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Give me Yeast and Watch me Rise!

cassava processing, nigerian women (cc) iita image library

It wiggled and wobbled. It knew not its purpose, still it glided over the white surface. The image looked like a flower, then it was given hands and soon a face appeared. It was the pen in my hand - just making indistinct lines on paper. Then, it found a path and started making words. The words became a voice, speaking of life.

Everyone must have something you are passionate about. It is that passion that drives you on, without it you could just sit in a place and dwindle. The discovery of that passion is essential to self-fulfilment. I found my passion in writing and as I gained insight into the issue of women rights I started writing gender-sensitive stories and articles that explored the confines limiting women all over the world. My personal vision is to achieve excellence in all that I do - to hone my writing skills; to write books; to make my voice heard on pressing issues that will impact positively on women and men all over the world.

As a budding academic, I see education as one of the ways in which a woman is empowered. While shopping for ingredients to bake bread, I went into one of my frequent introspective moments. I looked at the middle-aged woman measuring the flour. She was uneducated like most women traders who stopped attending school at the primary or secondary school level. However, she had a means of livelihood which is something not all uneducated women have. In my community, there is an influx of teenage illiterate mothers, sometimes single parents with no form of employment and who sometimes take on unstable menial jobs or the age-long profession of hawking their bodies.

At home, as I mixed the sugar evenly into the flour, a vision began to form in my mind. I was going to make whole wheat bread but not everyone has to bake or eat that kind of bread. There is banana bread, corn bread and white bread. In a similar vein, not every woman would be able to go through a "four-walled" educational system. In Nigeria, the government often sets up measures to curb problems - a method of treating the symptoms and ignoring the disease itself. In the past some female politicians have embarked on programs to rehabilitate sex workers. This is a good thing, but why are there no measures in place to help them in the first place before they resort to prostitution?

As I ruminated on this issue, the idea of a skill-based educational system was birthed in me. It is often difficult for some women or girls who have had their education interrupted at a particular level due to financial constraints and other cultural barriers, to return to a formal school system. Most times, they are already too old and feel out of place or they have become stuck in old ways to learn something radically different. I dream of a system which will adopt this kind of people, where they can learn skills that can lead to empowering enterprises. The women would be taught to read and write and tutored in the area of their interests such as tailoring, hairdressing, trading, commercial transportation, etc. After the training, they would be given funds to set up their own businesses. The failure of adult education in Nigeria is mostly due to its unfit curricula. I once heard of a program that met that description of unfitness - they were teaching uneducated women to use the computer when they could not even read. We need a pragmatic system – one that results in benefits for its participants.

I desire to be a correspondent of the Voices of Our Future for several reasons. First, I believe this will broaden my writing opportunities and expose me to greater influences. I have worked mostly with literary fiction. Therefore, I see this as an opportunity to explore new areas. Just like the process of baking bread, without the yeast, the dough will fall, so also without the proper training and mentoring, my vision of seeing women in my community empowered may not see the light of day.

Give me yeast and watch me rise!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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I loved this metaphor and how you carried it though, Petunia. More power to you. I think perhaps that you are the yeast.

~ Maya

Petunia007's picture

Thanks Maya, I'm glad you

Thanks Maya, I'm glad you enjoyed it. However, I think I'm the dough, and the yeast is the support and training I hope to get through the VOF program.

Maya Norton's picture

Could be. :) ~ Maya

Could be. :)

~ Maya

Khaiwana's picture

Such a powerful piece, you

Such a powerful piece, you don't need Yeast, you only need the space to expand. You are so powerful and can do so much. Your dreams will change the world, just go out and do it.

: ) Khaiwana

Petunia007's picture

Thanks for the words of

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Rochelle White's picture

Very Powerful

I appreciate you touching on the point of prevention. This was a great piece overall and you are truly a magnificent writer. Thank you for sharing! Yes I agree with Maya, You may just be the Yeast needed to help women rise.



Petunia007's picture

Thanks so much.

Thanks so much.

Sulo39's picture

You Already Have Yeast!

I love your writing and this is a very-well written piece. I agree with others that you already have yeast , so start baking and there will be loads of us waiting to eat that bread straight off the oven!


Petunia007's picture

Thanks. I love the figurative

Thanks. I love the figurative comment *winks*

Stacey Rozen's picture

Bake on!

Beautifully written, Petunia. I could almost smell the warmly baked bread. You are a voice rising!


Petunia007's picture

Lol, thanks for reading.

Lol, thanks for reading.

Ruth Bech's picture

Nice one!

Your idea of skill assessment is already being used in Scandinavia. In Denmark first, and now in Sweden and Denmark, young and older are being given points at educational venues for the work and the experience they have accomplished when applying for a school or a university. My line of work, for example, within cultural productions did not have an education when I started producing theater, opera, concerts and dance. That came later, at a time where I was so occupied in work that I did not have time to go to school. When my health forced me in another direction, I could use my background to go right into university and enroll in social studies. So, if this is not in place where you live, use the scandinavian model to push through something similar in your country. The model has proven especially fruitful for women, who often stay home to take care of their small children before returning to the workforce, because they are able to use their "volunteer" work for building society as an asset and a platform for professional development. I have to agree with some of the women here, you DO have the yeast already. Your voice is crisp clear - with an intelligent ring to it, and in my opinion you are a Voice Of the Future. Glad we two have met, love having you in my network here!
Much love, Ruth

Petunia007's picture

The model you described above

The model you described above sounds nice. However, I'm proposing a system where not everyone has to get 'book' education in order to be relevant. My country is one in which people with technical or entrepreneurship skills are not recognised or considered for employment unless they have a formal educational qualification. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

aimeeknight's picture

Your intro was captivating!

Your intro was captivating! The beauty and the power of the pen. Great work!

"One shoe can change a life" ~ Cinderella

Petunia007's picture

Thanks for reading. I'm glad

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you liked it.

Tait's picture


I love how you used food to make your point. Yes you need yeast to rise. Your idea on skill based education is fantastic!! I see that you want to start where the women are and educate them from there, which makes sense. I really enjoyed reading your journal and the flow of your writing. KEEP WRITING!!


Petunia007's picture

Thanks for reading. It's high

Thanks for reading. It's high we took to measures that ensures practical results.

amymorros's picture

Rising Up

Great story! I like how you explain how the idea comes into your head while doing something as mundane as shopping in the market. Skill-based and pragmatic-your idea of how to best help these women is a great one. Often great ideas are right in front of us but it takes someone like you to connect the dots and make connections that have not been made before. Best of luck in your writing and your work!


Petunia007's picture

thanks for the words of

thanks for the words of encouragement.

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