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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 of my physical appearance or 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 speaking for myself, define 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 especially through the World Wide Web. I am connected to women from more than 190 countries of the world via the World Pulse. I am weaved in a chain of sisterhood. I draw inspirations through my virtual connections and this gets me more attached to global community. The ripple effect of my connection to the virtual world is that I gain knowledge and skills with which I make more impact on women in my community, women 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 life endeavors.

Scores of years back, I was growing up as a girl-child in a remote village of Orlu in Imo state, Nigeria. I was brought up by a widowed poor mother. There in my village children of poor parents did not have opportunities like those of rich parents. A woman-headed household can never be at par with others. My siblings and I did not have access to education. 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 was growing up with a disability. Moreover I was a girl-child. 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 men, with able-bodied persons.

A girl-child growing up with a disability is a laughing stock. I was stigmatized, discriminated and denied opportunities. Opportunities of going to school, opportunities of admission in the schools in my community. That was the same school that warmly welcomed other children living without disabilities.I was denied opportunities of nursing ambitions like any other child. 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 seen as hanging my coat in a position meant for elephants, that is, planning of a life perceived by the society as 'impossible' for a woman like me.

I overcame the deadly attacks of derogatory remarks, psychological trauma and pejoration. I rise above stigmatization 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 receive 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 nothing. 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. Again in July of 2013 my air ticket for a Diploma Course in Development Leadership in a University at Halifax was bought and sent to me by an online sister. Today, I hold an important position that give me opportunity of using my skills and knowledge in transformation works that change lives in my country.

Even though women in Nigeria are generally confronting the challenges of patriarchy which subject women to men's control, direction and dependency, illiteracy, working round the clock and not having time to access the internet, erratic power supply, poor and slow internet connections, poverty and lack of resources to pay at the cyber cafes, security issues as women feel unsafe in public places including cyber cafes, these challenges are worse and doubled for women living with disabilities. For instance, some women with some form of disabilities are targets for ritual killers in Nigeria. This kind of women are at greater risks going to cyber cafes at any time. Again all the cyber cafes in Nigeria are disability unfriendly. The visually impaired woman, a woman confined in a wheel chair and some others do not have access to the cyber cafes operating in Nigerian cities. In Nigeria where men hardly agree to get married to women with disabilities, majority of women with disabilities who are unmarried hardly get any form of economic dependent. Again as a lot of Nigerians resort to use of smart phones, personal computers and internet accessories-- instead of patronizing cyber cafes-- as alternative to accessing internet and communication technologies; and use of power generating machines as alternative to electricity supply, 99% of persons with disabilities who have been subjected to street begging as only means of livelihood in Nigeria cannot afford to buy smart phones, personal computers, internet modems and constant recharge cards, or power generating machines. Come to think of it, in Nigeria persons with disabilities can hardly afford to own a decent accommodation, not to think of buying and fueling power generating machines that might enable them access to internet and communication technologies.

It is painful to me, I see it as a denial of right that a segment of the society that needs empowerment more than the others are yet the mainly 'non-computer literate,' the 'poorest of the poor' in the societies who cannot afford decent houses, good paying jobs and therefore no access to internet. If a saying by my sister here that 'access to internet is access to life' then there is no access to life to millions of women with disabilities in my country. This is more painful to me considering the powerful opportunities the www has provided me as a woman. 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. Let us do more by helping others like me who are in dire need of transformation.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Comments

Y's picture

What an inspiration you are,

What an inspiration you are, Celine. Thank you for sharing your experience with WorldPulse and the web.
Many blessings to you.
Yvette

Y

Celine's picture

Hi Y

Hi Y,

Thank you for nice comment.

Many blessings to you dear sister

Celine

Nakinti's picture

You Rock Sister!

Sister Celine, You Rock!!!!!!!

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Celine's picture

My Sister

Hahahaha, my Nankiti my sister. We rock along!

Cheers,
Celine

Kika Sylvie Katchunga's picture

It's good to share with us

It's good to share with us this article, it still me more courage
Hi

sylvie

Celine's picture

Good to know you

Hi Sylvie,

Good to know. Yes we are weaved to draw inspirations and encourage ourselves.

Cheers,
Celine

busayo's picture

I am so encouraged

I am so encouraged by your sharing Celine. It takes a lot of courage to take the bull by the horns and be what we want to be despite all odds. Ride on my Sister, the sky is the beginning

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Celine's picture

Thank you Sis. It's been a

Thank you Sis. It's been a while.
I agree with you, sky is our beginning.

Cheers
Celine

Leina's picture

Kisses sister Celine,you are

Kisses sister Celine,you are a living proof of the fact that determination leads to success.Your commitment to your goals and your nurturing spirit inspires me.You will go places
Hugs,
Leina

Celine's picture

Thank you darling

Thank you my darling Leina. You are as well an inspiration my sister. I am waiting for the day I will meet you in person. Keep on shinning my motivator. I am proud of you and the work you do.

God bless you real good.
xoxo
Celine

Celine's picture

Thank you my darling Leina.

Thank you my darling Leina. You are as well an inspiration my sister. I am waiting for the day I will meet you in person. Keep on shinning my motivator. I am proud of you and the work you do.

God bless you real good.
xoxo
Celine

Ashleigh Lauren's picture

Beautiful Post

Celine,

I wanted to thank you for sharing a bit of your story. You have a strong voice, and it shines through in your writing. Disabilities may hold us back from certain things, but you have used yours to pave a positive way for women worldwide. I hope you know you were never a 'nobody,' and I'm eager to see where life takes you next as you bring to light important and underrepresented issues.

Many blessings.

-Ashleigh

Celine's picture

Hi Ashleigh, Thank you for

Hi Ashleigh,

Thank you for reading my post. Here you are, proving me right once again. Your comment goes further in making me a not nobody, thanks for the www-- women weaved in the world of internet! I am determined not to stop in bringing to light the issue I am so passionate about.

Lots of love and hugs my dear Ashleigh!

Celine

Dearest Celine,

Your story is so strong and beautiful I feel as though I need to hold onto my chair to keep from falling over backwards in awe.

Of all the powerful, uplifting -- and also painful -- things you've told us, perhaps the most profound and deeply touching for me is, " Just in a twinkle of an eye a ‘nobody’ in me was changed to ‘somebody’ of the world."

You have been a "somebody" from the moment you were born -- perhaps even before that! -- but the many ways in which you were made to feel like a nobody and then found your power and individual significance through World Pulse are beautifully, powerfully expressed here, and I hope will be read by many. Many other women who have yet to find their voices and find the support to be heard will benefit from reading your testimony.

Now that you have found your very own magnificence, may you recognize it and honor it forever.

With Comfort and Joy,

Sarah

Celine's picture

Grateful

My dear Sarah,

I am indeed grateful for your uplifting comment. Yes, through the World Pulse I found power and individual significance using my voice to speak on issues which are neglected. Through the World Pulse I also found you and other great women who motivate me to becoming somebody.

Cheers
Celine

You ARE!

Love,

Sarah

Urmila Chanam's picture

Bravo my brave sister!!

Dear Celine,

Can you imagine how proud you make me? You are a mountain of inspiration and I love you sister!! I pray for your endurance, persistence and noble works to bring fruitage today, tomorrow and always.

Much love,
Urmila Chanam
India

It takes just one to change many

Celine's picture

My Beautiful Sister

Dear Urmila,

I love you too and always get inspired by the load of great works you do improving the lives of the less privileged. Thank you for your prayers my beautiful sister.

Love and God's blessing
Celine

Mary S's picture

Great story!

Hi Celine

What a great story! You might have a disability, but you also have an amazing ability - the determination to live your own life and be what you want to be. I can see that the internet has enabled you to make some great connections and find new opportunities, and I hope that your experience will also inspire others and help to change some of those outdated attitudes along the way.

Mary

Celine's picture

Hi Mary Many thanks for

Hi Mary

Many thanks for reading my post and for commenting.

Celine

hmagnussen's picture

Thank You

Celine,

You words are so strong and inspiring to us all. This is very powerful...

"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."

Thank you,

Heather

Celine's picture

Thank You

Thank you Heather. You are also an inspiration.

Celine

Greengirl's picture

Poetic Piece

Dear sis Celine, thank you for sharing such an inspiring story about your courage filled journey in life. Your poetic piece brought tears of admiration to my eyes. I am happy to learn more about the wonderful well woven world around you, and l am glad to be a part of it all through World Pulse.

Eagerly looking forward to meeting you........ Together, we are stronger!

Much respect and admiration,
Greengirl

Celine's picture

Thank you Nike for reading

Thank you Nike for reading and comment.

Me too, can't wait to meet you.

Blessings,
Celine

Riya's picture

Thank you for sharing..

Thank you Celine for sharing such a touching personal experience with us. You have showed several examples of how one can overcome challenges and difficulties, living in a patriarchal society. Your personal narrative is an inspiration for so many of us. It spreads the message that we women are capable of anything and there is nothing impossible, yes it may be harder for us to achieve our goals due to societal structures, but we can and will preserve.

Please keep challenging the societal stigmas and all biases towards women. We all women from around the world are with you. I could not agree with you more, “we break barriers together, we transform our world. Together we are building bridges across oceans.” Thank you again, for such an inspirational personal narrative.

Riya

Celine's picture

Dear Riya, Thank you for

Dear Riya,

Thank you for reading and your encouraging comment. We the women of the world inspire one another. We live to challenge societal barriers, stigmas and other challenges that have intention of limiting us. We overcome through the help we receive from one another. Thanks to World Pulse for weaving us in this net of sisterhood. Together we break barriers!

Blessings to you dear sister.
Celine

mimiryan's picture

Dearest Celine, Your words

Dearest Celine,

Your words exude strength, kindness and extraordinary wisdom! I am moved and inspired by your perseverance and feel proud to have been connected to an individual such as yourself through this campaign! You are certainly achieving your goal of breaking barriers and on behalf of women ( and men!) around the world, I thank you for your gift of words. I would love to know more about what inspires you and what you feel compelled to address in today's world!

This bridge is sturdy and graceful! In this just this one piece of writing you have changed my world.

All of the best,

mimi

Celine's picture

Dear Mimi, In spite of daily

Dear Mimi,

In spite of daily challenges, I feel at home reading motivating responses and comments from women like you. Women I never meet in my life but we communicate, share and touch our lives the way I never imagined.

What more? When situations around look as if life is coming to an end-- just imagine a world where even a close relation treats you like you are nobody. You don't have hope of basic needs despite all efforts made to live like others. Just imagine a world where you find stumbling blocks in almost every move made to reach your goal in life. The stumbling blocks may arise because you lack some support. You suddenly open a mailbox or log on to the internet and find personal mails or responses like the one you sent to me, appreciating, encouraging and bringing some hope to living!

Just imagine the comforting and happiness when suddenly that accomplishment that was impossible couple of months / years back suddenly comes to reality within a twinkle of an eye. Just imagine the happiness when you surmount the obstacles and suddenly accomplish a reality that even make those who initially think you can't, start to marvel. Yes, the bridge is sturdy but I hold my head up and refuse to be pushed down. It is not because I have power or because of my strength but I think it is because I have a strong determination to do that which I thought good for me. Above all I have confident in myself.

My dear Mimi, the most inspiring thing to me in life is the multiple effect of every little effort I make to touch life. Having started my career I in charity work, I started with a global christian women's organization where I received motivations and trainings. I towed the line of deriving pleasure from work that put smiles on the faces of people.

Also, with my unique background, I personally attach much importance which is so much significance to me that I, despite my challenges while growing up, have the privilege or opportunity to improve the lives of mankind. To this, I am always grateful. This feeling always make me think that that is the only reason why I survive the sturdy bridges. Now just imagine a situation where the little contribution in counseling, writing or anything else I give suddenly turn the person's life around. The feeling makes me persevere despite all odds

In today's world, majority of people are powerless, marginalized and made to suffer. It is a known secret that women are most vulnerable and suffer the effects of dominance and oppression. But it is worse for women with disabilities who constitute the poorest of the poor. They suffer in silence. I feel compelled to address the challenges of women with disabilities who are the most deprived, denied and forgotten group.

With warm regards
Celine

kati.mayfield's picture

Breaking barriers

Dear Celine,

Thank you for reminding us that even if we ever feel like a "nobody" we are really a "somebody". And for being somebody who is brave enough to share your story.

You are a great example for all of us, describing the barriers that have been put in front of you, and the ways you have overcome them.

blessings,

-Kati

*resolved this year to think twice and to smile twice before doing anything*

Celine's picture

Re: Breaking barriers

Dear Kati,

Thank you for reading and comment. We all face barriers as human beings and as women living in various male dominated societies. We overcome with determination and support from one another.

Blessings to you!
Celine

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

A story of outstanding courage

Dear Celine,

I've come to your story as one of the volunteer Listeners in the Women Weave the Web campaign. First of all, I found it very moving and inspiring. Your life has clearly been transformed because of the power of the web to connect women digitally across continents. You've also had to fight a double prejudice of disability and it's interesting that you've been able to share stories with other women who also face this problem.

However, I had to go to your individual posts to get a better idea of some of the subjects on which you had written and provoked debate/discussion and I feel your piece could be so much stronger if you were able to give more tangible examples of how your ability to write/connect has rippled out and affected the lives of others as well as yourself. You clearly have great talent as a writer - and a great heart.

With my best wishes,

Fiona

Fiona McKenzie

Celine's picture

Appreciations

Dear Fiona,

Thank you for reading and observation. I throw a bit more light to issue you raised.
In 2010 before the General Elections in Nigeria, I connected with an organization that had interest in mobilizing common people at the grass root to be active in the elections. I made this organization realize that PWDs are not part of the organization's work. I was later called up and I worked with this organization to mobilize persons with different forms of disabilities. We computed their various challenges-- issues that hinder their active participation in the processes and passed on a collective letter to the Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission. Well until the elections came and gone, our letter and issues raised were not attended to, except that it was mentioned somewhere in the bill that PWDs can vote on proxy.

In 2012, I connected with an Australian called Cindy on phone after she saw one of my writings. She called me to confirm my identity. Even though we never met in person and she wrote my surname wrongly, she used the information in her work which affects the lives of people with disabilities in another part of Nigeria as shown in these links: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/comment-hope-by-the-containerload/sto... http://cindywockner.com/2012/09/

In 2011 I was also called on phone by a British lady based on my writing posted on the internet. She later came to me for some information and guide on a litigation project her human rights organization was planning to initiate in collaboration with LEDAP in Nigeria. That was shortly after the UN launched a program talking against Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Persons with Disabilities. imbedded in the UN Convention Against Torture (UN CAT). I guided her with contacts in Nigeria, Ghana, S/L, Liberia, and other west African countries. The first workshop held in October 2011, though I did not participate because I was in Brazil then. The second one later held in Lagos Nigeria. In the Resource Packs on Disability and Torture which were used as data source for the project, information in my writing was the major reference. See this site: http://www.equalrightstrust.org/torture_indianigeria/index.htm
Same connection and outcome project is also published in US as shown here: https://bos.etapestry.com/prod/viewEmailAsPage.do?databaseId=MentalDisab...

My sister, there are so many writings of mine which effects are not communicated to me. It gives me joy if those information / writings which are done out of research and personal experience are used to better the lot of my target group. I do take offense when I discover my writings being used for some purposes which are contrary to my idea of assisting to improve the lives of PWDs. Last year I brought the attention of WP to a case.

Regards,
Celine

Soumya Vilekar's picture

Inspiring

Dear Celine,
Its inspiring to read about your journey and the way internet has connected to you to the world .The encouragement and motivation that we get by sharing and communicating with others is nothing compared to anything else. Truly the platform of Worldpulse connects one and all.
Best wishes,
Soumya

Celine's picture

Absolutely

Dear Soumya,

Thank you for reading my post. I absolutely agree with you that the encouragement and motivation we get by sharing and communicating has no comparison. Great thanks to Worldpulse for connecting us together.

Blessings
Celine.

Francis Onyekwue's picture

Abilities in ..........

Hi,
I have read yours with great joy, I thank God your are able to discover yourself, who you are, as a result of your been connected with this wonderful and empowering network of women.
Your situation is not different from others like you in this part of the world we are coming from.we all should also appreciate the fact that internet has brought a revolution to our world.
i want to encourage you to see your self as a survivor and not a victim any longer, believe in yourself, be focused. Do not think or allow your condition to be a barrier to you. continue to be steadfast.
Cheers.
Francis.

Celine's picture

Hi Francis, Many thanks for

Hi Francis,

Many thanks for your beautiful comment.

Cheers
Celine

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Dear Celine!

What a wonderful piece of work this is, Dear Celine! You have told us such an uplifting story in your honest and creative voice; a story of great hardship with an ending full of hope and possibilities.

I am touched by your beautiful expressions of gratitude and hope for other women who may, like you, have to overcome enormous hurdles to finally see a light and find a community of support.

Celine, have I asked you if you've reached out to Neema? She, too, is a woman with a disability she has had to work very, very hard to rise above, and if you feel like reaching out to her, she, too, may have words of encouragement.

Keep on raising your unique and powerful voice! We are Listening!

With Love & Ongoing Support,

Sarah

Celine's picture

Dear Sarah, Thank you so much

Dear Sarah,

Thank you so much for words of love and encouragement.

Yes I have reached out to Neema. We communicated in the past.

Cheers,
Celine

And may all unfold and open for you!

- Sarah

Mbizo Chirasha's picture

Highly inspirational

Sister. Yes am touched with your first part of the post . Iam highly . I would love it if all sisters and women start thinking this way. This is educational and powerful for the well being of our rot-ridden communities.Thumbs Up.Sisonke.

Mbizo Chirasha
International Perfomances Poet, Writer ,Creative/Literary Projects Specialist
Founder/Creative Director- Girlchildcreativity Project

Celine's picture

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your nice comments.

Blessings!
Celine.

Urmila Chanam's picture

I love you sister!!!!!

Dear Celine,

Thank you for sharing your story with me. In the three years I have known you(on the web), I have felt strength emanate from you, inspiration fragrance out of your words and love from your friendship. You my dear have abilities that many do not even comprehend. Wish you more power as you tread on the way to making impact.

In my prayers,
Urmila Chanam
India

It takes just one to change many

Celine's picture

Love you too

Dear Sis Urmilla,

Thanking you so much for your support always.

Celine

Tam's picture

Dear Celine, This morning I

Dear Celine,

This morning I am finally meeting you on line, and my spirit is lifted by knowing what you have been able to do, and by being reminded by you that this world wide connecting with each other is finally happening in ways we have only dreamed of in the past. We are all now able to speak to what is happening in each others' countries. I will not allow the enormity of this task to overcome my optimism. The news of atrocities that continue to take place is now not hidden, and our hearts are held and protected from breaking, with the threads of love and commitment that we have with each other. Please know that your words, and all of the responses here, have touched my heart deeply and strengthened my determination.

With love in sisterhood,
Tam

Celine's picture

Dear Tam, Thank you for

Dear Tam,

Thank you for connecting with me, I am delighted to meet you via the world wide connection.

Yes, with the threads of love and commitment, we form a chain of sisterhood, we gain motivations that help us overcome enormous tasks. Thanks for the sisterhood, thanks for fueling our strength, our commitment to use our words to bring the change we want in our world.

Love,
Celine.

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