Weaved on the Web of Women, Transforming My World
Transformation starts in my mind. I am transformed hence I courageously direct the way I am defined. I let others know who I am and how to define me. I change stereotypes, societal beliefs and attitudes which objectives are to militate against me, just because I am a woman. The age of www: women weaved in a web has helped me overcome challenges. I interact with other women to draw inspirations which have helped me in defining who I am and how I want people to define me. I gain support which has incredibly uplifted me.
Yes, I am a woman, outstandingly known among a chain of other women via World Wide Web. I am connected to women from 190 countries of the world via the World Pulse and beyond. I am weaved in a chain of sisterhood through which I am attached to women in my community and around the world. In our network of sisterhood we share our experiences. We transform our world. We realize the similarities of our living. We the women have come to realize that it is only our boundaries that demarcate us. The language we speak is encouragement, motivation, inspirations through which we push ourselves to move higher in our careers, in our endeavors.
Scores of years back, I was growing up as a girl-child in a remote village of Orlu in Nigeria, brought up by a widowed poor mother. There in my community children from poor homes do not have opportunities like those from rich families. We did not have access to internet. I became socialized to not think of rising above poverty line. Any form of ambition I nursed was met with questions as: who is her father? Which family is hers? The class thing is heightened when the society realized I am a woman. And then these questions: does she not know that she is a woman, what does she think she is doing? God forbid that woman with disability want to stand at par with able-bodied.
A girl-child growing up with a disability is a laughing stock. I was stigmatized and denied opportunities, such as opportunity of admission in a school I planned to go. That was the same school that warmly welcomed other children living without disabilities. Coupled with my poor background the society attempted to define me and the kind of life I should live. All efforts to prove otherwise were perceived as hanging my coat in a position meant for elephants.
I overcame the deadly attacks of psychological trauma, stigmatization, derogatory remarks and pejoration when I joined this global network that give women a global voice in 2009. I started using the internet to connect to the world. Before I say ‘Jack,’ I see myself weaved in a net of women from 190 countries of the world. Each time I post to my journal, the comments I received are so inspiring, motivating and encouraging. I search to know more about my friends, my online fans, my motivators. That was the beginning of episode that changed my mind set. Mine God! This is awesome, unbelievable! I received information on online courses, applications for trainings. I read online journals, I became uplifted.
Each time www is mentioned to my ears, my mind goes to WP, the pulse of the world, a platform which has given great opportunities to me-- a woman living at the grassroot level in Nigeria to interact with other women from around the world. There is something that I share in common with my network of ‘sisters’ from around the world. For instances, my sister who lives in Europe told me that because she is a woman living with a disability, her challenges are double compared with her male colleagues who also live with disabilities. An online friend from Asia informed me that because she is a woman living with a disability, no man has agreed to marry her.
Just contributing a comment on an issue that matters most to me in 2011 earned me a learning trip to a Human Rights Institute in Canada. The experience turned my life around. Little did I know that it was the beginning of my journey? Same year I was selected for online citizen journalism training by the World pulse. This was alongside other two professional trainings in Indonesia and Brazil. Wooh, I ain’t seen anything. Just in a twinkle of an eye a ‘nobody’ in me was changed to ‘somebody’ of the world. I was encouraged to write stories on issues that have almost been neglected by the whole world. My journal posts are being used as reference points by development agencies and policy makers around the world to transform the lives of individuals.
Even though I face challenges of poor connections, unstable electricity, financial constraints while accessing the internet, www has opened doors of opportunities and resources that should not have been possible. I appreciate all the women who have been weaved in this web of connection with fellow women from around the world. We break barriers together, we transform our world. Together we are building bridges across oceans.