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VOF WEEK 2: (MY FIRST LOVE)

It is days like this that I bow down to all women of the world, who are mothers. I am single, with no children and right now I live with my two cousins who are adults in their 20’s. I come home from work and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep. How did our mothers do it? Raise a family, work, take care of their husbands?
Being the first born girl in an African family, I learnt early that it is the girls/women who take care of the home. I learnt how to cook and mind my siblings at an early age. I did not mind taking care of my brothers. In fact, I loved it. Having responsibilities, my parents trust.
I was also privileged to have parents who understand the importance of education and so I went to school. And there I discovered my first love, reading. From the moment I came across the school library in standard 4, when I was about 11 years old, I found my niche. I could get lost in the world of books, and still do. To me, the written word is the greatest invention ever made.
Words impart knowledge, inform, give hope, uplift, encourage, entertain but most important of all give us a medium to express ourselves.
Every person, given a chance, has a story to tell. The greatest stories are those that are unstructured, not confined to ideals or norms. Stories that are told, because they are stories.
Every day of my life, I thank God, for my parents. They have shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today. They believed in me, trusted me and gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams, follow my heart and accomplish all that I have. It is amazing what difference it makes when you have someone who believes in you.
World pulse community is for me, the next best thing to a library. I came across the site from a link on the Association for Women’s Rights Development website. There are stories here. Informative, intellectual, personal stories. It is like sitting down with the girls on a weekend rehashing your week.
My vision is to have a society where women are empowered. It starts with a small step as being literate; to be able to read and write. Imagine what feats we could accomplish with just 10 literate women per village; one per household! It might seem inconsequential, but think of the number of women who never went to school, but who have managed to raise and maintain a family and send their own children to school, even as they stay home.
I again salute all women, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, nieces. They have touched our lives, one way or another.
I want one day, to be able to look back, and see the people whose lives I have touched, influenced, changed ( hopefully for the better) and have them tell my story.

Comments

molliv's picture

literacy tells stories

caroline:

you know, it's amazing, since i am so dedicated to books and reading and promote literacy in my own community, but in reading all of the entries this week, it never once occurred to me that lack of literacy is a barrier. it seems you know how very lucky you are to have your folks so supportive of furthering your education. You talk of how much could be accomplished if just 10 literate women resided in each village... do you have any ideas about how worldpulse can help to reach them, or perhaps send some, like yourself, to empower the women, educate the parents, so that those stories that "are unstructured, not confined to ideals or norms", can be told to all?

i am looking forward to hearing more of your ideas.

~molli

Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, even Moses started out as a basket case.

Caroline Ateya's picture

Literacy Campaign

Molly,

Thank you for your comments.

I come from a small village in Western Kenya where most girls only go to school till standard 8, then drop out to either get married or because the parents can only educate the boys.

The locals have recently started a girls only high school, which is picking up, but the drop out rate is still overwhelming and most of the time you find that it is girls from neighbouring villages who enroll. I am thinking of starting a literacy campaign to first reach the parents, becuase it is them who decide whether or not their children will go to school. The plans are still at an early stage, but I will keep you posted on the developments. Any ideas will also be welcome.

Caroline

nikki's picture

Love of reading

Dear Caroline -

Thank you for your story. I too, fell in love with reading (and the library!) at a very young age. My grandmother would take me and my young brother to the library on Saturdays and I would love to fill my arms with books and then take them home with me. They felt like treasures! I would lay them all around me on my bed at night, picking up one and then another before finally drifting off to sleep.

Many years later I still visit my local library at least once a week - I love to read about history and about other places in the world. I have recently been reading a lot about the culture of Japan and hope to visit there someday. But...since I may not be able to go, I can at least read about it!

I agree with you when you say that literacy is a way to empowerment and I very much appreciate you making that connection. So many women do not have access to the power of words and ideas that will bring strength to their own lives, and in the lives of their families. I applaud your efforts to continue to encourage other women to read, and also applaud your family for seeing the importance in educating you.

Thank you again, and I look forward to hearing more from you!

Sincerely,

Nikki Jardin

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