Thought of the day

Marion Kisoso
Marion Kisoso

Marion Kisoso-

“We need to be equipped with the knowledge of having a dream and chasing it. Be aware that you have all kinds of potential, this includes; financial knowledge, spiritual growth and a never ending stream of self development.

Because we are all born with potential that is unique, beautiful and huge enough to shake the world!”

Thought of the day

Zawadi Mudibo
Zawadi Mudibo

Zawadi Mudibo (Kenya)-

“If I had to choose whether to educate my son or my daughter. I would pay for my daughter. Men can find a way through in Africa, but for women it is hard.

Our society is suffering because it’s male dominated and not male led. We need leadership from men not dominance.”

Moving forward with FGM 

No longer a taboo subject, women and men are standing strong and loud against FGM.

“I had it done when I was very young, between the age of 9 and 10,” recalls Mary Mwangi, 47, from West London. “It was an old lady who did it, she used a razor”. She pauses to regain strength. “She cut my clitoris off.” The sound of betrayal echoed in her voice and the fear she once had reflected in her eyes as she recalled the day she went through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Mrs Mwangi is one of the 66,000 victims living with the consequences of FGM in the UK. She was mutilated whilst living in Nairobi, Kenya.

FGM is practised around the world mostly in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Brazil as a form of ‘culture’, the girls are told it’s a right of passage to womanhood. “I was told it was for maturity, I remember, they would call you names and make you feel odd if you were a uncut girl.” Says Mary.

A non-medical trained person usually performs FGM with no anaesthetic and re-used tools such as a used razor. There are many physical and psychological complications that are associated with FGM victims. Not only when the procedure is done but also the long-term effects that stay with them.

Recent reports have revealed that over 65,000 British girls are at risk of having FGM and being taken to countries that practise this during school holidays. Whilst Official figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal that the NHS have treated more than 2,603 women and girls for FGM since September 2014 and that 499 girls were treated in January this year.

Comic relief is currently supporting the fight against FGM as well as other charities working to end it in the UK. The Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development (FORWARD) in particularly is working hard to educate people on the issue.

Adwoa Kwateng- Kluvitse the head of Global Advocacy and Partnership at FORWARD says: “I think everybody has a role to play in raising awareness of the issue, in challenging communities practising the issue and protecting girls who are at risk of having it done and to make sure that FGM is not linked to a ‘good marriage’.”

Mrs Mwangi echoes those words “I condemn it, I will never let my daughter go through it, I believe more girls should be educated on it, that they can say no and it is not a way to woman hood it is just a way to oppress women.”

FORWARD, a leading African diaspora women’s campaign and support charity focuses on three things, FGM, child marriage and Obstetric fistula. But their discussion of FGM is unlike any other campaign and unique in its approach.

The show room at FORWARD’s ‘something about bodies’ art exhibition held at the Red Gallery in East London is vibrant filled women and men from different ethnicities and cultures. All eyes are pinned to the powerful and bright artwork hung on the blank, crystal white canvases. The significance of the messages communicated through the art pieces is phenomenal, it depicts the pain and strength it takes to over come FGM. Art is one way in which the charity aims to bring forward gender equality and advance the safeguarding of the sexual and reproductive health, rights and dignity of African girls and women.

Poems read with such ease yet passion by FORWARD’s Youth team Young People Speak Out (YPSO) grip the audience as they learn the horrors and destruction of FGM through beautifully rhythmical spoken word. Youth member and poet Kadra Abdinasir, 25, explains why they use poetry: “Nobody really knows what FGM is and I wanted to understand it more myself and help other people comprehend it and get their facts straight, ” She then pauses and smiles. “People don’t realise its not actually something that is prescriptive in any religion, it actually pre-dates religion. It’s part of a whole wider patriarchal system. We need to understand it in the context of gender-based violence.”

The issue of FGM has become more widely discussed. Saria Khalifa the Leader of YPSO says: “I remember 5 years ago when I started on the youth program we would do one school every three or four months because they were not interested, but now we are averaging two or three schools a week!”

So far FORWARD has access to over 60 schools across London and they have just reached over 8,000 students. “We work with secondary school students as part of FGM awareness. We do staff training, parent sessions and we also help young people run campaigns in their schools,” Says Ms Khalifa. She adds, “We spend a lot of time in schools to try to get young people to understand how to create a supportive environment for girls and women to disclose and to feel as if they can get help if they need it.”

Further work is being done to ensure children are taught about FGM in schools. The personal Social Health & Economic Education (PSHE) worked with the Home Office and the Department of International Development (DFID) to create FGM as part of the PSHE curriculum in secondary schools, but there is a current problem with the education system. Ms Kwateng- Kluvitse says: “There is a challenge in education, PHSE is no longer compulsory in the school curriculum so where do we place teaching FGM?”

“What we are doing instead, is targeting schools with high proportions of children from practising communities to raise awareness for both boys and girls as to the health and human right violations of not only FGM but also child marriage.”

It is important for young women and men to learn about FGM in the UK and around the world. By raising awareness the world will be one step closer to abolishing the practice.

FGM FACTS

  • There are four common types of FGM
  • 125 million girls and women have experienced FGM globally
  • On average girls undergo FGM between the ages of 5-8
  • 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk in the UK
  • Over 23 different health complications can occur as result of FGM
  • Only 15% of midwives were familiar with available resources on FGM and where to refer women
  • FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985
  • Practicing FGM in the UK carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years

Source: http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/

For support, visit http://www.forwarduk.org.uk or call 020 8960 4000

By Priscilla Ngethe

THINK HAPPY!

I was reading this amazing poster that I have pinned above my bed and I realised it is way too inspiriting to keep to myself.

So may this inspire you to pursue your dreams or simply make you smile. Enjoy!

Live your life
Live your life

***

LIVE YOUR LIFE 

AND RISK IT ALL | TAKE CHANCES | TAKE THE FALL

LOVE WHAT YOU DO | DO WHAT YOU LOVE

SMILE!

IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT, IF YOU CAN DREAM IT YOU CAN BECOME IT 

BE BOLD AND COURAGEOUS WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON LIFE YOU’LL REGRET THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T DO MORE THAN THE ONES YOU DID

DREAM BIG!

BE GRATEFUL | GIVE LOVE | LAUGH LOTS

TO BE INSPIRED IS GREAT TO INSPIRE IS INCREDIBLE 

THERE’S JUST ONE LIFE TO LIVE AND NO TIME TO WASTE 

FEAR LESS HOPE MORE HATE LESS LOVE MORE AND GOOD THINGS WILL BE YOURS

TAKE CHANCES!

LIVE YOUR DREAM AND WEAR YOUR PASSION 

STAY HAPPY AND BE POSITIVE 

BELIVE THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE 

THINK HAPPY!

LIVE WELL LAUGH OFTEN LOVE ALWAYS 

ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOURSELF 

LIFE ISN’T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS IT’S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

KEEP YOUR PROMISES!

ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS, FOR ONE DAY YOU MAY LOOK BACK AND REALISE THEY WERE THE BIG THINGS

DO NOT GO WHERE THE PATH MAY LEAD  GO INSTEAD WHERE THERE IS NO PATH AND LEAVE A TRAIL 

GETTING LOST WILL HELP YOU FIND YOURSELF 

DONT GO THROUGH LIFE  GROW THROUGH LIFE 

LIFE IS A JOURNEY ENJOY IT!

DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING  LOVE LIKE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN HURT  SING LIKE NO ONE IS LISTENING 

REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE LOVED FOE THE WAY YOU ARE  DON’T TRY TO BE DIFFERENT 

DON’T WAIT FOR THE PERFECT MOMENT TAKE THE MOMENT MAKE IT PERFECT!

***

The unpublished open letter to myself

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but to be honest I didn’t have the right words to say. Over a year or so ago, I sat down and began to write an open letter to myself titled ‘self love’, but never got around to finishing it. It all started after a messy breakup (messy doesn’t begin to describe that horror!), I felt that I needed to go all out guns blazing about the importance of loving yourself! What a cliché thing to do after a breakup, right?

I sat at my desk repeatedly reading over this unfinished letter that I desperately wanted to share with the world, you know the one that paints you as the strong woman who can make it through anything and yes, that ‘I don’t need a man!’ kind of woman. But the more I read it, the less I was convinced. Every word I was reading was motivating and moving, but yet, I didn’t believe any of it.

Even though I still don’t have all the answers, I have learnt a thing or two from when I was 19. I now recognise that the reason I couldn’t understand my own letter was because at that point I hadn’t completely loved myself or even realised what self love was. I was wearing a beautifully painted mask, that could have been easily washed away by a soft shower of rain.

Different aspects of life including places i’ve been and people I have met has played a part in finding some of the missing puzzle pieces of who I am. The picture will not be complete for many more years to come, but I must admit I am enjoying every moment of this journey.  I cannot sit here and define self love because people love differently, but I can share a few things that I think have helped me grasp the concept. So without any more delay, here are my top 4 tips to help get you on your way.

Embrace change- One thing people need to remember and what I remind myself everyday is that we never stop growing. You may know who you are now, but by this time next year you would have gone through a number of life experiences that will change you. Things that we go through in the present change us for the future, this could also change your outlook on life or it can completely change your path. Don’t be afraid of growth and development, embrace it! More often we are scared of hearing people say; “you have changed”. I personally think this is a beautiful thing, if you haven’t changed then you simply are not growing. Remember a butterfly starts of as a caterpillar and rose as a seed, don’t be afraid to blossom!

Love ALL of your flaws- We all have them, in whatever shape, size or form! There is something about yourself that you probably do not like and try to cover up. For women we try to cover up our flaws in numerous ways, by the outfits we wear, the way we do our makeup and even how we do our hair (honestly, I can go on). There’s completely nothing wrong with taking care of your appearance, but there is a difference when you do it to try to change a part of you. Begin with trying to embrace what it is you don’t like, for example if you don’t like your legs, get out of those jeans and try wearing a skirt on a hot summers day! If you don’t like your ears, wear your hair up with a smile. I guarantee it’s probably only you that put emphasis on your flaws, honestly, no one really cares! Slowly start to embrace them and eventually you will learn to LOVE them!

NEVER compare yourself to others- You probably hear this time and time again but it is very true and I will repeat it until it gets through to people! You cannot compare yourself to others, no one on God’s green earth is you! No one can walk like you, talk like you, smile like you, for heavens sakes, no one can even blink like you! So please people STOP comparing! I understand that by the way some of us are raised (*cough* my fellow Africans) It’s likely that once or twice you may hear a relative say something along the lines of; “Oh [insert name here] son has graduated and is going on to be a lawyer now, why do you insist in studying Theatre?”. Or the old famous line used on daughters over a certain age; “[Insert name here] Is married now, where is your man?”.  Some things are better ignored or taken light heartedly, as long as you are secure in yourself and know where you are going, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something that is not created for you. Just take your time and be YOURSELF!

Know your worth- If I can have a dime for every time I have heard my girlfriends say this and a dime for every time I have repeated it, then I kid you not, I would be a millionaire by now. Honestly, I actually never fully understood this phrase until recently. Knowing your worth starts from loving yourself. When you Love yourself unconditionally, you then stop putting up with all of the bullsh*t! More often than not (which is a bit sad to be honest), women and men don’t know their worth and allow themselves to be degraded. I’m actually tired of seeing Queens and Kings being walked all over by peasants! By loving yourself you will not accept such fowl treatment, seriously don’t let anyone treat you like you are ASDA smart price when you are actually worth more than Gold!

Please do not take what I have said as law, as it is only a point of view. The most beautiful thing about life is that we are still learning and growing, and no two lives are the same.

At the end of it all we are trapped with ourselves and if you do not love yourself, who will?

Young Ladies Club Logo

Young Ladies Club Networking Event

Young Ladies Club
Lola Ogunbadejo at the Young Ladies Club networking event

Young Ladies Club kicked off their year with a networking event held at the Google Campus on March 21st. The atmosphere was electric and the venue was buzzing with tons of young ladies ready to begin and share their journies towards success.

The Young Ladies Club (YLC) is a platform that seeks to empower young women in the UK. The new innovative interactive club pinpoints different areas such as entrepreneurship, education, employment and personal development. The club also uses different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to interact with their audience, as well as host social events, seminars and motivational talks.

The night included guest speakers dishing out the best advise and tips on how to seize amazing jobs, and for those who want to be their own bosses; how to become prosperous entrepreneurs and maintain successful businesses. Speakers included Catherine Arhin the Managing Director and Founder of luxury home-wear brand Arhin Armah, Jordine Bartlett Journalist for the Financial Times, Lola Ogunbadejo the Presenter of TV show ‘Out & About with Lola’ on OH TV and many more influential women.

The night was truly a success and I can speak on behalf of everyone who attended when I say, I left feeling inspired and motivated to do bigger and better things in life! I am definitely looking forward to the next event!

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You Are Not In Love, You Just Love What He Represents

MsPriscillaN:

Women, are you really in love?

Post by Simply Sheneka

Originally posted on SIMPLY SHENEKA:

not-in-love-wedding-marriage-womenYou are not in love. Let me repeat, you are not in love. I am saying this multiple times because some of you need to finally acknowledge your situations for what they really are.  Far too long many women have carried on with a relationship that shouldn’t be. You used “love” as your validation but things are not what you have presented them to be and you know it. Your agenda and/or your fears will not allow you to be real with yourself, your man, or the friends/family involved. I understand you “love” the guy as in you do care about him. Hey I love/care about everybody but I know very well that the deeper connection needed to sustain a healthy romantic relationship will not exist with everybody I “love”. So how about you confess what this is really about. Let the world know what is really motivating you to…

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