gender rights activist, and a journalist in Bangalore, India. She works with vulnerable communities including transgendered people, sex workers, and trafficked women and girls. A columnist for a leading English daily, she writes against child marriage, domestic violence, and trafficking of women. Connect with Urmila.
Olutosin and Urmila are currently working together to make a documentary film on Olutosin’s entrepreneurship trainings for marginalized women in remote parts of India.
And this is just a beginning.