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Online, offline, real line; creating the world women want

Imagine a woman lying helplessly in a private hospital, after a severe section of midnight beating by her husband, beside her is her 28 day old baby that she delivered safely even with pregnancy induced hypertension. As she was gazing into space, the male doctor moved close to her bedside and whispers to her; ’ lady, its either you stop this beating or you live with it all your life, that's if you ever survive from another round of his punches one midnight, it’s a never ending journey for our women’.

That lady was me.

That day, unlike some other women, I resolved to become empowered, to not only defend myself but to be an example unto other women who is experiencing domestic violence, but unable to speak out due to socio-cultural –econ-religious reasons.

Armed with the above aims/goals, I began to search for a platform to raise my voice, to share my experience and to encourage other women to speak out. World Pulse became a dream comes true, I joined and I began to pour out my souls. I see light, I see hope, I see a new future with world Pulse. Therefore, I began to work, with passion, with determination and with hope. I believe in the World Pulse dream, vision and mission. Getting there and getting ahead, was not a challenge at all, because, I just want to do something to make a change. Therefore, I settled down to enjoy the work, the community and the sisterhood.

Surprisingly, on World Pulse, I do not only access a platform alone, but I discovered that, I have my sisters' shoulders to lean on, listening ears, and in a short time, my online sisters became a mountain of women and I was systematically placed on top of this huge mountain where I do not need a microphone before the world listens to my story. I began to speak. No fears, no inhibition. On the other hand, World Pulse began to push me, fuel my fire and drag me by force into the hall of fame. The more World Pulse pushes me up the ladder of success, the more I drag my riverside sisters along with me, I made up my mind to work with unheard voices in my community.

In 2009, World pulse discovered that my voice would be relevant for the future. I became selected. In 2011, a sister that I met on World Pulse, introduced me to her organization, they dragged me from the corner of my room and rented an office for me in Festac town. She said, she saw something in me. The more I grow, the more I nurture and grow more women in my communities.

In 2013, World Pulse nominated me as one of the Women have wings’ Women of Courage award. I won the award and with that, I was able to buy 7 brand new sewing machines, 15 brand new chairs and 2 tables. That same year, my World Pulse sister, who partnered with us to rent the first office, decided to rent another office for us at the riverside, this time, it was 3 bedrooms. We increased; we set up a library at the riverside community, with 450 books and 55 new wooden puzzles that we bought from the USA. Additionally from funds from the award, we continued with our women and girls programmes at the riverside, but this time, with better opportunities to serve my sisters. We were able to organize Ankara accessories training for 30 women, free of charge, it lasted for 6 weeks.

When World Pulse supports us, we support other sisters, which create ripple effects.

In December 2013, I received an urgent mail from World Pulse founder that Women have wings will be nominating me as Aspen scholar in 2014, in January 2014, I was accepted and the visa process began. Aspen scholarship goes with many other opportunities.

Today, June 25th, 2014, I hugged Jensine Larsen, the founder of World Pulse at Denver airport, as we wept and refused to wipe our tears, I cannot but imagine those agonizing years, when I had to decide whether to eat breakfast or use the money to pay the $1 internet café charges, I cannot but remember those years; when I had to spend extra hours online, typing my articles because I could only type a word per minute in a cyber café, I could remember when I had to find a man to accompany me to a cyber café because it’s a dangerous area in Festac town, I cannot, but remember all those hard choices, that I had to make in order to remain online; to mingle with sisters, comment and post articles.

Today I realized that we are not just online community, No, we are a 'community of women growing women'.

I allowed my tears to flow in Jensine arms, not because I am sad but because there are thousands of Olutosin, who are out there, thinking about whether to sacrifice the $1 cyber café charges for breakfast or for sisterhood. I remembered how Jensine Larsen would organize online speaking engagements for me, in Texas, Switzerland etc. I became a remote voice creating change. Now things have changed, before my arrival in the USA, World Pulse has organized speaking engagements for me, to address powerful women, who are agents of change too. Not a remote speaker anymore, its real line speaker. It can only be called glorious.

As we stood in line at the airport, a new word came to mind; and I said we are real line sisters.

We came up with a plan to draw my dream and plan of action; because last month, an online sister who is equally a World Pulse member had fundraised for our organization in Worcester, UK, where, Nigerian sisters, who do not know me, the Mayor, and several women were in attendance too; they raised auction of promises for us. I have never been to the UK before, I have never met the sister that organized the fundraising event, but she believed in my dream of a transformed world for poor riverside women. She sent 2000 GBP to my personal account, on the 23rd of June, 2013, we bought a plot of land in Agbara; I mean that we bought Our organization's land! paid for the agency fee, paid for the corner piece, pay for the omo onile fees (the families of the land owners), paid for "walking in the bush" we paid for everything. imagine our women owing their land 120 feet by 60 feet; I mean women who are poor.

World Pulse brought me to limelight, I no longer weep when I am afraid, I confront my fears and walk over them, I became a strong sister too. not a victim of domestic violence anymore, My story is the story that fuels hope, it strengthens and encourages. My World Pulse sisters who are in the remote areas too can do it! sisters can become real line sisters, standing in the queue of progress for other sisters.

It is possible; but to become real life, we must first be online, because there is a great ocean that separates sisters and this ocean can be crossed through online connection that breaks every divide after which, the dream will become real; and we can say, we are real line sisters waiting for one another in several airports in the world; just as Jensine Larsen waited for me today at Denver International airport; where although, we met for the first time, but there was no introduction, after the hug that lasted for several minutes, we just continued our discuccion, where we ended it online. It is amazing, a never to be forgotten moment.

The new discussion now is, how do we build the transformation centre; a place of refuge, empowerment, succor for our women, that will house our children's library too?

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

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Comments

Tam's picture

Dreams Coming True

Dear Olutosin,

This morning my heart is full of joy, my eyes with tears of joy for you, for Jensine, for your work, for your land and project, for World Pulse, for our real line sisterhood, for all our hopes and dreams becoming possible, taking formation as yours are, proof in the beautiful photos, proof in how beautifully and powerfully you now walk the earth.

Love,

Tam

olutosin's picture

Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, I cried and cried and cried, at night, we chatted for soooo long, I was tired from the jet lag but I did not want to sleep, until Jensine turned her face to the wall and slept off did we stopped talking.

BEFORE, IT WAS A DREAM, BUT TODAY, IT IS REAL, WE ARE REAL LINE SISTERS.

Thanks again,

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

LeanaM's picture

So Inspired and Proud!

Olutosin, thank you so much for sharing your story again - you are an inspiration to all of us, and I believe that your dreams and the dreams of women around the world will continue to take off until we all become real line sisters :-)

olutosin's picture

Appreciation

Thanks so much, I appreciate the comment.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

zoneziwoh's picture

Powerful

Dear Sister, you make me proud. I can't say how much you have inspired me.
Keep the good work siz.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter & Instagram: @ZoFem

olutosin's picture

Thanks my sister and friend

You inspire me a lot too. Thanks

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Y's picture

I so want to hear the story

I so want to hear the story of how you were able to stay in a marriage with an abuser and stop the abuse. This is a story that many women need to hear.

Yvette

olutosin's picture

THANK YOU.

I threatened to divorce him or he should allow me to become empowered, in women's rights, he agreed because he said, there is no record of divorce in his family and every wife accepted her abuse. He changed, and I began to attend a lot of women programmes in Nigeria and abroad, its not easy but possible.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Y's picture

Wow! You are very brave.

Wow! You are very brave.

Yvette

olutosin's picture

bravery.....

bravery is in everyone of us......for a reason.....when we tune into it, it changes our whole existence.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Y's picture

Yes, so true.

Yes, so true.

Yvette

Dearest Olutosin - tears of joy are the very best kind! You are an absolutely amazing human being...thank you for your wonderful post and for all you contribute to our world.

Much love to you!!
Terry

olutosin's picture

Thank You so much!!!

I love the words of encouragement from you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Iffat Gill's picture

Dear Olutosin, I am so happy

Dear Olutosin,

I am so happy and moved by your courage, strength and the incredible work you are doing for other women. This article of yours got me emotional too! These stories of courage are the ones that will get women suffering from similar fates out of their shell. This will inspire them to put a stop to their misery and take a step in the positive direction!

You are an inspiration to many. The fire you carry within you to make a change around you, will touch many more and help them illuminate their lives too!

A big hug!

Iffat Gill

olutosin's picture

Thanks, we are!!!!!

I appreciate you my sister, we are the change.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Funmi Akerele's picture

so happy!

Dear Olutosin,
Its as if I follow your story on worldpulse as a chick to a mother hen. Your words flow from a deep. Your pains could not overide the beauty of your words, yet the effect can't be overulled. I thank God and Worldpulse for your heart, cause from their abundance you have been able to fearlessly speak your voice. I look at you and I tell myself there if Olutosin, can do it, I can do it also.

Evidently Worldpulse is a blessing; much more Worldpulse is a saviour for every woman whose voice has one time been stiffled by their own weakness and by other's wickedness. It is indeed great to see footsteps in the sand of freedom and with that we can heave a sigh of relief that we are getting there. Thanks to Worldpulse and so many thanks to you too Olutosin for your courage,persistency and zeal. I look forward to also impacting my world and bringing my voice to the forefront. You are indeed a great woman and your deserve all the moments! Enjoy.

Founder,
Pink Ambition
Blogger,Author, Coach,Speaker.

http://www.pinkambition1.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/pinkambitions

olutosin's picture

You inspire me too....

Thanks so much my lovely sister, I appreciate you and I love you so much.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Greengirl's picture

Wow!!!!

I join World Pulse to celebrate you! Wow, your post held me spellbound! I shared in your tears and also celebrate your strides. Your strong will, courage, determination and large heart will continue to speak for you.

Thank you so much for reminding everyone of us about what is possible when we believe in and live out our dreams. Congratulations Sis!!! Enjoy every moment, you sure earned it! .

Blessings,
Greengirl

olutosin's picture

Thank You so much!!!

I love your comment, thanks my sister...

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Sarvina's picture

Dear sister Olu, I can't

Dear sister Olu,

I can't stop my tear while reading your post. My heart starts beating and I can tell you that you are such my hero. All the work you have done is very very very amazing. I truly believe in online connection too. World Pulse is the first place who brought me world.

I always love reading your articles.

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

olutosin's picture

Thank you sister

We are sisters and I love you, thanks for the comment.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Nusrat Ara's picture

You have come a long way Olu.

You have come a long way Olu. Keep walking.

Love

Nusrat

olutosin's picture

Thank you sister

I will. thanks a lot.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Tash's picture

Dear Olutosin , Am happy for

Dear Olutosin ,

Am happy for you and enjoy your posts! you are quite an inspiration. May God continue to bless you! x

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

olutosin's picture

Thanks my sister

I appreciate you..

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Kadidia's picture

Online empowerment

Olutosin,

Your story is the story of many of us. African women have to struggle with the pressure of society that asks them to pretend that everything is fine. You are a survivor, a glorious survivor, a testimony of what one can do when she listens to her calling. You're wonderful and you're doing a wonderful work for women.
I appreciate that you shared your story on the worldpulse platform. It is an important testimony for many women out there.

Kadidia Doumbia

olutosin's picture

Thanks my sister!!!

I love sharing my story although most of my friends are against that, My story makes us stronger and that's what matters most to me...Love

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Kadidia's picture

a world women want

Olutosin,

Keep on sharing your story. It is a testimony for other women.

Kadidia Doumbia

olutosin's picture

Of course

Yes my sister, I will. Thanks

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Lea's picture

Dear Olutosin, I was really

Dear Olutosin,
I was really moved by your story. It's truly a story of hope and of overcoming all obstacles and rising above the pain and suffering. Your story has shown that even in those darkest of moments, you never gave up. You believed in something better and in helping the other women in your community.The very first paragraph was perhaps the most heartbreaking as it presented your own story of having suffered unimaginable abuse. But, that didn't stop you...You chose life ; you chose to fight for your right and the right of other women.
It's so inspiring to read how much the Internet and WorldPulse in particular have helped in so many ways, have empowered you, have given you a voice, have given you a chance to share your stories with others and to receive support from many members from around the world, to establish a community of real line sisters.
I'm so glad that for all of your dedication, passion, and committment to bringing about change for women in your community you were given many awards and the chance to come to the US.
I can only wish you the very best and praise you for all of the amazing work that you are doing!
Lea

Oh thank you so much for this comment, I love it, I appreciate the fact that you were able to read, understand and comment.

Respect

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Nabiye Tal's picture

Short of Words!!!

Dear Olutosin,

Hmmmmmmm, my sister, i had to take a deep breath. I read your story last night, and re-read this morning again, and now also, and before i realized it, a tear or two fell from my eyes. tears of mixed feelings. Sadness at first but Joy as i read the end. And i am still short of words, but what i can say is this- You are a real woman!!!! Having been all through this and yet determined to succeed, i tried to imagine, espécially being in Lagos. You know, i doff my hat for you sister. You are a great and amazing woman. You have really inspired me and i look forward to meeting you soon, in Lagos hopefully. Big Hugs!!!!

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

olutosin's picture

Thanks my lovely sister

I appreciate you my love, thanks for reading the piece, it came directly from my soul.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

SaritaMat's picture

so touching..

You touched my heart.I thought I suffered and I stood strong.I thought why it had to happen only to me.I thought if something could be done to change my life..I am still suffering in the hands of my husband but I never gave up.The more he tortured me,the more strength I gained.Now What else can make me go and move ahead other than your inspiring real life story.You are an example to millions.I am one of them.Thank you so much sister.Atleast you are a ray of hope for me.

Many hugs my sister for being there for every woman..
SaritaMat

Thanks for your comment my love, it makes me to resolve in the continuation of sharing my story. Some friends are not comfortable with me for sharing my story, but thank God that i tis my story and I have a voice. I share my story not to humiliate anyone but to inform my sisters that it is possible, if I can do it, any sister can.

I appreciate your comment and love to you.

We are strength to one another, until all sister is free, no sister can celebrate her freedom.

Love.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Mary S's picture

Hi Olutosin Thank you for

Hi Olutosin

Thank you for sharing your story. You are a brave and determined woman!

Finding World Pulse has definitely opened up a whole new set of opportunities for you, it must have been wonderful to meet your friend Jensine after so much time working together online. Good luck with your trip to the US and with all the work you do!

Mary

olutosin's picture

Thanks a lot....

Oh yes, World Pulse is not my community, Jensine is an AMAZON. I enjoyed my trip to the USA.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

annamarie's picture

Courage, Self-respect and Love

Hi Olutosin

You brave, loving, determined woman! So proud to be a woman because of women like you. The world can only be changed by women and you are doing so much to make it happen. But, like always, it starts with ourselves. We need to respect and love ourselves enough in order to rescue ourselves before we can do it for others - like putting you own oxygen mask on (airline safety) before helping others.

Be strong and best of luck with all the wonderful plans you have for empowering women and children.

Love,
annamarie

olutosin's picture

Thanks my love

I love you voice. Thanks a lot for reading and the lovely comment.Yes, I know, be strong enough to stand on your feet and be stronger enough to help other sisters unto their feet too.

Thanks again.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Kristina M's picture

Wow, what a story

Hello Olutosin,

From going from a woman lying helplessly in a hospital bed after being beaten to a woman who is connecting with others around the world to help improve the lives in her community is truly empowering. I wish you the best in continuing the programs you have already started and that you get to the build the transformation center that you desire.

Kristina

olutosin's picture

Appreciation

Thanks a lot for the comment and your prayer.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Rachel J's picture

What an inspiration

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you for sharing your story of great courage - the courage to stand up for yourself against abuse, and the courage to choose a path where you make a difference in the world rather than being silenced. I am so happy for you that World Pulse has become such an integral part of your life and your journey to becoming empowered. You have inspired so many others by telling your stories. This is a very touching account of how you decided to transform your life, and I remember how another one of your stories also stood out to me, so I'm not surprised by your many nominations and awards. I love how you've told the story of reconnecting with Jensine, and how your hug brought a flood of emotion as you recalled the struggles you have faced in getting to where you are today. I agree with your comment about the chain of support -from World Pulse supporting us to us supporting other sisters- creating the ripple effect.

More power to you!

Rachel

olutosin's picture

More power to you!!!

Thank you my dear Rachael for supporting my voice. Many of my friends see it as a sin for speaking out about my abuse, I always look at them, shake my head and move on, because they are hypocrites. Nobody enjoys abuse, so I wont powder my face to pretend that I was not beaten all night, when we speak out, we give other sisters the invisible energy to speak out too.

I will continue to speak against abuse until it becomes an abominable act. If we do not fight the battle, our daughters will live to fight in their generation too. So, why not end it once and for all.

Thanks for your supportive comment, it will go far with me in this journey ....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

sabapetit's picture

Brave lady!

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you for sharing your story, full of pain but also full of joy and transformation. Those years of violence belong to the past now, and all the sacrifices you have made were worth because your voice is heard all around the world! World Pulse and the rest of us believe in you because you are an authentic, compassionate and brave lady! and I love the fact that you are working for the welfare of women and children. Little by little we can transform this world for the better!
My best wishes!

Sabapetit

Sabapetit

olutosin's picture

Appreciation

Thanks a lot my darling, I appreciate your comment, yes we can transform our world, we are the change the world needs.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

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