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Women of Rubies

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Women who combine different career and stay focused don’t only win wherever they take their light, they also encourage other women to have  “Can Do” Spirit.  Ruth is making impact  and touching lives in Uganda, using the media as a toolkit, and her passion as the drive,

Ruth Atim is a Journalist by profession and has worked for both broadcast and print media. In 2019, she was shortlisted as a finalist in the Isu Elihle awards, a South African Media award that rewards innovative
journalism about children. Ruth also Co-Founded the Gender Tech initiative-Uganda (https://www.genderinitiativeug.org) a not-for-profit organisation that empowers women (mostly journalists) with digital safety/security skills and Digital literacy skills. She is very passionate about Gender and Tech and most of her work is geared towards ending online abuse that targets women and her work has been able to save many women from online harassment. Ruth’s seeks to Empower women from various spheres of life and
professions to fight Online Gender Based Violence.

Childhood Influence

Well, I didn’t have an easy childhood. I grew up in a family of 2 boys, and I was the only girl, raised by our widowed mother who later passed on leaving us to face the world. The world taught me that nothing comes easy, hence my inspiration to work hard and do the things that I do.

Why I pitched my tent in the Media sector 

I started my Media career when I had just joined university, after graduation, I decided to continue with the media because I loved it. It felt good getting paid for doing what you love doing.

Inspiration behind the Gender-Tech initiative?

 Well Gender-Tech initiative-Uganda is an organisation that supports women human rights defenders, mostly journalists with skills to fight online gender-based violence.  I have been a victim of online violence before, but by that time, I didn’t have any knowledge about it and I almost left the profession at that time because of the constant harassment. After attending a leadership program (Young African Leadership Initiative) and Safe-sister fellowship that empowers aspiring Tech Savvy Women), I developed a huge drive to start-up something that would support women and that’s how Gender-Tech initiative-Uganda came in place. We started out by having informal conversations with some female journalists and some of their thoughts shaped the organisation Vision and Mission statement.

 Being  passionate about online abuse that targets women in Uganda, and across Africa

 The online space has vast merits that women can and have to leverage on. But because of online violence, some of them have decided to do an internet detox, and this means that they are missing out on the opportunities and connections that come with being online. To avert this, I and my team decided to carry out numerous digital safety/security trainings in a bid to equip our trainees and beneficiaries with skills to fight online Gender based Violence. This has also played a great role in bridging the already existing and wide gender digital divide gap.

Challenges of my work

  As an organisation, most of our activities need funds, and it doesn’t come in timely. This has affected our work but we are now working towards self-sustaining projects.

Other projects and activities

Our other projects are school ICT Clubs. The purpose of these clubs is to motivate and empower young school girls to consider taking up an ICT Career. This is still in the initial stages but we plan to roll it out in upper primary and lower secondary students.

What I enjoy most about my Job

I enjoy the process of preparing content especially when I have a training coming up. It feels good knowing that you are working on something that will impact many lives.

 3 women who inspire me an why

To start with, Stella Nyanzi inspires me a lot. She is is a medical anthropologist, feminist, queer rights activist and scholar of sexuality. She is one of Africa’s most prominent gender rights activist and was recently awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award due to her poems and writings that have drawn her a huge fan base both in and out of the country.

Why she inspires me, is the length she’s willing to move on what she believes in is admirable. My second one is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This young incredible woman overcame an assassination attempt by the Taliban at the age of fifteen, to campaign for women’s rights and children’s rights to an education.

The fact that she advocated in an area where the Taliban pose a serious threat makes her an inspiration to me. She has fought life and limb for what she believes in. And lastly, Winnie Byanyima. She is an aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat. To me, her name screams hope and resonates with what a woman can achieve if she believes in herself a little more.

Byanyima was appointed as the executive director of the UNAIDS by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres following a comprehensive selection process. Before this, she served as the Oxfam International executive director.

If she can achieve this and more, why not me.

How I  balance your work as an advocate and journalist

Well, I just get my priorities right and plan for my day, a day before. I also love to delegate, because I believe that one can’t achieve much if they are everywhere doing different things. I focus on one thing at a go, and delegate if I am swamped.

Impact of your work in Uganda since inception 

I have trained over 300 young women, and the feedback just excites me. Many of my beneficiaries’/ trainee’s report being more comfortable and at ease maneuvering the internet without any fear of bullying or harassment because they know just the right thing to do in order to be safe online. That to me is a push to do more.

To young women who want to combine journalism with social work

 Both professions are fulfilling. Just find a way and strike a balance between the two, so as to be effective and deliver appropriately.

My view on Gender based violence, and how it is addressed in Uganda

Gender based Violence is everywhere and it was at its peak during the pandemic due to lockdowns and movement restriction. In Uganda, a few perpetrators are being held accountable for their actions, but we need to do more. Women are also very much aware of their rights which is a plus towards fighting Gender based violence, all thanks to the different stakeholders who have made it a point to empower the women.

Being  a Woman of Rubies

I support and empower women to be better versions of themselves.

 

 

 

 

There is nothing as motivating like a woman who is passionate about humanity, and has a strong affinity for change. Dr. Nimi Stephanie  Ekere is a Consultant Family Physician, a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Family Physicians.  She is also a Fellow of  the Institute of Management Consultants and a Certified Management Consultant.  Dr. Ekere is a Certified Management Specialist with distinction in Time Management from the London Graduate School.  Dr Nimi Ekere is also a child advocate, author, speaker, coach and humanitarian.

Dr. Ekere has practiced medicine in urban and rural areas for over 15 years and has endeared herself to her patients through her dedication to duties. She loves geriatric medicine and has had numerous training, workshops and certifications in geriatrics.  Dr Nimi Ekere also loves to guide children and teenagers into their full potential. She is a strong proponent of effective and intentional parenting. She convenes several sensitization programmes and has featured in many panels and conferences both in Nigeria and abroad. She is passionate about combating child sexual abuse, working through her foundation, the SmileandShine Children’s foundation, to tackle the menace.

She is also an author of 4 books for children, pre-teens, teenagers and parents on the dangers of child sexual abuse with effective remedies. three of these books are government-approved for use at schools in Lagos State. Just recently, all four of her books were approved and added to the curriculum of the Rivers State ministry of education to be used in primary and secondary schools in the state.

Nimi Ekere was recently featured by the York City Journal, as one of the most Inspiring Women to look out for in 2022.

Childhood Influence

I grew up in an environment of empathy, kindness, and charity. These qualities literally formed my ideologies about life. I grew up seeing my mother give and care for people so genuinely. Interestingly, my mother also saw her mum give out the little she had to the needy. Helping people and being kind come naturally for me and this is because this was all I saw around me whilst growing up.

On another hand, the zeal to read  also came from seeing  my dad read lot and this of course,  influenced me a great deal. I read a lot of newspapers,  journals, articles and even novels. This made me love to write and I started writing so early. I would write poems and short stories. I wrote a whole lot .So yes, I think my childhood prepared me directly or indirectly for what I do now.

Inspiration behind SmileandShine Children’s Foundation

I saw a profound need to save children as I had seen and related with a lot of them who were hurting so badly from the horrendous effects of sexual abuse. I had also encountered some adults who were still grappling with the effect of sexual abuse suffered in childhood. The scary part was that a lot of their parents were completely ignorant and even the few that knew their children were abused preferred to keep it “secret”.  Sexual Abuse was and still is an unpopular area to delve into, as the culture of silence has eaten deep into our fabrics as a people. It is said that our people wear silence like a badge of honour. People still hold on to false dogmas about sexual abuse and are quick to judge and shame the victim rather than the perpetrator.

The victims and their families suffer morbidly from stigmatization in their communities,  schools, market and even places of worship. I knew that I could change the narrative as I saw more and more children being sexually abused, leaving them with so many life long complications. I also noticed that a lot of parents didn’t know how and when to discuss sex education with their children. They would rather not discuss it or just keep waiting till the child is “old enough” , by which time they would have been fed with so many false information by their peers or even the internet. Being that I love children so much, I knew I could do my part to ensure that children are  protected  and kept safe from abuse especially sexual abuse.  This gave rise to SmileandShine Children’s Foundation, a non profit organisation that is aimed at preventing child sexual abuse and profering solutions to victims and those at risk, including members of their families.

We do a lot to create so much awareness about this menace by educating and enlightening children and even the general public on ways that child sexual abuse can be prevented. We also offer interventions in the sad event of an abuse. Smile and Shine Children’s Foundation offers primary medical and psychological care and in collaboration with other NGOs, ensure that justice is served and rightly so.

Impact and lessons from practicing medicine in urban and rural areas for 15 years

I would say that I am very dedicated and proficient at my job and this is judging by the wonderful feedbacks I get from my patients and even my employers. Beyond the fact that I love my profession, I see it as a CALLING  and intentionally love to make an impact in the lives of my patients. And being a Family Physician has helped me so much in this regard because it  actually goes beyond treating symptoms,  it is about the person holistically.  Being a Family Physician entails that I provide continuing,  comprehensive and  coordinated health care  to individuals and families across all ages, genders and  diseases and this requires a great deal of compassion, good interpersonal skills,  good work ethics, maturity, willingness to learn more and more,  patience and of course expertise, and letting these become a part of my life has helped shape me to the amazing woman and professional that I am today. Additionally, practicing in rural areas makes you more humane as you literally see what a lot of the poor populace go through. It brings out the humanitarian in you as you see yourself inevitably paying a lot of medical bills and this is why I advocate an open health insurance policy for every citizen of the country. As a rule, equity is my watchword at every point, so no matter the age, sex, race, socio-economic status of a person, it is non negotiable that they are treated impartially. Every life is important and this means that I go the extra mile to give ALL my patients the best. So whether it is in the rural or urban setting, my consistency and commitment to patient care remain unwavering. The lessons I have learnt from these years of practice would be that having a great measure of  empathy, and emotional intelligence are very important beyond your expertise. Being empathetic makes you do more to ensure that your patient gets the best that you can give, and emotional intelligence helps you understand that a sick patient may not be so polite or put together, so you are much more patient or tolerant.

 My books and testimonials from those who read it

I am an author of four books that address the issue of Child Sexual Abuse. Being a child advocate and working closely with abused children,  I  thought that teaching them  through  story telling about self protection, body boundaries and having a good parent- child relationship would be more productive and far- reaching. I thought that writing age-appropriate books would help them a great deal to understand better about the menace and ways to tackle it . I had always wanted to write children books and I was sure that writing on child sexual abuse in words that were comprehensible and relatable to the children would help them stay safe. Being one who loves children and works with them, I knew that writing age- specific books would resonate better with them and help drive home the message more profoundly, so I wrote “Some Parts Are Special” for children aged two to seven,  “Setting  Boundaries” for pre-teenagers, “Sparkles at Dawn” for teenagers and young adults.

I also thought it was ideal to write for parents and guardians who are literally primarily responsible for the upbringing of the child. Sex education is inevitable in parenting and a lot of parents do not even know what to do in this regard. “Into the Light”,  is my fourth book for parents, written to ensure that parents are equipped with the Whens, Hows and Whats of sex and sexuality education.  It is a well researched exposé that dymystifies sex education, letting parents and guardians know that sex education starts with an efficient parent- child relationship. This book will help parents and guardians know about child sexual abuse, how it can be prevented and what to do in the sad event of a molestation.

My books are approved in Lagos State Government to be used in primary and secondary schools in the state. Also in Rivers State,  all four of my books are in the curriculum of the Rivers State ministry of education and one of them is particularly recommended for use in the Junior WAEC Examination.  My gratitude goes to the governors of Rivers and Lagos States for this step taken to ensure that good  books on sex education are introduced in schools. It will go a long way to curb the menace. As regards the testimonials from my books, I will say that it has been amazing and mindblowing.  I get feedbacks about how children are so bold and empowered after reading the books. I must add that apart from the values and lessons that the books teach,  they were carefully and deliberately written to also enhance the children’s comprehensibility and improve their vocabulary. Children who were not bold to speak about body boundaries are now bold to say that no one has has the right to see or touch their special body parts( private parts). It’s been wonderful and I am so happy that these books are really impactful,  not just in Nigeria but globally.

My York City Journal feature  as one of the most inspiring women to look out for in 2022

It felt like a dream. To say I was exhilarated would be putting it mildly. I was even happier  and more shocked to know that I was the only black featured.. This just goes to say that our good works do not go unnoticed. God is watching and He definitely rewards our labour and sacrifice. People are watching too and as long as you are passionate and tenacious at what you do, the sky would not be your limit but your starting point. All the glory goes to God. I thank my husband and children for the support and motivation always. You truly cannot live your dreams and go very far without the support of a good spouse.

My husband has supported me amazingly. My kids too have been my source of strength. They are so excited to give me their clothes and belongings to the less privileged.  When we go to rural communities for our sensitization outreaches, my kids are always so happy to share their clothes, bags, shoes and toys to indigent children. This feature is an honour and I do not take if forgranted. I specifically give all the glory to God and promise to continue to do more not only for the Nigerian or African child but for  children all over the world.

Parenting and the ills of the society

I think the ills of today would have been curbed drastically if more attention was paid on effective parenting. A lot of innovations which were absent in the past but present now have their advantages but we know that there are lots of disadvantages associated with them. For example,  in the past,  children did not have to study with laptops and tablets. It was easier to monitor what children did at the time, not forgetting that the economy was better and at least one parent was more available. Right now, parents have to work really hard to give children the basic things of life and this leaves the children without adequate care, making them very vulnerable to abuse of all forms. So, whilst the ills of today will not go away any time soon,  parents must be ahead of their game with better and more result- oriented parenting skills that will keep the children safe and make them responsible adults. Parents must do more than parents in the past did as kids now are more knowledgeable and even more exposed to vices and ills via technology and westernization. This is no walk in the park as it looks overwhelming for parents but it is really achievable. My foundation ( smileandshine children’s foundation) has parenting classes and conferences and we are having quite a number of sessions this year. The aim is to help parents from all walks of life learn more about parenting and child protection in the digital age as this.

Other projects and activities

This year, we have quite a number of activities. I already mentioned the regular parenting classes and conferences we are putting together in a lot of states in the country. We hope to have  child protection conferences in as many states of the country as possible and this would involve children and parents. We also have a lot of programmes for  children in public and private schools to educate them on safety/ protection, morals and values. I am very passionate about the hard -to -reach children because a lot of them are left out in programmes like these, so we would deliberately be reaching out to them through various community sensitization programmes and a special project called the  “Talk to me project”, a programme that targets children in hard to reach areas,  teaching them about safety,  protection,  morals and career path. There is also the big  event, in September which is called ” the STRIVE conference, first of its kind for children, in Lagos State. This conference will have notable speakers, child advocates, religious leaders and role models speak to the children on how they can stay away from vices, protect themselves from abuse, live their dreams and become whatever they set their hearts to become. It is going to be a phenomenal one and the first of its kind in the country and Africa

3 women who inspire me and why

I have so many women that inspire me and yes, I keep adding to the list. I have been asked to mention 3 and I  will do just that(laughter). In no particular order, it would be: *Mrs Ibukun Awosika, I think she is phenomenal. Intelligent, humble, God fearing and so entrepreneurial. She is one woman that has excelled in every capacity and inspires me in no small measure.

*Prof Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, because she has literally raised the bar for women and proven that everything is possible for us as women if we believe and work hard. She has broken glass ceilings, challenging gender stereotypes in male dominated terrains. I see some of her attributes in me. Her resilience, tenacity and dedication to what she believes in, are qualities that women should strive to possess.

*Mrs Bola Tinubu, the founder of Ceceyarah Foundation is another woman that inspires me. Like me, she is a child advocate and I think she has done well in the area of child protection. She does inspire me a great deal.

Child sexual abuse advocacy, and the role of parents and Government  

The first line of defence for children is the parents who need to pay more attention to their child’s welfare, especially in the line of communication.  Parents need to communicate more with their children, a lot of times parents do not even know what is going on around their child even when the abuse takes place right in the home. Sometimes, children are so scared to discuss with their parents and they would prefer to walk the journey alone rather than tell anyone, including their parents. Again, parents need to be more intentional about their child’s safety and make efforts to ensure that their child is not put in harm’s way by anyone. For example, when you’re not with your child, make sure you run a background check on who is responsible for the child’s care, be it at school, church or even with relatives and  when you’re with your child, make time to cover for when you missed and what you missed.

Secondly, the government is the most equipped line of defence for the child. Policies need to be made in this regard, and enforced. For instance, child marriage is still boldly practiced in some parts of Nigeria without contention. Only the government can stop that. While 26 states have adopted the Child Rights Act, 10 states are yet to domesticate the CRA in their respective states. Even some of those states in which the Act has been domesticated, there are still concerns about enforcement. Lastly, we have to help ourselves in the society. We should watch out for possible predatorial tendencies, whether or not we are directly involved, and call out perpetrators. No one should be too big to pay for their crimes. If justice is rightly served, it would definitely serve as a deterrent to others and help a great deal to curb the menace.

One thing I wish I could change in the health sector

One thing I would change is the weak performance and famished state of the primary health care centres in the country.  I will strengthen and ensure viable and high performing primary health care services in all the 774 local government areas in the country and their  respective wards, and advocate for more budgetary allocation,  knowing that primary health care is the closest health care system to the common man and serves as a gate opener to other higher health care services. This will go a long way to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality in our country.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I would say that I am a woman of Rubies because I love to be the best at everything that I do. I go the extra mile for my patients, and I also believe that the depth of passion, dedication and hardwork I bring to my job(work) and the fact that I am very detailed make me endeared to my patients.  As a child advocate, I am very passionate about what I do. I put in my time, resources and all that I can give to ensure that children are safe. As a wife and mother,  I do my best to take care of the home front and also keep my kids safe.

See more photos of Dr. Nimi Ekere’s outreach programme;

 

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Show me a woman who is passionate about her work, and I will point my compass at Miracle Obiora, popularly called “Celebrity Cleaner”. She loves her job, and she does it with relish and pleasure.

Obiora Miracle Nzubechukwu is a native of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

She is a graduate of Criminology and  Security Studies from Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Anambra State, Nigeria. Miracle is the CEO of  Mummies Professional Cleaning Services (MPCS) popularly known as ‘Celebrity Cleaner’ on social media. The cleaning agency is located in Awka, Anambra State.

The hardworking  professional service provider has handled several commercial and industrial cleaning in the East and South-south, and it is willing to extend its tentacles to other parts of the country. It’s known for their excellence in delivering topnotch services to the satisfaction of its clients.

 Childhood Influence 
Yes, my childhood prepared me a lot, and  I owe my hustling and building spirit to my guardian (Mrs joy udoji), who happens to be my aunt from my father’s side, she took me in after my last mother passed, and I remembered vividly I was four years when she bought me to Lagos, she is and is still is a hustler that never gives up, so growing she really embedded in me that hustling spirit. My childhood wasn’t boring neither was it full of excitement, but it was good, we were just an average family in Lagos living day by day.


Why I went into cleaning services?
Initially, I started the cleaning to see my self through school, so as to bypass unwarranted insult from lecturers, but as time went by, I found joy in it, the peace and the comfort that comes with knowing that I can solve this problems and make a person happy.

Inspiration behind mummies professional cleaning services
Ans: Honestly, the inspiration behind it was God, and the first year I was about to start my business, I remember kneeling down to pray for a name to call my business, and the only words that kept ringing in my mouth was mummies, and till this day, that was the only name I can remember.

The journey so far
Honestly it been God’. Some days are rainy, some days are sunny, but everyday I keep seeing new methods and techniques in reaching my goal.


Services

We offer commercial cleaning services , industrial cleaning services which is mostly known as post construction cleaning for residential and private houses. We also do staff maintenance for houses. We also handle marble and terrazzo polishing. We also handle 3d epoxy flooring We are very good at before event and after event cleaning both on commercial and private level. We also do interlock polishing and compound washing.

Challenges
Mostly it is just client we feel may not be satisfied, but we are quite professional when dealing with them.

Other project and activities
No ongoing projects for now, I’m more concerned towards growing and pushing mummies to a very high and well known level.


 What I enjoy most about my job
The experiences it brings,  both the good and bad. I also enjoy the fact that I meet high personnel’s that always needs my services, and I the exposure it brings whenever we get to other states  in Nigeria to work. It is kind  of a tourist journey for me…And most importantly,  the fact I fix cleaning problems in people’s environment.

 3 women who inspire me
1) MO Abudu –  recently just made it to Harvard course, she’s exceptional, a ground breaking goal getter, that has been challenging status quo in the media industry.
2) Genevieve Nnaji –  she is a silent achiever, and doesn’t make any noise, I mean she is definition of silent billionaire in the igbo tribe.
3) Ovaiosa –  This lady is a true definition of hardwork, I am amazed everyday with the way she go out there in the world and get it.

Studying criminology and security studies but choosing another career path
Fate.. Because I have planted my seed in this industry.

Managing my business during the pandemic
Relevancy, consistency, and awareness. The covid issue was a nice marketing tools for us, because it helped us create an avenue for people to see the benefit of using a cleaning company to disinfect and clean your house.

If I could change one thing in the cleaning services business
Under-rating and under pricing from clients. It still baffles me how people are able to build houses of over millions of naira, and and when it get to the aspect of giving you a spotless and sparkling environment, you begin to under price a cleaning company. I always try to explain to my client that my services are premium, the mental and physical work I and my team put in are very sophisticated.


To young women who want to go into my  line of business
1) Get the knowledge and experience from a good cleaning company first. I personally was trained and trained in I worked for three different cleaning companies before I started.
2) Don’t go into the business with making quick money mindset, my dear Mark my word, the first six month you are likely to give up. Go in with the mindset of creating solutions, it the passion that will keep you in business.
3) Make research on your own, learn new methods and skills in the janitorial industry.
Lastly, have God, you will need him a lot.

Why they call me  ‘celebrity cleaner’
It is  actually” royal celebrity cleaner”, 60% of all the jobs we do are mostly from Royal families, and so technically I am a royal cleaner.

Being a woman of rubies
My ability to be a goal getter. I am a woman of rubies because I see my sisters rising and breaking the tides in every industry in the world and I am super proud that we are no longer confined to the backyard, but we are now are leading.

At the start of each new year, many of us have grand plans to repurpose our lives, careers, relationships and finances, however, we sometimes expect magic by hoping for the best but doing nothing to make it happen.

Is procrastination a major problem for you? Procrastination can have many negative consequences: deadlines are missed; opportunities are wasted; work is rushed with the attendant fall in quality standards; impressions are created, as you consistently arrive late at important meetings and events,because you didn’t leave home in time but put the blame on traffic or the weather instead.

Many people procrastinate to a degree, but if your case is a chronic one, it must be addressed swiftly or it will have significant implications for your future. The costs of procrastination are substantial in every aspect of life, but when it relates to delaying or putting off important decisions related to your personal finances and investments, the damage to your financial future can be excruciating. The financial cost of procrastination has effects on your emotional and mental health.

Are you still planning to insure your property or write a will? Are you waiting until your 50th birthday before you get around to saving and investing for your retirement? Do you routinely submit your tax returns late and end up having to pay penalties and late fines? Is budgeting something you have thought about but never really practiced? If you don’t control your spending now, you will soon be wondering where all your money went.

Our lives are shaped by many different life events, most of which come with financial consequences that must be planned for. By not planning in advance, by not saving and investing today for a more prosperous tomorrow, by not protecting your assets, by not planning for your legacy, you jeopardize all that you have spent a lifetime building.

Procrastination can be a chronic habit – so deeply ingrained that you can’t break it overnight. It can only stop being a habit when you take active steps to beat it. Here are some tips that should help:

  • Write down your money-goals and work towards them systematically.
  • Break down tasks to reduce any sense of feeling overwhelmed.
  • Start each day with a list and include at least one of the items that you have been avoiding; eat the biggest frog first.
  • Delegate. Can someone help you complete the task? Paying for that service may be a better option than delaying things further.
  • Find an accountability partner to support you and that will hold you to your plans.

Once you start to enjoy an accomplishment or two, you will be motivated to do more. Focus on the success you have achieved, reward yourself, and enjoy that freedom from the burden.

This year, be proactive about combating financial procrastination; it is one of the worst kinds as its consequences can be devastating. Unnecessary delays come with serious risks you cannot afford. Get things done.

Vimbai Angela Butawu is a Zimbabwean young social entrepreneur. She is an energetic, goal-oriented young lady with a heart for social development especially focusing on child and youth development.

She holds 2 degrees from the University of Monash South Africa. She graduated with her first degree in Bachelor of Social Sciences (2017) double majoring in Child and Youth Development and Criminology and holds a Postgraduate Degree (2019) in Business Management specializing in Corporate Governance.

Vimbai’s commitment to service is outstanding and has been internationally recognized. She was one of only 10 students out of more than one million students worldwide in the Laureate Universities network (200 campuses worldwide) who were recognized as honorees of the Here for Good Award—for making a positive social impact in their communities and countries. In the same year, through the MSA LEAD program, she was selected as one of the top 10 social entrepreneurs in South Africa.

She started My Africa Child and Youth Development Organization in 2018. Her dream is to make a positive change in Africa, creating opportunities for young people. She believes that young people are the future leaders and giving them a platform for positive growth will be beneficial to the development of the continent. Her vision is to create an organization that focuses on making a profit for good, thus creating a self-sustainable organization making a positive social impact on the continent.

On what she does at MACYDO 

MACYDO is an organization that focuses on the development of young people in Africa. We aim to groom young people to become influential leaders and change-makers in their communities and countries and play a vital role in Africa’s economic and social development. We believe that young people are tomorrow’s leaders; therefore, it is of utmost importance to invest in them positively.

MACYDO focuses on various sectors that play a role in young people’s lives: education, Entrepreneurship, Health, and Entertainment. MACYDO has been operating since 2018. The organization was found in South Africa and has impacted more than 50 young people through our talent-based Saturday classes.

In 2020 MACYDO Education launched a scholarship program in Zimbabwe, and we currently have 20 scholars benefiting from the program. The scholarship program focuses not only on providing education funding for the scholars but also on self-development, leadership, and entrepreneurship training for all our scholars.

In 2021 MACYDO Entrepreneurship pioneered a fellowship program for young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe – MACYDO Leading Entrepreneurs foR African Development Program (LEAD). The program focuses on empowering entrepreneurs with projects that impact the country.

 

Ameera Abraham is the CEO & Spa Director of The Nail Bar, a luxury nail spa and wellness centre and the founder of Nigeria’s premier professional nail care brand Amali Cosmetics. She is the author of “The Full Set” and also serves as the Director of Communications at the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa.

She is a qualified beauty therapist, holds a BA in Politics and International Relations and a CIBTAC Diploma in Spa Management.

Outside of her professional life, Ameera enjoys reading, yoga, volunteering and bonding with her children. She is an advocate of women and children’s rights & enlightening and empowering women in their various fields.

On what inspired her to start the nail spa 

The Nail Bar was first born out of passion but also a gap in the market, there was no nail spa at the time and I was eager to start a spa that would bring a professional and unique nail spa experience to Abuja. Amali Cosmetics, on the other hand, was born as a tool for education – particularly for fellow nail technicians – but also a non-toxic line of nail care for women of colour.

The market was littered with counterfeit brands of nail polish that were not only cheap but extremely harmful due to the toxic and unverifiable list of ingredients in them. I felt it was imperative to create a professional and high-quality local brand to counter those.

Ifeoma Uddoh is the Founder of Shecluded, a finance company providing women with access to financial growth services to help them achieve their goals. In December 2019, Uddoh was one of five female entrepreneurs to emerge as winners of a UK-Nigeria Tech Hub competition sponsored by the British High Commission in Lagos.

Ifeoma’s expertise lies in funding women, analytics, technology startups, and products. She has a master’s degree in management science and operations research from the University of Lancaster, UK. She has experience working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, iROKOtv, Wilkinson UK and Compex Africa.

With over 10 years of experience in Strategy and Consulting, she saw first-hand that women were notably absent from investment opportunities and from interacting with other financial services that could improve their lives, this motivated her to start Shecluded, with the sole aim f empowering women with funds and financial knowledge.

On what motivated her 

I lost my Dad at 9 years old so I was literally a product of grace and the amazing people that shaped me into this woman that I am, so I like to push myself to give back and as I get older I am conscious that the time is now. Then I love Jesus. I love thinking through and solving problems.

Advice to women on financial independence

There is so much on financial literacy like saving, investing, e.t.c and from a gender point of view, I usually want to give a response from my insight as a gender lens investor.

From the work we do in our wealth management arm at Shecluded, the best financial advice I have for women is  – have a growth mindset. If you have earned 100k as a receptionist for 3 years get angry and do something to change it. The same effort you put into changing your style to look updated, put that in your financial life. Many women need to increase their income to even be ready for the basic wealth roadmap. Invest in financial education and do what you have learnt.

 

“I’d rather have a cupboard full of herbs, than a closet full of heels”, says a popular Herb specialist. Herbs have many practical uses and because of this, they are highly favored by many. Herbs are usually small plants that are used for culinary and medicinal purposes although there are some herbs in use that come from trees and shrubs. The term herb or herbaceous plant refers only to the short-lived, non-woody plants even if they may bear seeds. Herbs are valued principally because of their aroma, flavor and medicinal property.

Herbs have been used by different cultures around the world for thousands of years. The pandemic also caused many to turn to herbs for healing. Ultimately, herbs and spices are an important part of our diet and our health.

Alatise Zainab Oluwatosin is a herbal practitioner, and healer. She is the founder and lead formulator of Ashabioge Herbal, a leading brand in the health and wellness industry in Nigeria.

The Ijebu Ode native obtained her national diploma from the prestigious Federal School of Statistics Ibadan campus.  After a personal health crisis in 2019, which led her to going back to her love of African herbs and roots, Zainab has been  committed to helping more people enjoy their life to the fullest using her tested and trusted 100% pure African herbs.

With her long family history of time tested and proven herbal formulations, which has been handed down for generations. Zainab is also currently enrolled in a world class institute for herbal formulations, in order to ensure that her brand meets with international best practices.

Ashabioge Herbal as a fast growing brand in the health and Sexual wellness industry has catered to people from all over the world, including but not limited to Dubai, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Canada, Chicago, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, and across the length and breadth of Nigeria with tangible results and accolades. The United Nations advocate for SDGs 3 – Good health and wellbeing, and 17- Partnership for the goals, shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

Yes, I can say that my childhood prepared me for what I’m doing now.  I grew up with a large family, and I remember that a time, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I fell sick for a long time, alongside 2 of my siblings.  We tried different options until my grandmother intervened and prepared something for us that was made from 100% herbs.

Since then, I have recommended that herb to different people, and it has worked for them everytime. That single incident made my family always resort to herbs which has been a huge blessing to us.

Ashabioge Herbal

I was inspired to start Ashabioge Herbal from the need to help others who were going through health challenges and were not seeing the results that they wanted. My desire is to help as many people as possible, improve their health, prevent needless health challenges and live a full and happy life with their loved ones.

Privilege of the herbal formulation passed down to me

Oh yes, I feel very humbled to have access to such wealth of health information that is helping people from all walks of life to live their life to the fullest in good health using 100% herbs from the African soil.

My products

Since 2018 when I officially started making herbal formulations, we have developed  10 products.  All our products are created  for one specific health challenge or the other. Few examples of our best seller formulations are; 1:Sabi men (for quick ejaculation, weak Erection, low Libido etc )2: Jedi ( for detoxification of excess sugar and toxins .)3: Herbal flusher (serves as general antibiotics for both male and female.) 4: hypertension tea ( The tea is formulated to cater for high blood pressure )

These products have sold in over 6 countries with hundreds of tangible results and testimonials from our esteemed customers.  This has made our customers free brand ambassadors who always recommend our products to their family and friends . Our vision at Ashabioge Herbal is to be a world class brand.

Institute of herbal formulations

In 2019, I actively started looking out for international training to help us realise our vision and the institute of Herbal Academy was recommended to me by a friend.  The aim of the institute I  is to help herbal formulators do better in formulation I am so happy that I went for the opportunity because our work has improved in the following areas; 1: Preservation, 2: Formulation  3: packaging

Challenges of my work

Logistics ( sending herbs to some countries from Nigeria is so difficult sometimes I have to first send to a particular country then move it from there to final destination this means I will get someone in the first country to collect for then send to final destination this is not free the person will charge me.Getting fresh herbs is so difficult too sometimes we have to use dried ones instead

Other projects and activities

Currently working on having some of my herbs in a capsule, tea bag and  hopefully our Jedi will be in CAN like a drink soon. Many people want to take herbs but they hate the bitter taste of some herbs so having such herbs in a capsule for people like that will be okay. Also many wants to drink there Jedi on the go that is why I will working JEDI soon

What I enjoy most about my job

Creating new recipe (I love it when I create new recipe for any health issues)

The women who Inspire me and why

My mum and my big sister Damilola Ewa. My mum has been so supportive even though at first she said must you do what your father does, why not get work with your certificate Tosin. People will fear you, this kind of business is not for a young woman like you and all sort but when she noticed I have not been going to hospital like I used to nor did I fall sick regularly like before she has been the one referring customers she taught me herbs her grandma thought her and her prayers has been working in my life and business

My sis Damilola, we met on Facebook she is a blessing despite being in the same business with me she kept showing me I have never seen a more beautiful soul than her and she is doing wonderfully well in the herbal industry too

To young women who want to go into the herbal business

They should get their formulation right and not just sell because everyone is selling herbs there is trend I noticed recently people sell because they see others selling which is very very wrong

Whatever business model you want to venture into, the first thing is to learn and research.

Changing the misconception and narrative about herbs

I use my platform to educate my audience on importance and uses of herbs I do advice them to also seek professional guidance not just use DIY (do it yourself) they see on the internet

What I wish to change In the Herbal sector

Make herbs accepted globally many people still believe herbs are not safe which is not true herbs is safe

Being a Woman of Rubies

I always look out for the girl child and educate the ones around on sex education I choose this topic because of what I have seen while growing up a lot of girls that we grew up together many young girls then under 17 got pregnant many of them did not even understand what sex is and the implications of having sex at a very tender age  .

Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children and Women of Rubies, put smiles on the faces of 100 seniors and vulnerable in Alimosho LGA and Makoko community with it’s Christmas Food Drive initiative. The project which was funded through the support of the public was a huge success.

The team went into the two communities to give food packages to the elderly in a bid to make them happy and feel loved.

Rubies Ink has been into advocacy, empowerment, and development projects since 2008, and runs multiple projects, empowerment workshops, trainings, campaigns, media advocacy, and women’s outreach programs centered around domestic violence, gender equality and women’s health.

They also organize the annual Walk against Rape campaign , celebrated over 1000 exceptional women through their womenofrubies.com platform, and raise funds online  for women and children in urgent need of medical and other support.

Speaking about the Christmas food drive for the aged, the founder of Rubies Ink, Esther Ijewere said;

“Old age is a blessing, we need to continuously make our seniors feel loved and appreciated. The pandemic has taught us to live in the moment and be intentionally kind, that’s one of the reasons we supported our seniors this festive season, In our bid to spread love and light. We appreciate our donors for their unwavering and continuous support over the years.”

The Project Coordinator, Michelle Inegbese said;

“This is what we love to do, supporting those in need, and putting smiles on faces. Our seniors deserve that and much more. We hope to do this more often”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see more of Rubies Ink work on rubiesink.org and womenofrubies.com, and follow their social media handles; Facebook- Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children, Women of Rubies, Walkagainstrape. Instagram; @rubiesink, @womenofrubiesng, @walkagainstrape.Twitter; @rubiesinkng @womenofrubies and @walkagainstrape.

The secret of multitasking is that it is not actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organization. Lola Adamson fits the bill.

She is an Actor, Storyteller and Content Creator. Her love for film, art and music blossomed at a very young age. Inspired by her famous artist dad; Kenny Adamson, It is safe to say she took after him.

Lola is passionate about the film industry, motivating and entertaining people. Her Love for all things film paved the way to storytelling which led to writing and reading real life stories, untold stories and fictional stories on her platform, Short Stories with Lola.

She was a publicist and talent manager for 9 years. Managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as: DJ Cuppy, Tiwa Savage, MI Abaga, and a host of others .

In 2017, passion and purpose kicked in and placed her on the path to pursue her acting career, which led to her recent appearance in Eddie Murphy’s “Coming To America 2”.

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Growing Up

I grew up in a creative and expressive environment. My dad is an artist, Kenny Adamson. Growing up, I spent most of my time with him. He was a single parent and I was his only child then. He taught me to express myself and to never be afraid, not even when it comes to risks or failure. He would teach me to learn from it and be a better person. I watched my dad earn a living doing what he loves. I’d always be in the studio with him watching him sketch and paint. Listening to a wide variety of music with him as he worked, I would see the joy on his face as he tapped his feet and stroked his brush on the canvas. And after each painting was done, we would sit on our stools, no music, no sound, just the 2 of us staring at the painting. Sometimes if he was alone, he’d call me to come sit with him and he’d ask “tell me what you see”. It was simply beautiful.

When times were hard, I never heard him say “let me learn a course or dive into a different field because we need money”. He would say “this is all I know; this is the gift and talent God has blessed me with. God has equipped me with the tools I need to earn and with God’s help, I will always succeed

Why I became a storyteller and pitched my tent in the movie industry

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be an actor, it always came first. The desire has been in me since the age of 7. Deciding what course to study in University, theater arts was first but I ended up studying International Relations for my undergrad and International Business for my masters. At that point, I feared I had outgrown any opportunity I had, I was afraid and lacked any form of confidence in pursuing a career in the film industry.  After many years working in the music industry, I realized the moment I wasn’t happy anymore that something had to change. I deserved to be as happy as the clients I was managing, they’re following their dreams, why wasn’t I doing the same? And so in 2017, I decided it was time to pursue passion.

I always thought of myself as a storyteller. It’s part of the reason why I am extremely passionate about the film industry. The desire to pursue acting opened the door to storytelling.

Short stories with Lola

In June 2021, I was thinking of what else I could do to bring in money for myself. I didn’t have a job then and I also didn’t want anything to take me fully away from pursuing a career in acting. I took a notepad and sat outside, I told the Holy Spirit to bless me with ideas and He said to list the things I love doing. I wrote out 6 different things and I got lost, didn’t know how to continue so I closed the book and told the Holy Spirit to bring me back to these ideas when it was time.  A few weeks later, during my therapy session, my therapist said “if I say you’re a storyteller, what does that mean to do?”. I was surprised but also really wasn’t because it’s a part of me. She continued and said “Lola God wants you to start writing and telling stories”. A week later, I opened my notepad, found myself on the page where I wrote out the things I loved doing and storytelling was the 6th thing I wrote. I started crying, It made sense. God spoke but I was unsure of how to move ahead, then He spoke through a familiar voice. I recorded my first story that week. That’s how Short Stories with Lola was born.

Changing career paths from talent management into film and acting

We’re all on different paths. For some, that one career is the path to do all God has said they would do in life. Purpose is a journey, not a destination. God will always move us and change things in our lives, there’s always more He has for each of us. Purpose evolves, it has different layers just like an onion. It was made a mystery for us to find. With my story, each layer has helped unlock the next. Do not limit what God can do in your life. Do not put God in a box. Take the first step and move and as you move you will see, learn and understand more. For some people, within their purpose for a season is another purpose.

The transition process 

To be honest, I still kind of worry sometimes but thank God for my therapist and life coach who has helped me with the process of challenging and eliminating limiting thoughts.  I know I am not Crazy for following this path. There was a time I thought I had outgrown any chance I had, I lost confidence in myself, was scared people would laugh at me so I locked myself in the cage of fear for over 15 years. Inspired by Ava DuVernay’s story, I told God I was ready.  I knew the minute I made my decision, it would not be easy. I believe I mentally prepared myself for the struggle, disappointments, rejections etc, and that has helped me hold on. I take it one day at a time.  For me it wasn’t and still isn’t a “will it ever happen? Am I good at this?”. I know that I am a talented actor, I know God didn’t make a mistake blessing me with this beautiful gift and I know it will happen. The when and how is what I leave to God.

I feel drained sometimes, the frustration sets in and I say to myself “I don’t know why I didn’t bring Tech or business head into this life o, I’ll be making money now instead of wondering if they’ll cast me or not. Or if I had just stayed in the music industry I’d have grown so much and living life like my colleagues” Lol. I know that’s the stress talking because I always end with “I will keep pushing”.

Impact and lessons from managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry for 9 years

The one great important thing I learnt was “in this industry, you need to have tough skin”. That alone teaches you there will be disappointments, rejections, disrespect but you know who you are and what your focus is. Humility will teach you how to be calm and ignore some things because really, not every action requires a reaction.  And also, never mess with your contracts. Don’t just leave it for people to read for you. Be aware of what you’re signing, how it favors and affects you. Hold yourself accountable because it’s also not just about you, there are other souls tied to your destiny.

Highlight of my appearance in “Coming to America” 2

Being on the same production set with people I idolize growing up was unbelievable. A blessing. Looking at the cast and thinking “this is real Lola, they’re real, it’s not a dream”. It was like God showing me the more He has for me if I keep believing, trusting in Him & doing the work. I was on set for 3-4 days, 14-16 hours each day, in winter. Many special moments but my fav was talking to Wesley Snipes at breakfast, told him I’m Nigerian. He saw me hours later at lunch & said “Bawo ni”, I lost my mind. I still wonder how he knew I’m Yoruba. Lol

Seeing Arsenio Hall maintain his character as Baba when the tapes weren’t rolling was an amazing learning experience. It wasn’t just a background role for me, I was in class, learning. I didn’t worry about taking pictures with the cast, I’ll take better ones with them real soon, on set.

3 women  who inspire me to be better and why

1, My late aunt, my dad’s twin sister. She was a mother to me, she raised me. My aunty Taiye was all about peace. She was sweet, her words were always encouraging and soothing. As a kid I always admired her dedication to her catering service. She catered to a few banks in VI back in the early 90’s. You’d see people from all walks of life around her, praising her, praying for her. She cared for many children in her life and watching her do that gave birth to the desire to always want to do something for children.  She was the true definition of “your life isn’t just about you”.

 2, Laila Johnson Salami. I’ve known Laila since she was about 18 or 19, we met before she finished university and she has always inspired me. She’s always known what she wants and has gone for it. I’ve watched her grow from then to now as one of the best news broadcasters in Nigeria She’s achieved all this at the age of 25. I’m excited for her future and proud to call her friend.

3, Rihanna. I admire her love for, and passion poured into making her country a better place. I love how she pours into her home. I desire to do that. I always say she got lemons and made the tastiest lemonade with it, lol. I love how she’s herself, there’s a vibe to her authenticity. She’s who she is and does what she does. Her journey is one for the books

Challenges of being an actor and storyteller

The major challenge with acting is dealing with the rejections or no response to projects I’ve auditioned for. Another is finances. This dream requires sacrifice, you must pour into it and spend a lot till it starts paying you. And with finances, you need a good job. Now a really good job will require my time and passion for it as well. Lol. It’s like a roller coaster sometimes.  With storytelling it will be writing fictitious stories, sometimes I am blank for weeks till something comes in. Other times are trying to convince people to share their stories.

Being a Woman of Rubies

Oh wow, lol. Wouldn’t be nice to list things. Really, It’s God. It’s God in me. That’s who makes me a woman of rubies and more. I always pray that when people see me, they see God. That alone gives me unexplainable joy.

To anyone having a hard time going after their passion because they’re afraid of plunging into unknown territories

What is the worst that can happen? We will all die one day. Do you want to die knowing you tried or knowing you didn’t try at all? It’s better to take risks, learn from your failures than not try at all because you let fear keep you trapped. It all starts in the mind. The mind is like a stubborn child that likes to throw unnecessary tantrums because it’s scared of what it doesn’t know. You are in control, not your mind. Who are you leaning on? Who’s leading you? Who are you surrounding yourself with?  Let God be your main focus, He will then equip & bless you with the right tools & people that will help motivate & push you to be the best version of yourself, living out the desires He has placed in you.

The art industry in Nigeria, support for artists, and need for improvement

In recent years I believe the industry in Nigeria is starting to support female actors and storytellers. It’s been a long time coming but it is happening now, women are making great moves and it gives me so much joy to experience it.  I would say the area of education, that’s the foundation. Let’s normalize reading books, learning about other great women who have walked this earth and accomplished great things and impacted the world with their stories and characters portrayed.

Talent management and future goals

I really don’t like to say never because the truth is, we don’t know what will happen or how we will feel in the next year. But, it’s not something I want to go back to. I’ve been offered a job in Atlanta to work with a new record label and I passed on it.