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women of rubies

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Temi Marcella Awogboro is a pioneer and change agent passionate about unlocking the transformational power of capital as a catalyst for profound change globally and transforming lives through her work. She has committed over half a billion dollars in impact capital across emerging markets to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Temi is a core part of the investment leadership team responsible for scaling Evercare from inception in 2015 to a global platform comprising 30+ hospitals, 20+ clinics and 80+ diagnostics centers operating across 6 countries. She has been instrumental in leading the investment in building and operating one of the largest and most advanced private hospitals in Nigeria in a bid to transform healthcare in the region. Through her early-stage investment platforms, she is building and cultivating disruptive, transformative institutions that will emerge as today’s regional champions and tomorrow’s global challengers.

Temi was appointed by the President of Nigeria to sit on the Nigerian Health Sector Reform Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice President of Nigeria. She also sits on the Equality Fund Board of Directors, Evercare Hospital Lekki Board of Directors and the Save the Children International Africa Advisory Board.

A recipient of the Future Awards Africa Prize, Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Award and M&A Advisor’s European Emerging Leaders Award, she shares her inspiring story with ESTHER IJEWERE in this interview.

Childhood Influence
I am proudly Nigerian with German and Scottish heritage. I was born in Nigeria, raised in the United Kingdom, and have lived and worked across four continents. My childhood was one of discovery, adventure, and exploration. While I never felt a stranger where I lived, I also never quite fully belonged. This lived experience forced me to forge a strong personal identity that was not wedded to culture, dogmas, traditions, and ideological concepts.

I was inspired greatly by the entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic and tenacity of my parents. My father was a medical doctor turned entrepreneur, and my mother was a Miss Nigeria beauty queen, technology systems engineer, and subsequently joined my father in building the family business that straddled construction, procurement and technology. These influences are intricately woven into the individual and professional I am today.

From a tender age, my parents and close family nicknamed me “Small But Mighty” because within my pint-sized package, came mighty aspirations. As a child, I always refused to be restricted by the limits imposed by external expectations of me, with a burning desire to push beyond the limits perceived in my mind or externally imposed.

Inspiration behind my career path
I am an investment professional with over 15 years of experience in developed and growth markets. I have always been driven by my belief in the power of private capital to transform lives and my passion to unlock the power of capital as a catalyst for profound, sustainable change globally. On this journey, I have committed over half a billion in private capital to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Through my career, I have been uniquely positioned to operate at the intersection of healthcare, finance, technology and impact – often referred to as an Impact investor/healthcare operator by day and venture capitalist by night. As the Executive Director with Evercare Hospital Lekki and previous West Africa Lead of one of the first and largest dedicated impact funds globally, I have been privileged to have been part of the investment leadership responsible for scaling the fund from inception in 2015 to a global platform comprising operating across 6 countries and highlighted as one of the top 50 leaders that will “come to define the world of tomorrow.”

I have been equally driven by my belief in the central role of technology in creating a better world. Through my early-stage investment platforms, Kairos Angels and the Magic Fund, I have invested in some of the best minds and disruptive teams that are emerging as today’s regional champions and tomorrow’s global challengers.

The journey so far
My life’s course has been determined by doing the hard things. My Evercare journey started in 2015, based on my belief in healthcare as a fundamental right. On this journey, we ran into a number of unforeseen headwinds, which nearly stalled the project, not least of which was trying to commence formal operations during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Against this backdrop, it was extremely humbling and rewarding to celebrate the key milestones and groundbreaking feats achieved within the first 12 months of operations at Evercare’s 1year anniversary on March 10, 2022. Some of these milestones include successfully completing several complex clinical procedures in cardiology (five open heart surgeries, two permanent pacemaker insertions), spinal surgeries, first-of-its kind paediatric surgeries in the country and becoming the first facility in Africa to get Safecare Level 5 certification on the first accreditation exercise.

While the journey continues and there remains much work to be done, I am indeed proud of the considerable progress that Evercare has made in the past year and especially proud to say that we are on our way to transforming healthcare in Nigeria.

Challenges
As I reflect on my journey to date, I have faced a plethora of challenges; navigating my career at the epicentre of the global financial crisis, encountering significant resistance trying to break into the private equity industry, navigating the extremely lonely path rising the ranks in male-dominated industries, witnessing first-hand the destructive impact of toxic leadership and failed institutions and juggling the demands of being a present and invested mother to two toddlers, while managing my professional commitments.

I have remained optimistic and learned to thrive under the pressure of doing the ‘impossible’ fuelled by a deep sense of purpose, an unrelenting tenacity, and an unwavering belief in myself. Failure for me is an unavoidable part of living a limitless life.

Other projects and activities
As we step into the fourth industrial revolution, I believe we are called to shape this technology revolution to empower people and create more equitable outcomes for our communities and the world. I am deeply committed to investing in entrepreneurs tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges. Through my early-stage platforms, Kairos Angels and Magic Fund, I identify aspirational entrepreneurs building impactful solutions, invest in this talent, provide mentorship, access to networks and functional support to power their trajectory. Across these platforms, we have invested in over 180+ entrepreneurs globally, many of who are already emerging as today’s regional champions and tomorrow’s global challengers.

What I enjoy most about my job
I am passionate about my ability to be a change agent and catalyst to transform lives through my work. This unique positioning has been fascinating and given an invaluable opportunity to work at the forefront of paradigm shifts globally. We are at a unique point in human history where world orders are shifting; new technologies are emerging. I have so many big and audacious dreams and I am excited to continue to bring these dreams to fruition.

Three women who inspire me and why
I live my life trying to take inspiration from everyone I meet. Some women who have made an impression on me include: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who stood out for me as an unapologetic, unstoppable powerhouse, relentless in her pursuit of social justice and quest for equality.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for her role as the female to serve as both finance and foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the visibility she has brought to Africa on a global stage.

Finally, Kamala Harris when in her inauguration speech, the Vice President of the USA urged young girls to “Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.”

This resonated profoundly with me as a woman who has often found herself in male-dominated rooms with few allies. I struggled with the absence of female role models until I embraced the power of my own dreams and started to see myself as the role model I was looking for.

The resilience of women during the pandemic
As an investor in healthcare, I have witnessed first-hand how women have stood at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as nurses, doctors, caregivers, innovators and as some of the most exemplary and effective leaders in combating the pandemic. It is no coincidence that women led countries most successful in stemming its tide and impact of COVID-19.

But the pandemic has sadly highlighted the disproportionate burdens women carry and their inadequate representation at the highest levels of decision-making. And new barriers emerged to impede many women’s progress, such as unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty.

Importance of educating and supporting women
I have been humbled by all the coverage and recognition received in this year’s International Women’s month. In particular, I was deeply honoured to have received the recognition by Lagos State as one of the EKO 100 Women. It is said that you can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women. ‘Women hold up half the sky’ and I am proud of the fact that His Excellency Governor Sanwo-Olu on behalf of the Lagos State Government took the step to recognise and celebrate the unending commitment of women to a more equal and equitable world.

Most important to me is the pledge to ‘support every effort to achieve a Lagos where all women and girls can live their lives to the fullest and achieve their potential without limits.’ My appeal is to continue to provide women a platform in the mainstream media and outside of 1 month a year. The strides many women are making are world class by any measure and deserve to be recognised, celebrated and amplified.

One thing I wish to change in the health sector
The single biggest issue facing the healthcare industry in Nigeria is the ongoing wave of brain drain, especially of clinical talent. Nigeria with over 40 per cent physician migration remains one of the leading African sources of foreign-born physicians. Evercare with its purpose-built infrastructure, best in class equipment, and focus on achieving quality metrics that meet international standards, is working hard to attract critical medical talent back to Nigeria from the Diaspora, thereby reversing some of the brain drain that plagues the sector.

It maintains a strategic focus of employing, retaining and investing in local resources to ensure a highly experienced, well-rounded, and diverse team, poised to support the advancement of medical care across Nigeria. I sincerely hope that my story and the work the Evercare team is doing, inspires more Nigerians in the diaspora to come back and take up the mantle of leadership to enable the nation to achieve its full potential both in the healthcare sector and beyond.

Being a Woman of Rubies
I love the concept of the Woman of Rubies as a forum for women across various walks of life to share their inspiring stories. As a woman that has risen through male dominated fields, trying to ‘have it all’, I am thankful for the platform to use my story to bring hope, motivate and inspire women all over the globe. I am striving to live life on my terms, fully embracing all aspects of my being and living the highest version of myself each day.

There is nothing that says you can’t be professional, ambitious, audacious, and successful but also be fun loving, free and love fashion. There is nothing that says you can’t hold down a boardroom and hold down your home. Women are powerful beyond measure, when we are liberated to demand and create the life we deserve.

My message to women everywhere is that you are powerful beyond measure, and your voice matters. Do not feel less entitled, expect more, take up more space and demand more, be bold in challenging the status quo. Finally, teach your girls to embrace a world of possibilities, to be proud of their ambition, regardless of their gender. Send them a clear message that they can be whomever they chose to be, and applaud them every step of the way.

I choose to live a life that is purpose driven, passion filled and performance oriented, and continue on my journey not focused on the pursuit of perfection, but led by the voices of those who christened me ‘Small but mighty’. They challenge me to create and compete; to build and nurture; to take risks and to leave my legacy.

Excellence Anurika Joshua is a Digital Skills Expert and Pan African social entrepreneur on a mission to boost the economic development of African women.
She is a Founder, Digital Media Consultant, a Pan Africa social entrepreneur, and a blooming African development expert who has trained and created job opportunities for over 3000 young African Women in the Tech Space since 2019.
With her passion for young women, She founded  Techy Train Incubator, a Nigerian-based onshore and offshore training and outsourcing organization that specializes in equipping African young women and female entrepreneurs with digital skills to empower them to get jobs in their countries and to also maximize remote job opportunities around the world, reducing the gender wage gap and to also support capacity-building among African companies and startups development worldwide.
She started an initiative in 2021 under the Techy Train incubator to train young ladies & women for Free, especially those with financial challenges and with no jobs to cater for themselves and their children.  As there are so many opportunities in the Tech and online space that are yet to be tapped, she believes that with thorough guidance and training she can help women especially those who are suffering in abusive marriages become financially independent with just their phones and data helping them set up a thriving business online.
She then set up The Tech-Up Girls Initiative with her team to empower 5000 young women across Africa with basic digital skills before the end of 2022. So far, over 3330 have been empowered from across 19 countries in Africa and assisted over 400 women in being gainfully self-employed using digital skills.
In 2019, she became a World Bank Fellow, and won the AGS survivor-woman award; in 2020 she won the Wrapper Initiative award by Erelu Bisi Fayemi and became the winner, Mentoring Her Pitchaton as well as the 1st Runner-Up of The Youth Innovation Challenge by The Funding Space. In 2021, she emerged as one of the winners of the Startup Lab Pitch Competition of the Nigeria Tech Summit.
As a Business and Digital media consultant, she obtained certifications from the International Association of Professions Career College, the School of Marketing, and The Call Centre School. She also obtained a Mini Masters in Business Administration from the International Finance Corporation (a World Bank Group) as well as other certifications in business, finance, and marketing.
She is an alumna of the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan Atlantic University; an alumna of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs and a member of the International Association of Professional Social Media Consultants (IAPO).
To widen her horizon of knowledge to better develop more sustainable solutions towards the socio-economic development of African women and the world at large, she applied and got admitted into a graduate degree program in Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.
She is a trailblazer who is passionate about using technology to drive change across areas in women, health, and education.
We celebrate her.

 Members of the growing and influential movement of social entrepreneurs and innovators, Catalyst 2030, will gather with world leaders during Catalysing Change Week 2022 in answer to the universal call to find bold new strategies to make the world a more sustainable and fairer place for everyone.

Launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2020, Catalyst 2030 comprises more than 1,500 people and organisations who are active in over 180 countries and who directly reach an estimated two billion people

For five days from 9-13 May 2022, you will have the opportunity to join millions of people across the world at Catalyst 2030’s Catalysing Change Week (CCW). CCW2022 offers the unique opportunity to engage with the world’s most innovative changemakers as they collaborate, co-create and share best practices.

The week-long event is open to everyone who is interested in learning about the growing Catalyst 2030 movement, its work and successes in tackling the root of some of the world’s most difficult challenges, as it seeks to accelerate attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Journalist and Founder of Rubies Ink Initiative, Esther Ijewere, will be hosting the virtual zoom session on Media and Public Policy session on the 11th of May. The session kicks off by 9.30am WAT, and 10.30 CEST.

The speakers​ for the session​ are; Gusi Tobby Lordwilliams of Girl Hub Africa, Senior Software Analyst, and Mental Health Advocate; Larmmy O​g​idan-Odeseye, Journalist and Co-founder; The Gender Initiative ; Ruth Atim, and Communications expert; Rafiat Atanda.

“With over 250 sessions and activities between 9th to 13th of May​​ globally, it is a privilege to be hosting one and bringing such a crucial conversation to the front burner, as it relates to SDGs 3, 5, and 8”, Esther Ijewere said.

Jeroo Billimoria, Catalyst 2030 spokesperson and one of the movement’s co-founders said the event provided a crucial platform for the social innovation community and world leaders to brainstorm and collaborate to explore solutions to these challenges.

“Time is simply not on our side and people are suffering unnecessarily as the UN’s 2030 deadline to meet the SDGs looms. We need to make the most of every opportunity to work together towards making our collective dream of a better world for all people a reality,” Bilimoria said.

“We are excited that Catalysing Change Week 2022 will again bring together a diverse group of experts, social innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders from the private sector and government.  In a spirit of true collaboration we will listen deeply to understand the challenges and collaborate as never before to change the world for the better. Some of the problems that will be tackled include poverty, disease, food security and the pervasive global lack of access to basic services like health and education. Participants will tap into the collective wisdom around systems change while forging partnerships across countries, regions and sectors,” Billimoria said.

We invite the media and general public to join this panel session aimed at highlighting the role of the press and policy makers.

Please register to attend​ the Media and Public Policy  session​ with this link;  https://t.co/rmMhp3ECB1

Register for other Catalyst session​s​ here; https://catalysingchangeweek.catalyst2030.net/events/

​Read more about Cataylst 2030 here; ​https://catalysingchangeweek.catalyst2030.net/about/

Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode is a criminal justice psychologist and prominent child rights, activist. She is the Executive Director of Media Concern for Women and Children Initiative (MEDIACON), a non-profit organisation listed by the UNDP, which works with child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.  

Dr. Princess is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape, who has transformed to become a conqueror and fountain of succour for not only child victims but adult survivors as well. Started the first rape crisis centre in Nigeria in 2005 and reached hundreds of thousands of child victims, their families, and adult survivors of sexual violence. She shares her inspiring story and the inspiration behind her upcoming boot camp with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence

OK about my childhood, looking back I will say yes but if I was asked this question maybe like 20 years ago, I would have said NO.  Looking back from where I am now in my life, I would say my experiences as a child prepared me for today. My parents were expecting a boy, and I arrived a girl.  I started in life proving that I am good enough to fill the boy space, and this put an extra push on me. That’s the same way I’ve committed myself to whatever it is I get into, I put myself into…

When I sit back and put on the 3D glasses, looking back, my life and the different experiences I had, yeah, I will say yes. My fighting spirit and ability to focus at one thing at a time were qualities I acquired. Looking through attending a private school, leaving at Primary to join a public school. So, you can see my experiences vary across class.  I experienced all this child I can understand someone from that background, I could really blend into various class sets. This is making made me smile… I was arrogantly stubborn and heady. Imagine me at 15 telling my father that he should focus on his other children, I will sort myself. You are self-made man; I will be a self-made woman. I’ve always been a fighter and that’s what I’m still doing. I stood up for the hurting, wounded, cheated even to my detriment as a child. I never liked injustice.

Inspiration behind  Media Concern Initiative

Starting Media Concern Initiative (MediaCon) has nothing to do with my being a survivor.  I was working with The Punch Newspaper and managing two pages focusing on woman. I avoided doing the regular focus of most women’s section – make-u, fashion, parenting for mothers (lol), cooking, you know home front issues and about how women should do better.  I did differently – having two full pages per week. I began to raise social issues and one of them was on Child Sexual Abuse – no one was talking about abuse. This invisible Tsunami was totally ignored as a nation. The response across the nation was huge. Adults from all six Geo=political zones in Nigeria responded. Over 1000 responses received through the newspapers Private Mail Bag and email. we had bold the private meal bags and middle course my first email was opened for me because My first email address was opened for me in The Punch. The column was ‘Princess’ was my name, so I had to use my second name Modupe Kayode. The response from adult survivors, I think more than 65% were men, women were about 35%. It was scary to see the pain, wounded and still suffering at what they had no control over what happened to you as a child, and the experience (s) still has gigantic impact and influence on adult survivors lives for worse. MediaCon was birthed as a name based of my publishing the issues around Child Sexual Abuse. I left the Punch, joined Journalist against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria, and worked in media advocacy and activism for two years. MediaCon continued its work on low key, educating teens in my living room for those years.

In 2002, I felt really bored at work. I had attained the height of my work and had no more challenges. I strive on challenges. I just needed something else excites me it was no longer exciting, and I didn’t just want to resign, without having something definite. I started feeling like it was time to move on. So, I sought God’s face on What Next? I waited for my church’s end of year event – Shiloh 2002, and I got my answer – Sexuality Minister, between God and I. The answer was the last thing I wanted in my life. Though this affirmed I couldn’t have come up with it myself… I never really imagined that I would have anything to do with the three-letter word – SEX. My personal experience with the word was not encouraging at all. It is like having to live through all my worst experiences again.

Finally, I succumbed and accepted my faith gladly. Then I decided if this the way to go, how best am I going to do it? Then plunged into research. What has been happening in Nigeria? What are they doing? Who was doing what around sexuality? What did they focus on and how? After visiting some organisations, apart from online searches, articles, abstract, reports, etc. I   concluded to settle the organisation’s focus on the Child Sexual Abuse

During the preparation stage, we were working at the back-end strategizing, when I received a call. Till this day, I have no idea who gave the parent of an eight-year-old, who had been sexually abused girl my mobile number. We had to step out much earlier than anticipated.

Very few people knew I was doing this. There was no official announcement yet. The parents of the little girl were both police officers.  This little girl could barely walk properly. She had an infection; part of the presentation was the migration of pin worms into vaginal area.  A doctor joined us in research. I found a Professor, back then he was a doctor – Sunday Idemudia of the University of Ibadan. He was invited to participate in the very first Media Roundtable organised by MediaCon to hold on this topic. That was with the beginning of media roundtables. She (the little girl) ignited my action button, boosted my passion, and heralded the fountain of inspiration. First it was God, you know and then, also the reality of seeing a little girl, who couldn’t walk properly, infected because of sexual abuse by very close family acquaintance – the son of the girl’s Godparents who at that time was a law undergraduate in a State University in 2003.

Together with an awesome take off crew, in addition was collective inspiration. I can’t even make claim to it. The appearance of that family and the timing ascertained we were the right path that and so that was it and there was no stopping us.

Being A Survivor Of Rape And Child Sexual Abuse, And My Healing Process

Hmmm… My healing is all together another phase of my life.

I never shared my sexual abuse experiences with anyone growing up. Though my parents did discover one – he was actually caught in the act- a paternal uncle. l lived with pain that , was that all my father and mother could do to protect me. Back then, my dad told my mum to “…take your daughter and go clean her.” Looking back now, I can see why he called me names most of my childhood. Interestingly enough, I have never seen the part of it, until answering these questions. My dad called me , Ashewo.” It never really bothered me. I never opened up about any experience before or after that.

I started research on Satan and Sex, this was one of the ways to deal with the issue. I enjoyed majority of the consequences of sexually abuse and this I got  to know from researched from mainly the United States. Yet I was born and live in Nigeria.

When my purpose was realigned to help save others, bring hope, healing, and justice… Working with other survivors, working with perpetrators, attending, and participating in strategic events and  self-development programmes. Connecting with therapists, and most of all my faith I God. I began to heal…It is still an ongoing process. You just get better, stronger, forgive and forget.

I fought a long battle. My work at MediaCon also helped.

I still believe that it takes God to heal from these experiences, but therapy is necessary.

Wearing Multiple Hats And Staying Grounded

Indeed, I do wear many hats … uuummm and it can be scary too, even for me…. because there are times when I want to answer what is it, I do, and it’s like bragging … you know, and this never ever my intention.

Sometimes you see me in a particular programme with a title, and then in another programme or event, and I have another title. That’s because I wear multiple hats.

My work in MediaCon is exposed me to many skills, aside the ones I had when starting the organization. My background is writing. I just loved to write, This I noticed in secondary school. Also, I wrote a lot of poems. I was known to do the best love prose… I was not business like, otherwise, all the free write ups should have earned me a fee. Maybe even make a lot … lol…

So here I am coming into this work, of course I had a little background in journalism and so here I am facing this new assignment, I don’t know anything apart from researches, studies, and my experiences as a child victim, and survivor. I didn’t really study journalism, until much later.  just you so you know, I can align with a lot of things. Being a learner and knowing how to ask questions from various angles was helpful and so we continue to work and began to fill the gaps and lapses that we had in terms of skill in terms of qualifications. So much more for me was skill actually and together with my staff, we began to build capacity. Apart from working with the Media to keep this subject in the fore.

My personal capacity grew – as I became a Certified Forensic Interviewer, Trauma Management Counsellor, with criminal justice psychology background. You know just different things, looking at the gaps that we needed to fill up, to enable us to do and give the best. I sought to be on top of the work – Got more training on Crisis Centers Structures, work, and the intervention with survivors; Victim Advocacy; STEPS Counselling Therapy & Treatment; Working with children and teenagers on inappropriate sexual behavior. I was just on a learning spree, with placed me and staff capacity was also being built…

I did a lot of training and have a lot of certifications. I am a Master Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, did Family Systems Engineering; moved to take on How To Think courses. Just empowering myself you know, a Premium Sexuality educator you know and a SGBV response expert, a Child protection and safeguarding policy and procedure strategist. I do consulting in that area I help schools and organizations develop their living and workable child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures. I do forensic interviewing and child interviewing, not interrogation trainings. I love my hats. Like you said I wear quite a lot and how do I manage.  When I was starting out, my husband was supportive. He encouraged me. There were times where, I got to work and will be informed I was traveling same day. When I want to refuse, he’ll say don’t worry. Imagine, I had a wardrobe at work. Yes. With my husband’s permission of course. He encouraged me and kept the Homefront going. Of course, my older children were part of my support system, and my faith in God. They were awesome. They allow my spread my wings.

Nearly 20 years plus in this work, I don’t play with self-care now. Back in the days, even when I do understand self-care, it was something that I made sure my staff and I do. When I noticed they are fatigue, we could shut down the office and just go to the beach and go to the cinema. I couldn’t bear them drained, particularly when they will refuse to take time off. That bunch… lol Watching them and seeing them drained. So much to do, being the foremost organization on prevention and providing crisis response back in the days – opening the first rape crisis center in the country and attending to not just Lagos, but the nation was a lot. Also, I am privileged to have a lot of good people around me um who took me in, some as my mentors and some mentees and lot of sisters from this work.

Lastly, if you know me, I know how to play.  I play a lot and I dance.  I watch movies and play my Candy Crush.  I love dancing and playing with my grandsons. I have three now.

I used to carry work home but that changed a long time back now. I arrive home from work, fling my shoes, start pulling off work clothing and right back on my laptop or attending to the 24hr helpline. That had to stop. Work time, family time. there must be boundaries.

Presently, it is like I’m detached, that’s because I’m no longer emotional about issues. I do empathize. I’m just not into sentiments. The Nigerian factor… I listen but I’m not going to jump straight out… you know when somebody has a case of domestic violence or something like this you see everybody come but that wasn’t me before. I’m calm now, objective about what exactly needs to be done about this issue. It’s not only jumping up and down

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

It will be bureaucracy.  Emergency was not a word that received attention as it should. This put a lot of burden, as child protection and safeguarding issues required on the go. You must submit a letter, which will go through many desks before action can be taken. Sometimes, more danger or even loss of life or family, sometimes, key witness has been taken out of state.

This is no longer the picture, but a lot still needs to be done.  The lack of understanding of the dynamics of child sexual abuse, our laws, multisectoral sector and implementation was a challenge. Because I have been researching on this topic a long time, I understood the law, the legal aspects and law enforcement. It was very frustrating that we had to be filling the gaps at different crossroad. Filling gaps with capacity building of staff both locally and internationally.  Oh my God, one of the greatest things MediaCon enjoyed was that we had awesome funding partners, they wanted to see us grow.

Another challenge was crisis management. It is great to note that there was no funding for crisis management. Crisis management took the magnitude of money. When a case is reported, the organisation bears the cost of logistics for the case – provide transportation for the family involved, food for the family involved, medical, etc. MediaCon relocated five families completely for their safety and most of all for the wellbeing of the children in Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja. The families got rented self-contained apartments, secured to avoid access to the children. I mean gate and basic furnishing to comfortable living standard. Mothers were set up in businesses and school fees are paid for the children. Organisations like ours must be the ones who bear the financial brunt to enable us assist child victims, their families, and survivors with very lean resources. The criminal justice system was not encouraging back in the days, we had a case of a girl who was four when she was defiled, at nearly 12 or 13 years old, we got conviction, after incessant adjournments…

Then investigation, there were lots of bottle necks, there’s so many things we did, such as actually undertake brief investigation, before writing a petition – this happened around 2003-2005. Back in the days, police didn’t work so well with state social workers, this affected children, who needed protection, MediaCon was able to bridge this gap.  Pornography was easily accessible to children, sold on the streets for as cheap as a hundred Naira, child sexual abuse reports were increasing daily. MediaCon and our Children Advisory Board members together with the Ministry of Women Affairs and State Children Parliament acquired over 1000 children appended their signatures to a Save Our Soul (SOS) document delivered to the Stae House of Assembly Speaker and top representatives in 2007.

I brought cases home, working with the Ministries, girls were taken into my home. My family was targeted, to the point we had to relocate within Lagos leaving our property behind. Our lives, that of my staff were in danger many times over. Who would keep us safe? International community supported our relocation. Our office was burgled, only the crisis management laptop was stolen. The attacks were clearly case related… Keeping us safe became a challenging.

Family and so ictal intrusions based on myths, and the devil was a were also a challenge. Knowing the subject of our work – children were mostly abused. More than once, men of God came to my office to plead for an adult sexual molester – telling me how this person has changed their ways and the devil was responsible. Of course, they were arrested right in my office by plain cloth Police Officers – Area G Commander worked so well with us in that regard. The understanding of the society was a huge challenge – lots of interference in the cases. We kept putting up educational, sensitization and Enlightment programmes and materials across 5 languages – Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, English and Pidgin English.

My Upcoming Boot Camp On How To Start Sex Education With Children

About, the boot camp programme- It is about how to start and keep the sex with your children going. This course was first introduced in 2016, on Teachable.com platform and over 250 parents trained. I was just testing the market and it was free. Over the years, more parents and care givers have taken the course and paid for. However, for the first time in this training programme, other experts are joining us.

 We shall be looking at emotional intelligence for the sexuality education talks and looking at how to keep your mental health in check – you know the culture of the generation we are in is quite different from that of parents and adults. We are delving also, on how to think – critical thinking and on the spot thinking when it comes to issues of your children and of course of sexuality and different things that are around us.

In addition, family life as we know it, is not the same. You know deep down that as parents you are not really prepared to even face or acknowledge them. Family cultures, values and beliefs need to be revisited; we have an expert to help us in this terrain.

We shall also looking at inappropriate sexual behavior. One thing of parents shies away from – not wanting to accept your child is misbehaving and for some unconscious labeling and dumping the responsibility as that of the devil, the woman in the village, village people, the mother or siter in law who doesn’t like you, etc.… So, cover them.

 I know that most parents want what is good, even best for their children and must be able to make sure there is balance. Unconsciously too sometimes, parents are the ones, even creating the damage. When you do not know when to draw the line.  The Bootcamp will take incognizance the recent happenings and putting a searchlight at real of things happening around us as regards the sexuality culture of today, and how as parents you can position yourself to do good, better, and even great.

I remember back in the early days of media con talking about 2004 and 2005, there came the era of recording gang rape, recording on mobile phone and sharing – some went viral… It was like teens started creating their own porn. They rape, gang-rape, sexually assault a girl, record the girl and themselves, but without the faces of the boys – show everything that occurred and share it, sheer wickedness. So, we have seen quite a lot and It was horrible. These are our sons living double lives. So many girls were tortured and humiliated. Some will never know how far the video recordings reached.

MediaCon was able to trace some of these girls, got the girls and arrest were made, but they were too much…

 As a person who is very involved in the sector, I’m talking about the child sexual abuse prevention and crisis provision sector, we saw as children to children begin to escalate. Most people assume that sexual abuse can only be committed by an adult. That is what we are used to in the news, but we are finding quite a lot of inappropriate sexual behavior and activities between children. Also, we began to see that children were being convicted on rape cases as adults this happened in United States of America. Quite a lot because we’re monitoring global happenings. Child to Child has been around for a while and has been escalating since then as far back as 2001, escalated about 2012. An example of sexually assaulting rape and video taking was the famous case of the Steubenville High School back in 2012.

Attending this Bootcamp is a parent’s game up…  yes, you’ve just got to game up… no more excuses… The church is not responsible to teach your child, the Islamic educators are not, even to an extent, it’s not the schools responsibility.

Yes, there are some arguments about what the content of school-based sexuality education must consist off… I am in support – what is it appropriate and what is not…

You must understand how you to develop your family safety plan and a lot more that you will get introduced to other things that will be very helpful for your children. So, it’s a course you must not miss, and like I said many experts are going to be a part of it. It takes place from May 1st – 8th

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

 A chance to see there’s a woman and child safe. There’s a home to keep safe.  Living… really for me is saving life – one life at a time.  I love my work. I must say to you, I live by giving hope. I live by providing healing. You know so that’s just what yeah in I breathe every day of my life. I just want to give hope to people and bring healing. I live my work because it gets me to play that role, I love children … This comes naturally to me… Everywhere I go, children are drawn to me everywhere I go in the world … At the airport, you see children drawn to me… It’s interesting that some parents try to keep them back. I’ll plead them that it is okay, leave them. I’m not surprise that I end up working for them and with them. I love it because my experiences tend to give deeper insight into some things. Growing in the work also has given me working experience, which has been quite helpful.

 I love my work I could just wake me up from my sleep anytime, and I’ll jump into effortlessly. I found what I could do for free and get paid for. It is like playing just myself enjoying myself enjoying my time you know giving into a life really meaning.  it’s just so beautiful to be able to do that and when I work with a team, I mean that’s family for me. I have that family culture everybody comes in with one so we can work together. I see you I can talk to you and I’m just grateful for my life, I am grateful to have work and still working with awesome individuals.  Yeah, we have differences, but I love what I do and I’m in it.  if I’m doing anything I mean to it I mean I give it my whole …my ALL

Government And Support For Stakeholders In The Gender-Based Violence Sector

As someone who works in the SGBV sector, the government plays the major role to keep her citizens safe. Provide succour to the wounded, afflicted, and abused, etc.  what can I say…hmmm from when we started back, it’s a bit better NOW… it is better though some of the battles are still the same.  but look at the long journey back and over 20 years, we need to come up as a country with a very comprehensive crisis provision. Crisis provision includes prevention.

We need to set aside and add to country and state budgets – support for stakeholders at the different levels.

Empowering of Criminal justice sector officials and maintain continuous training and retraining by updating and reviewing and working together to discover what would work for us as much as we look at ours and others best practices.

We are far better than where we are coming from… Yet, the hurdles on the pathway to giving optimal care and services still exist. It is no joke really. Crisis response is about life and death sometimes. With a population of over 200 million, we have less than 20 functional shelters. Medicals, Therapy, Relocation, if need be. It is private organisation bearing the cost – that should be government provision. And people should stop believing that NGOs is all about collecting foreign funds. There are people and organisations working tirelessly, even some government MDAs (Ministry, Departments and Agencies). We make laws, and implementation and education of the society to the laws is still a struggle.  The VAPP Act is still crawling – more than 20 states have enacted at State level. Certain laws need to be reviewed and amended.

Shelters are overburdened and there is no financial support, we’ve got to come to accept the reality – you want women to leave abusive homes for where? Yes, shelters are temporary! A woman has finally taken the bold step to walk out of her situation, is a person ready to walk on water. They need more than just shelter, their psychological and mental state requires to access therapy. Most do not get that at all

As a country, and as a government, what are we doing to help to make sure that it’s not just going to a shelter but that you’re going through all the comprehensive care needed before reintegrating into society.

I remember in the early days with we worked with The Real Woman Foundation, they started working with sex workers. They had a home (Still have) supporting rehabilitation and reintegration for those who wanted out. We happen to have a teenage call retrieved from sex work. They offered a comprehensive program – taking each person through group and individual therapy, spiritual program, medical and physical health, and skill acquisition or back to school program. They built capacity before they are reintegrated into society. What I am saying, is for the government to go back to the drawing board and put a budget heading to support SGBV related programmes.

Resources need to spread across board, our legislators, presidency, vice, house of rep’s members, state house of assemblies, councilors- we need to reduce the pay. We need to go too far on where to find resources. How important sis the lives of the women and children of this nation? That is the question they need to answer truthfully.  Enough of collection of heavy salaries and benefits – our people are dying. Nigeria has got to commit money into supporting and providing support for civil society. The few individual homes need to be supported. There needs to be a sit down on the way forward

We are too dependent on international aids. We need to be less dependent on international funding. Where are our philanthropists. Let them arise to put their money where their mouth is. This is not saying Nigerians are not supporting, but it’s like trickle of water in a vast ocean of chaos.

Not all NGOs are syphoning funds, there are organisations tirelessly working hard. It’s time to wake up and put our money where our mouth is.

Governments need to evaluate what they are doing, bring in the academia to work with the civil society and government MDAs to do researches. Let’s create programme that are based on evidence.

 Three women who inspire me  and why

Number one on my list is Lisa Nicholas. The breakthrough specialist. Who lost everything … really had nothing except $12 to her name, a toddler son, homeless and hit Ground Zero. She found her voice, She found her feet, is a blessing globally, changing lives and finally found love too… It’s like a fairy tale too.  I see me scaling… as my life experiences have taken me on similar path. I see the glory… Bearer of Hope and Healing…

Number two, Oprah Winfrey. Born into poverty, experienced multiple child sexual abuse molestations. She rose above al odds. Got into media and rose to become a top talk show hostess, left to start of her own company. She doesn’t only know the onions of talk show, she explored acting and has starred in multiple movies. She runs her own charity that she funds. She is a global influencer. She does a lot to move women forward. She is an inspiration.

Lastly, Diana Ross… This lady still gets me having goose pimples on my skin, when I think of the iconic lady. I love her tenacity, ability to always look sleek. and remaining a legend. Also, how she kept her family private in her kind of world.

What We Can Do Better As A Society To Educate Parents On The Importance Of Having Sex Talks With Their Children From An Early Age

Religious organizations have got to be take a front burner, as they carry a have influence. If a call to home-based sexuality education hits pulpits and they are sharing the importance of sexuality education – it will pay off.

I can never forget way back one time in 2005 or 2006 thereabouts, I was invited to speak at the girls’ camp of one of the Pentecostal churches. In that meeting, I had access to about 2000 girls from ages 5 – 17. I just came to teach them basic child sexual abuse prevention. This meeting became a major milestone in my journey in this work because I was contemplating stopping about that time. What I experienced was too much pain. Asking the Holy Spirit about what He had to share … before the meeting and on my way… was, “My Heart Bleeds.” Nearly 80% of those in attendance had experienced a form of child sexual molestation. On that day, there was wailing! As I am responding to you, I can still vividly see the scenario all over again. I knew I could not STOP working…

There is serious need for the religious leaders to take the topic of sexuality education and other related matters serious. Parents need to join the conversation to understand that they need to take it up as part of their teachings, not just the holy books.  Not just spiritual.

Already, Nigeria has sexuality education incorporated into the secondary school system. Interestingly, Sexuality Education came under comprehensive life skill training. ARFH in Ibadan and Action Health Incorporated worked relentlessly for it to be introduced to schools in Lagos State.

As a nation, we need to create more programmes for parents to know what’s really going on in the world today. Keeping them abreast of related happenings. They need to access more education through trainings and participation. There’s no shame in acknowledging I don’t know about a thing if I don’t. All I should be thinking about is who has it, and that I can learn from.

What is of utmost value is the children and what’s best for them.

I recall my sister and I sharing our experience of when as little girls we used to make our hair – the traditional ‘Didi’ a service provided by elderly women in the Neighborhood. How we use to suffer inhaling, after holding our breath and can’t any longer… terrible odour. Why? In making the hair, they sit on wooden stools, and put one’s head bent low between their open thighs. The offensive odour coming from between their legs was killing. Yeta s children, you don’t dare to say a word. We always cried to have a haircut. My mum overhead us sharing and asked us why didn’t you tell me? How would one frame the words back in the days… You wan die.

Parenting has become intentional above emotional and sentiments. What kind of child are you raising? Parents can also seek, find, and knock and it shall be open to them, as they seek, they find, as they knock, the door is open to them. In other words, you must make the effort – you don’t want to repeat patterns by your parents… Take the great, good and learn from the bad, worse, and impractical.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The GBV Sector, Especially In Nigeria

If there was anything I could do to be changed in the GBV sector, what would that be? This is huge. As a nation, so many things oh!  I’ll just pick one thing. I’m thinking o… this question is killing me … my mind is just blank.

OK one thing … I can do … I’ll say mass awareness and education. This is not sensitization of a community type, but entire nation. Not just in the hand of one agency – but all – Government MDAs, Private Sector, Professional bodies, Non-Profit, Religious Organisations and entities, traditional, Influencers, etc. The police should have a public enlightenment department that is enlightening the public and not just about armed robbery, but every crime including sexual abuse prevention. Educating on what to do, as it involves them and criminal justice sector…

I know some may argue that this has already been done. Yes, I concur, but what are the results… With our massive population. We need to have a With our massive population. We need to have a strategic vision on what we want to achieve as a country as regards SGBV. This is to guide all parties. Knowing how to position and work towards a COLLECTIVE GOAL.

Corporate organisations can sponsor or collaborative. We see how they support BBN, Now, my recommendation is for them to join in the mass education.  We need to get their attention. If it must be musical jamboree, then we find how to link to the message. They can also be a part of supporting sponsoring billboards and enlightenment education in the different languages – like Hausa, Kanuri, Efik, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Fulani, Pidgin English, Ijaw, Ibibio, etc. This sis to mention a few. We have over 500 native languages in Nigeria.

It is so critical that we save many lives through education. Education will help us reduce number of abuses, for prevention is better than cure.  Advertising and PR agencies can contribute to developing copies that assist with behavioural changes. This is not a quick fix. It continues intermittently.  We need to come down our high horses and really focus on this for the benefit of our people and for the good of this nation.

It’s so, so important – that this is not a one-off show. It does not need a launching or opening declaration event, etc.  Nigeria needs a vision for SGBV as a nation, so everybody can tap into that vision. Everybody has that vision and work to achieving the set goal. The criminal justice sector, education, local government, influencers, private sector, and other sectors work with the vision.

My question to the government, Oh my God what’s the thing you plan for in Nigeria prevention crisis provision rehabilitation. not just for survivals but also for even the perpetrators it’s so important thank you so much for that question.

Tehila 5

The Tehila 5.0 Initiative

Yes, we are having Tehila 5.0. Four organisations coming together to put this together. Wevvo, Rubies Ink Initiative, Fatimah Balaraba Foundation, Media Concern Initiative (MediaCon), and Safe Space Initiative. The event holds on May 7th

The formation of this union is very interesting. Ideas do not belong to any, they float in the atmosphere, It is the implementers that now own the idea… We were all having ideas, finding that our ideas align in purpose and goal.  Thinking alike. I want to give single mums a day out. Wevvo and Rubies Ink work with them. Safe Space has been holding Tehila foe some years now, and this is the fifth series…

I believe so I began this year with this crazy thing about giving you know doing something special for single moms it’s just my birthday but of course my children recommended mommy just postpone it for now. I was just sharing with the leadership of Safe Space Initiative, Osasu and informed, Ill reach out to Wevvo and Rubies Ink Initiative. It aligned with what Tehila 5.0 is sent out to do. The planning was already in the works. Wevvo and Rubies Ink, Fatimah Balaraba Foundation saw they fitted in and how this can start on the template of Tehila.

Brining in the dynamics of our strengths and joint goal to support women, single mums, Domestic Violence survivors, divorced, widows, etc.  In this program, together we want to make life beautiful for other women. you know particularly those who are affected in anyway and need a break, group therapy, etc. The event offers group therapy, fun, games, dance, lots more.

This edition of Tehila 5.0 is including the children.  The event allows a mother attend with maximum of 2 children. Anyone with more than 2 should watch virtually. Registration is compulsory.

Being  a Woman of Rubies

 What makes me a woman of Ruby …wow I would say my life journey…my wounds… my scars and what I’ve been able to do with them.

 I know it’s so interesting that there are fresh wounds in the journey of life, and then accepting them as part of the journey, healing, bearing those scars and learning from them.

Wearing them like ornaments, then using them for something purposeful like impacting other lives, using it to make sure somebody else doesn’t go through that, and doing that for over 20 years. I have been involved in over 20,000 cases of abuse. I count it a rare privilege. I am still alive to do more.

I wear my stuff – ornaments well. I acknowledge that it doesn’t make me emotionless. I can still cry. If I fall, I dust myself and start that all over. There is a destination, and after that my destination modest nation I’m a woman of Ruby

What I Would Say To A Woman Who Is Scared Of Walking Out Of An Abusive Marriage

what would I say to woman feared working out of course there’s nothing to say to a woman who is enjoying her marriage.

 if you’re going through any form of abuse that demeans you emotionally, financially, spiritually, and sexually – it makes you feel like you’re less of you. Start asking yourself some serious questions.  Knowing your life is in danger and pretending not to see what’s lies ahead of you?

You can only the LIVING can settle and that makes me just want to share a bit in my life’s journey.   I’ve not shared this publicly, so here’s a scoop for Woman of Ruby.  I think I’ve done so in some meetings, but they’re in closed meetings. Now, I’m in that place where I can talk about it.

I stepped out of my marriage for 3years. There was no planning, but it ended up in a separation, and for three years I was by myself. I had to step aside. I stepped out.  I fled for my life. I fled for my life because my life was endangered, and it would have been dumbed to stay behind and become a corpse.

I didn’t want to put my children through that, so for whatever he was going through I needed to leave, and I did. Interestingly, we are back after three years apart. What would have happened if I was dead?

He could also have killed himself or be in jail. There’s so much wisdom in LIFE FIRST! Yes, what I just shared is shocking and this is just rounding it up in brief …  it’s a long story, but I am alive!

 I was scared, I did not know what was going to happen when I left. I was used to being married and it was 23 years in the marriage journey.  I had put in so much and worked every day.

I cried nearly every day for the first 3 months… but I’m here today.  It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I’m not saying that the journey ahead of you is going to be smooth, so don’t think because you need to step out it is going to be smooth sailing. There’s no readymade smooth journey ahead.  No! It’s like stepping on water, but you’ve got to take that step of faith for your life and for your children sake. Leave and be alive! Be bold, have faith- no life is tied to the other.

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.

Omobolanle Ajijola is a Certified Trauma Counselor trained in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Early Trauma and an Executive Member of the African Network of Professional Counselors(ANEPCO).

An NLP Practitioner and a passionate Gender-Based Violence Advocate as well as being a trained certified Emotional Intelligence Specialist, she  passionately  spreads awareness against sexual and all forms of gender-based violence and is concerned about the total well-being of families and by extension children.

Omobolanle is the founder of Bina AI-Amal Safety Foundation, a non-governmental, and not-for-profit organization that provides social and economic empowerment to Survivors and Victims of Gender-Based Violence and disadvantaged communities across Nigeria.

She loves and enjoys working with families and children and this has led her to volunteer with organizations that share the same vision namely Rescue Village Africa, Heartminders Initiative, Amazing Amazon Initiative, and Black Diamond Support Foundation to name a few.

She has gone on numerous campaigns to schools and communities and has participated in road rallies to raise awareness on child sexual abuse and the rights of the African Child, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and Gender inequality.

Her passion has led her to attend various courses tailored to child safety and sexual abuse prevention.

Omobolanle is a firm believer in securing a safe and well-balanced environment free from all forms of Violence. A true global change agent, while speaking with Women of Rubies, she gave this explorative insights on her journey;

Childhood Influence

I grew up , pretty much sheltered with my siblings , not going out much and spent a lot of time with my Grandma who was the resident conflict resolver in her area.

People would come to her with their issues and I’d watch her listen and then help sort whatever the issue was and soothe hurt tempers.

Same with helping those in need, no one came to her door in tears and left the same, she had a solution to every challenge.

She would always give back or give out to whoever was in need and when thanked she would say she was but a servant of Allah doing his bidding.

Watching my grandma (God rest her soul) advocate for what was right no matter if it got her on the wrong side of people and her big heart when it came to giving ,shaped me into the woman I am today.

My parents aren’t any different and till date still help whoever comes to their door.

Inspiration Behind Bina Al- Amal foundation?

My deep passion  to effect lasting change in people’s live that made a real difference was the inspiration behind the foundation.

I’d gone on numerous Sexual Abuse awareness campaigns and the stories of abuse we heard stayed with me, I wanted to do more.

Watching children and women roam the streets without a roof over their head and no access to basic amenities and the high numbers of women who would turn up for Empowerment programs worried me a lot, and after a summer school project at an informal settlement in 2019

My mind was made up, I knew what I had to do.

Managing life as a certified trauma counsellor, NLP practitioner and a GBV advocate, 

Each role requires a lot of energy and focus and  I’ve been able to merge all into one and balance them all.

It’s not been easy but managing my time and prioritizing has helped me maintain the balance needed to flourish.

Experience as a multiple hand volunteer for several organizations

It’s been very educative, each volunteer role came from a personal experience and working for each Organization has taught me lot of things ranging from leadership, rapport and communication building, conflict resolution among other things.

It’s an experience I won’t trade for anything.

My work at Bina Al-Amal foundation, and its impact since inception

At Bina Al-Amal Foundation we provide the support , encouragement and empowerment to that people who live in informal settlements and we also provide the interventions needed for Survivors and Victims of Gender Based Violence .

Basically we offer prevention and intervention against Child Abuse, Rape, domestic violence, and all forms of violence against children and women while Providing prompt sensitive and psychosocial support to survivors of abuse and ensuring perpetrator is prosecuted, Provision of sexual abuse awareness programs to engage and enlighten Teenagers and young Adults on Sexual and Gender based violence and the need to be more socially and morally aware while providing the necessary psychosocial support ,   Provision of temporary shelters for the homeless for women especially women and families who had gone through one forms of abuse and those who live in informal settlements (shanties and rural areas),

Empowerment for women in rural and vulnerable communities and Free Education for children in rural and vulnerable communities.

Our impact since inception has been amazing.

For our survivors and Victims of Sexual and Gender based Violence, we have been able to offer psychosocial and intervention services to at least 10 families and counting.

For our informal community recipients , we have been able to offer education to over 100 of the children in the informal community as well as provision of palliative during the covid -19 lockdown.

Our teen conferences designed to educate and empower young adults has reached over 100 youths and counting, providing them with information on the dangers of sexual and gender based violence and the importance of leadership skills

Work Challenges

Our major challenge has been getting the required amount of help our informal settlement residents in terms of the shelter need as they are constantly being evicted

Another challenge is their belief system , they feel they have no hope and no one cares about them.

For our Survivors and Victims it’s tackling the silence and stigmatization that doesn’t encourage them to open up freely about their experiences

For our teens and young adults it’s helping them with the difficult choices and temptations they face in a world where information overload is everywhere. 

Other projects and activities?

We are working on a building a stable environment for our informal settlement residents and helping them create a better quality of life through Empowerment and Job creating programmes.

A group therapy hub for our Trauma warriors and a teen hub for our Young adults to help them cope with this fat paced world.

3 Women Who Inspire Me

Christiane Amanpour, Oreoluwa Adebiyi and Mrs Achenyo Idachaba for their fearlessness in reporting the truth,  Their can do attitude and above all love for humanity.

They inspire me to be a better version of myself and to continue to push through even when people don’t understand the journey.

My experience at social Innovators Bootcamp and its forthcoming impact

To be honest , I’d joined the bootcamp to achieve two things: to gain clarity and get the structure needed and to come 2nd was a bit of a shock. I never imagined I’d make it to the top 3. It was a humbling experience for me, I gained so much more than what I signed up for.

My SIBC Experience taught me one valuable lesson, I’m doing something right and this is going to set the tone for a lot of our activities moving forward at Bina Al-Amal Foundation.

Right steps to take in reporting a case of Domestic Violence & Rape.

For Both cases the most important thing  and the first step is to Document evidence.

For a rape victim the best way to Document evidence is to go as soon they are able to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre preferably Mirabel Centre to get checked by a doctor and to get the medical attention needed

For a Domestic Violence Victim, we encourage them to take pictures of bruises, take voice recordings only if it is safe to do so.

Next step is to go to a police station to report the case. At the station, ask for their Gender Desk or Family Support Unit.

After this the police would ask for evidence of assault to which a letter  would be sent to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre who carried out the examination for the rape victim.

For the Domestic Violence Victim, evidence would also be collected.

How to overcome Trauma, and stay grounded

In handling Trauma, I encourage client’s to

1)Give yourself time. It takes time – weeks or months – to accept what has happened and to learn to live with it,take it one step at a time.

2)Acknowledging your experience,that way, you can start to understand what drives your feelings of fear and anxiety, and change your perspective over time.

3) Join a Support Group, being involved with other survivors of trauma, sometimes hearing others and knowing you’re not alone offers you some of the comfort needed.

4)Ask for support from family and friends willing to help, don’t isolate yourself.

5)Take some time for yourself: It’s okay to want to be by yourself or with close family and friends

6)Talk it over with a Professional. This is where therapy comes in to give a more grounded sense of healing.

7)Get into a routine to resting a sense of normalcy

8) Exercise.

On staying grounded:

1)Appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

2)Practice gratitude.

3)Take a break.

4)Prioritize your mental and emotional health.

5)Be the change you want to see in the world.

6)Stay active.

As a Woman of Rubies

What makes me a Woman of Rubies is my selfless character and passion to see a fellow woman attain great heights and my not giving up on those who need me.

Social Media Handles:

Email: omobolanleajijola@gmail.com

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/ajijolabolanle

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/bolanleajijola.3

LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajijola-bolanle

 

 

“The world is waiting for you to unleash your greatness.” – Odunayo Sanya.

Our ‘Woman in Leadership’ this week is Odunayo Sanya.

Odunayo is a Nigerian executive with over 23 years of experience in the corporate world. She currently serves as the Executive Secretary of the MTN Nigeria Foundation. Her work experience spans education, financial services, telecommunications and development sectors. She is a gifted writer who received widespread acclaim for her book ‘Alphabets of Leadership for Young Minds,’ which she published in 2019.

Odunayo is an International speaker. A Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team. She is an alumna of the Lagos Business School and the Institute of Management Development Switzerland, with executive training from the Harvard Business School and Cornell University.

She is also the convener of the ‘Thrive Circle’ a mentorship platform which she describes as her ‘pandemic story’. The Thrive Circle is a platform for individuals seeking growth in life and career. Odunayo is passionate about youth empowerment, leadership, mentorship, and nation building. In 2019, she received the Marketing World ‘Customer Service Thought Leader Award’ in Accra, Ghana. She was the 2019 Global Leadership Program Speaker at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. She shares her inspiring journey in this exclusive interview.

Interview with Odunayo Sanya

Childhood Influence

First, I’d like to thank Women of Rubies for having me and for creating this platform to showcase and encourage women. My childhood was exciting with a disciplinarian as a dad. I was brought up to cherish family – I come from a close-knit family of nine; Dad, Mum, 2 boys and 5 girls.

 

My childhood was in Lagos. From a young age, my parents taught me (likewise my siblings) to embrace the world with an open mind, this found expression in the choice of schools i attended – F.G.G.C Akure (Ondo State) & New-Bussa (Niger State). The choice of the boarding house shaped me and strengthened my sense of independence. I learnt diversity and inclusion from my parents, they never discriminated. The boarding house helped my social skills, it opened me up to interactions with diverse individuals and great minds. I was brought up to be comfortable in my skin and to strive for excellence. At a point in primary school, my dad taught me maths after school. I learnt from my parents that “putting in a word for someone is easier when the individual brings value to the table.”

Adventure was a pastime for my parents as i was encouraged to take some bold steps – i recall my dad seeing an advert in the newspapers for a new university that is, University of Abuja and he encouraged me to apply though we knew no one in Abuja at that time. And yes! I got the admission and as they say, the rest is history. I spent my Youth Service year in a small village called Ukpa in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State. My first job was outside Lagos (my parents lived and still live in Lagos). As a child I had a prayerful Grandma who taught me about God.

I would say YES, my childhood prepared me in more ways than one.

 

Inspiration behind The Thrive Circle

I have a strong passion for people, and I get very excited when individuals realize their potential. Someone described me as a ‘serial mentor’ (lol!). I had a strong desire to birth a platform for sharing knowledge that will enable individuals to thrive in their neck of the woods. The perfect opportunity came with the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear in the air was palpable and the confusion was like we had never known, i had a conviction within me that this was the right time. The first session was tagged ‘Finding Strength in Adversity.’ It’s been twenty-two speakers and thirty-one sessions after, ‘Thrive Circle’ is still standing. We are a community committed to learning.

 

The Journey so far

I am grateful for the journey. It has tested my resilience. I have expanded my network of friends and acquaintances. My knowledge horizon has been broadened, topics such as; Entrepreneurship, The Future of work, Mental Health, Crucial Conversations, Strategy, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Management, Ethics, Risk Management and many more have been discussed in the Thrive Circle. We have also played host to accomplished professionals as our speakers. The future for Thrive Circle is bright – watch out.

 

Impact of being an International Speaker, and Certified Coach 

My first international speaking engagement was borne of the need to affirm myself. I had a strong desire to share my thoughts with other professionals and enrich the discussions in the field of Customer Experience. Was i scared? Yes, I was. Did it go well? Yes, it did and opened more opportunities for me. We are all speakers, and our voices are gifts from the ‘Grand Overall Designer’ (GOD). The question is ‘How are we using it? I am also a John Maxwell Certified Coach.

 

 

Being a Coach and a Speaker has enabled my growth and depth. As it is said, ‘Sameness is the death of a speaker’ and since I don’t want to die yet (lol!) it keeps me on my toes to keep gleaning new knowledge and applying them to my life. In terms of impact, i am a much better individual, leader, team member, mother, wife and member of the society. It has helped me with the mastery of human relationships and excellent delivery people. The most important impact is the privilege of connecting people to their aspirations and potentials. Speaking whether as a hobby or professionally is 99% about the audience (listener) and maybe 1% about the speaker.

 

My Customer Thought Leader Award, 2021 Sales Ruby Influencer Award & recognition as one of the Top 100 Career Women

 

These awards came as surprises. I recall for the sales Ruby award, I was getting ready to retire for the night and I got a message from a secondary school friend that she had voted. I was at a loss, I asked her what for, she then laughed at me and sent me the link to nominations. It however feels good when one’s good work is recognized by others. It really is humbling. I see this as a call to do more and be more.

 

Challenges of My Work at MTN Nigeria

On a lighter note, I have been working from home for over a year now and enjoying every bit of it. One of the greatest challenges of WFH is the near loss of work-life-balance. I self regulate and try to keep to a time regime to prevent any form of burn out. My Organization also ensures we keep to healthy work regimes.Challenges are a constant part of life. These challenges are opportunities in disguise. My work keeps me on my toes and presents me with the opportunity to serve and innovate. Creating and implementing service experiences and engagement strategies for 75m customers is a huge responsibility. I recently, changed roles and I look forward to the opportunity of enabling people and communities through the MTN Nigeria Foundation.

 

Other Projects & Activities

I am an Author. My book ‘Alphabets of Leadership for Young Minds’ is listed in the United States Library of Congress, it is targeted at youth ages 10 – 16. I desired to give my oldest daughter a journal filled with my thoughts on various leadership topics as she moved into the boarding house. The journal was to help her navigate the new phase of her life and be a valued member of her community. The journal became the book.

My work with youths through the John Maxwell Team exposed me to the dearth of understanding of Leadership at that level – it has been positioned as the exclusive preserve of adults. The book is my contribution to nation building. I decided to put down my thoughts and make it available to every Youth. The book is listed in the United States Library of Congress and available on:

It is also available at Laterna Ventures, Oko Awo Street, Victoria Island Lagos

 

3 Women Who Inspire Me to Be Better And Why

My Grandmother of blessed memory – she taught me to love God.

My Mum – she taught me resilience.

Mother Theresa – She embodied the fact that Leadership and purpose are conjoined, when you walk in purpose you will Lead. Most important, her life teaches that you don’t need a position to lead. Lead from wherever you are.

 

 Advice to Young Women Who Wish to Be Trailblazers Like Me

 

1) ‘The world is waiting for you to unleash your greatness, don’t negotiate away your purpose in the face of seeming difficulties.’

2) ‘Dreams are free but the journey is not’

3) ‘You are limitless until you tell yourself otherwise’

4) ‘Let the quality of your work speak for you when you are not there’

5) ‘Be comfortable being you.’

 

Being a Woman of Rubies

Hmmm!! I should be asking you that question.

First, is that God says my worth is far above rubies – Prov 31.

Second is that I carry in me the seed of greatness and I am nurturing it.

Third is that I seek to add value to the people and environments I find myself in.

Maybe you should carry out a survey and let us compare the results.

 

 

You can connect with Odunayo Sanya through her handles below:

 

Linkedin – odunayo moritiwon sanya

Instagram – Odunayo.Sanya

Facebook – Odun Moritiwon Sanya

Roseline Adewuyi is a social educator a gender advocate, and a blogger at
roselineadewuyi.com addressing the concerns of girls and women, particularly in the African context.

She is also a 2018 Dalai Lama Fellow, a 2016 YALI RLC alumna, and a 2017 ONE Champion, her work on female empowerment has taken her to the United States, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, France, and other countries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters degree in French Language.

Her area of specialization as a French Literature student has been Feminist Theory. According to her, this strengthens her academic knowledge in the field of advocacy. In 2018, she represented Nigeria in a program on Human Rights sponsored by the French Embassy in Nigeria. She was among the sixty women doing phenomenal things celebrated by Business Day Women’s Hub in marking Nigeria’s 60th Independence in 2020. She hopes to keep contributing to the girls’ development through advocacy.

She has also been featured on the Nigerian Tribune, National Television called Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and RFI (Radio France Internationale) for her works. She is also a member of the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network. From 2019 to 2020, She worked as a Translator and Interpreter with the African Union.  While speaking with Women of Rubies on this interview, she took us through her explicit journey as a trailblazer.

Growing Up 

As a developing woman, I witnessed many a difference in the prejudiced treatment of men and women. This was quite surprising for me because I lived with the idea that both genders are first humans regardless of appearances. So, I could not fathom why there is a difference in the treatment of the female gender and how we are seen. As a young girl, it baffled me and left me with more questions than answers.

As a result, I had an internal conflict about my identity. I was curious about the reason behind people seeing us differently, why gender roles existed, and why people tried to box women. I also wanted to know why people associated certain character traits or qualities with a gender. I was confused and wondered if I should accept this or challenge these assumptions. I asked many questions concerning my identity but got no answers. With growth came the understanding of how things worked, and I began to gradually realize why things were the way they were.

There was a burning desire to launch out and find my lost voice. During my university days as an Arts student, I was exposed to books that facilitated my understanding. Following a popular saying “literature is the mirror of life”; I was able to imagine and understand, to some extent, the lived experience of many girls and women all over the world particularly in Africa.

On this personal trajectory, I am still on the path. I am not there yet but I am constantly growing as a leader and I want more girls to confess in the future that I inspired them.

Why I chose  French as a major

I chose to study the French language because I am drawn to languages. This might be a little difficult to describe if you are not like me. But let me try: I believe that everyone has something that makes them tick. It could be a skill that they are good at or the fire of a passion that burns bright in their heart. For me, though, my penchant is languages. I love the way words differently sound in different languages. I love trying out new sounds and trying to relate with people of different cultures. I guess it is also linked to my innate desire to relate with people on a deeper level. And one of the best ways to do that is to learn their language. I chose French because it was the earliest foreign language to which I was introduced. And I would say, I fell in love right there and then. You know the way some old-time couples say, “When I saw her, I knew she was the one”? That’s how the French language was for me!

Women of Rubies interview With Roseline Adewuyi

Experience as a translator / interpreter for the African Union

Working with the African Union was quite an adventure. Although it was something a lot different from what I was used to and I was far from home, I enjoyed every bit of it. I was in a place where my ideas mattered. I had colleagues who admired and respected me. I also worked with a boss who was like a father and a mentor to me. The best and simplest way to put it is that I had a great time!

I would say that working with the AU changed a lot of things for me. Now, I understand clearly that you can’t say you know about a place until you have lived there. I am saying this because of people who love to share stereotypes about places they have never been to. Before I went to the place where I worked, I was told that I would not be safe as a woman. No one will ‘barber’ my hair etc. to my surprise, I found everything to be the exact opposite of what people had conjectured. This taught me a lot!

While working with the AU, I also learned a lot about networking, personal development, and tolerance.

Recognition Awards

My advocacy and the things I do have never been about recognition or awards. I just want to make a difference and inspire people. Generally, I am shy and I don’t like being in the spotlight. But I have learnt that letting people shine the light on what you are doing paves way for more people to benefit from your advocacy. So, I see these awards, not as rewards for my good works, but as a way to reach out to and connect with more people. While I am super grateful that people honour me, what I am looking out for is creating and leveraging opportunities to collaborate with more people or organisations because I have a message to relay to the world. I would also like to say that every award I got so far has been on merit. I say this because I have been persuaded in the past to pay for some awards but I will never do that! If I get an award, it has to be deserved and not bought. This is one of the reasons why I do not rate awards. I focus more on impacts because there is no point in doing all of this if it is just for the awards. I always look at the big picture and see the impact I am making — one young girl at a time. And that’s weightier than all the awards in the world to me!

My Advocacy with the Girl Child and Women

My advocacy is focused on breaking stereotypes and unlearning indoctrination in the form of deeply entrenched societal constructs that are regressive to women. I am all out for teaching young girls and inspiring women to break away from age-long societal norms, constructs, and stereotypes that have limited their progress by showing them that they can do anything and be whomever they choose to be regardless of society’s dictates. I teach them to discard society’s scripts and follow personal passion and purpose to be the best version of whom they want to be.

Therefore, I am fierce against cultural and traditional norms. I believe that society has to do away with some of these cultural elements, while some are reviewed, and others are preserved.

I am also unrepentantly particular about re-imaging women in our society and orienting a woman that she belongs in the society.

Asides from this, I have observed that educational institutions which are supposed to be hallmarks of enlightenment foster gender inequality. We can see examples around, girls being denied leadership opportunities, indoctrinating them with the mindset of being assistants, discouraging women who want to be student union president, leaders of their groups among others. The educational institution, as a citadel of learning, should not be a place where societal constructs are amplified or embraced. Rather than recycling these archaic norms and traditions, I advocate that our institutions should show people a better way of doing things. I advocate that girls should be seen as students just as boys. Their abilities should be rated before their gender. They should be given equal opportunities when it comes to leadership. I encourage teachers to show their students that women can be national leaders, doctors, pilots, governors, etc. Chores should be shared equally to teach responsibility. Thus, through education, we can also create a society devoid of gender bias or discrimination. I am highly interested and involved in the revamping of educational institutions to be conscious about schools being more gender-inclusive, gender-responsive, and gender friendly.

Clarity on the misconception of what feminism Is

Yes, I know there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism. Many people berate feminism today because they misunderstand it or have a wrong notion about the movement. Several people, even those who believe in equality, refuse to be associated with the word “feminism” because some pioneering advocates have ideals or a lifestyle they don’t want to emulate or be associated with. But is a concept or idea defined by the people representing it or do the people representing the idea let the idea define them? According to the dictionary, “feminism is the belief that men and women are equal and thus deserve equal rights and opportunities”. Simply put, Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

You can read more on this  article from my blog.(https://roselineadewuyi.com/misconceptions-of-feminism-the-propounders-meant-well/)

 Challenges 

Some challenges I encounter regularly include:

  • I am often misconstrued
  • I get backlashes from people who think I don’t mean well.
  • I get tons of insults too. Someone once remarked that if she got half the insults I get, she would have snapped and lashed out at her critics. Thankfully, what I am working for is bigger than any insults!
  • Some people don’t see our work as noble and so they are against it. They won’t even listen to you or try to get your point of view. This makes them closed off to your advocacy.
  • Finances are a huge challenge! Advocacy is not easy. It is not cheap either. It takes money to put events together, create published materials that you would distribute for free, and so on. I am always grateful for and open to any partnerships by people or organizations who are as passionate about girl child advocacy as I am.

Other projects and activities

I am currently working on teaching girls about the corporate world, higher education, soft skills, and work-life balance. It’s a project in the pipeline. The major activities of my initiative have been directed toward organising seminars for girls and staging school outreaches.

Writing has helped me to harness the didactic value or power of the ink as a tool for social change through my blog centres on the cause of the girl child ad women. The subject matter of my writings focuses on contemporary issues particularly within the Nigerian context on their plight on the blog.

3 women who inspire me  and why

My mum inspires me. She is the most selfless person I know. I am not perfect but I am thankful to her for who I am today. I am forever grateful for the values she taught me.

I am inspired also by the hope of girls, ladies, and women who, in the future, will shatter glass ceilings, breakthrough concrete walls, stride on sticky floors and escape career labyrinths.

How I cope with backlash in my Advocacy journey

It can be challenging. That is why it amuses me when some say people are feminists because it is trendy. With the backlash, insult, and abuse that I get regularly, I wonder why someone would be a feminist because of that reason. If I am to go by the things that are said to me that get to me, I would have backed out since.

With the backlash that I get regularly, I would have chosen another cause or struggle but I channel my rage into changing things to keep me going especially when it comes to teenage girls and women, whom I do not want them to limit themselves.

It can be challenging because insults will be hurled at one. One might be forced to react to some things but one knows that one radiates light and one must be different.

May I never be forced to use abusive words amid backlashes. I always pray for the grace to be polite and courteous however difficult.

Being a gender advocate is definitely not for the faint hearted. There are oppositions, misinterpretations, and backlashes. In the midst of this, I always connect back to my intention, reconnect with my why. With this, I gain a better perspective and I push on.

I think of girls and women that have been inspired by my work. I also know that not everyone will believe in an individual’s vision. Change-makers always have to face oppositions so I draw strength from those who have gone ahead.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a Woman of Rubies because, in addition to being passionate about my cause, I believe in people. I want the best for them and I always try to be empathetic to their experiences. Being a Woman of Rubies sounds a lot like the woman in Proverbs. Being a woman of rubies to me means that I am purposeful, highly guided by morals, ethics, values and a sense of character.

 

You can connect with Adewuyi Roseline through her handles below:

Facebook – ­https://www.facebook.com/roselineadebimpe.adewuyi

Linkedin – linkedin.com/in/roseline-adewuyi-803826112

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AdewuyiRoseline

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/adewuyiroseline/

Website – roselineadewuyi.com

 

2020 ended leaving me feeling emotionally exhausted , even while I consciously detoxed at intervals through out the year, When  I laid my head on my pillow on December 31st ,  I felt I used up all my energy, and I could hear  my body screaming “Slam the brakes, Esther”. I listened….only to wake up on January 1st to the sad news that a friend passed away due to Covid19.

This is my situation, but truth is we all get emotionally exhausted at some point in our lives. It is normal to experience an overdose of one emotion or another and deal with their hardship and struggle, and only through this experience can we truly see the beauty of life. But when the emotional exhaustion turns into a perpetual experience of negative emotions, it isn’t healthy anymore.

Emotions are the driving forces that build our character, and they give flavor to our lives. The more we understand emotions, the better we can deal and nurture them. The ability to deal and nurture our emotions and the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity for identifying the signs of emotional exhaustion. It is natural to be emotional, show emotions to oneself, and share and express them to others. It is a crucial part of the individual’s personal and social development.

But can we really recognize our emotions in a way so we don’t get entangled by them—in a way that we get emotionally exhausted?

The Meaning of Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion is the state when negative emotions overwhelm the present moment—in any aspect of life—over and over again,. Today, emotional exhaustion is closely linked to emotional labor, which when poorly managed results in being burn out

However, emotional exhaustion can also be an outcome of social, familial, friendly, or intimate relationships.

Regardless of the source, when you repeatedly feel the following:

  • Worried
  • Bored
  • Anxious
  • Unworthy
  • Unhappy

This increases the emotions of becoming even more:

  • Frustrated
  • Fearful
  • Doubtful
  • Angry and
  • Annoyed

And you reach a state of being emotionally exhausted—a state of dullness, confusion, and tiredness.

“Repeatedly” means daily. Every day, deep inside of you, there is the feeling of one or few of the above-mentioned emotions, overwhelming your present moment, playing a part in your daily activities—robbing a significant amount of your physical and mental strength and vitality.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms are subjective or objective indicators that you feel within yourself. The first symptoms feel mostly like:

  • Tiredness – a subjective indicator that you feel somehow exhausted (physically or mentally), which at the same time might also be true that you’re not if your statement has the inclination of complaining.
  • Boredom – an objective indicator that gives you the unpleasant feeling of not knowing what to do—being disengaged from positive emotions, feeling dull, and empty.

Further symptoms would be the constant feeling of being unworthy of the things you do or unhappy with the things you do, regardless of your accomplishments.

Feeling constantly tired (physically) and disconnected from what is going on around you is a symptom that you’re emotionally exhausted. These symptoms lead inevitably to a behavioral pattern that evolves into a chronic habit of complaining. This leads to the objective signs of emotional exhaustion, which impacts professional and social life.

What Are the Signs?

The signs of emotional exhaustion can be detected through speech, tone of voice, body, and facial movements. Normally. they are to be detected by an outside observant like a professional or a loved one—any trusted person with an understanding of how emotions work.

Here are two things we need to do to identify the signs (as well as the symptoms) of emotional exhaustion:

  1. Improve self-awareness for more precise detection of the signs (the same goes for the symptoms as well);
  2. The openness to share our situation, feelings, and emotions with a trusted person—an observer with enough competence on the subject matter who can inform us about any signs of emotional exhaustion.

3 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

The signs of emotional exhaustion are hidden in your emotional expression, and they show through your mood and the way you react and manage your emotions.

When lacking self-awareness, the most efficient way to identify the signs of emotional exhaustion is to seek professional support or ask your loved ones to have a closer look at your behavior, your reactions—like body posture, facial movements (micro-expression), and verbal or non-verbal expressions.

I know, it is not easy to share such personal feelings and weaknesses with others. But one thing that we must understand is that we are all interconnected, and our personal growth is dependent on communication and interrelation with the people around us. And that applies especially when things go wrong.

If you don’t open to your closest, how can you nurture your positive emotions and express positive qualities and virtues to others?

Self-awareness detects emotional exhaustion. As a meditation teacher, it is my daily business to analyze, study, and share my opinions about emotions. The meditation as the fundamental element of reviving the self-awareness can help to manage this whole subject matter.

My research in this field has proven that we can detect signs of emotional exhaustion once we objectively experience the following moods:

1. You Feel Tired Very Quickly and Very Often (Physical Exhaustion)

It is nothing but natural to become physically exhausted after performing physical activity. After a rest, the body recovers, recharges strength, and replenishes energy. Usually, in this condition, you have the stamina and the resilience to absorb many of the below-mentioned signs. But once the physical exhaustion becomes chronic, the body cannot replenish its energy that easily. That’s when you will feel fatigued.

2. You Lose Interest in Engaging in Daily Activities

Chronic tiredness results in a mood that expresses demotivation, idleness, annoyance, and frustration. These are signs of emotional exhaustion—showing no motivation, no vitality for engaging in or exploring new things in life.

3. You Feel Insecure, Incapable, and Unworthy

The need for isolation arises and you reach a mood where you feel insecure. Doubtful and anxious, you begin to question your capabilities and your self-esteem sinks lower and lower. The cocktail of these feelings and moods creates so much confusion, resentment, and sadness up to a point of complete emotional exhaustion—a state of burn-out.

How to Prevent or Get Over This Exhaustion?

One organic way to recover from emotional exhaustion: Meditation. I meditate alot .

  • Prevent the development of emotions—in other words, learn to identify the emotion before it arises and cut its process of evolvement. For example, the feeling of boredom leads to annoyance, and that leads to rejection, irritation, frustration, and so on.
  • Once a negative thought arises and creates a destructive feeling, it is a sign that negative emotion is about to erupt. The idea here is to disrupt the creation of this process and exchange it with a constructive mental and physical activity.
  • As emotions are the result of the unconscious repetition and acknowledgment of feelings that are supported by the constant creation of thoughts, it is imperative to understand that the root cause of emotional exhaustion is found in the creation of these thoughts.

Final Thoughts

One thing worth remembering is that no human being is spared from the turmoil of emotions. You, me, and everyone else suffer and enjoy the effect of the emotions that we create for ourselves.

The above technique sheds light on how you can identify, understand, and move through the whole spectrum of emotions to get over the emotional exhaustion and achieve emotional balance. This way, you can safely experience being the victim as well as the beneficiary of your various emotions.

Know that emotions are there to be analyzed and understood, not only to be enjoyed or avoided. Embrace them, handle them, and don’t get lost in them.

Stay Safe, Stay Safe and keep your thoughts positive in 2021!

Mondays are always an interesting day to write about. I have previously touched on the Monday Blues. Those of us who have to get going and get it done at work. It is difficult, but our hard work is what makes America great. Keep it up and keep going.

If you are reading this, you made it to another beginning of the week. The reset button has been pressed. You have your coffee, energy drink, juice, tea, or if you’re like me, just a glass of water. You log onto to read a blog and find an article with the title of Monday Motivation.

I am a believer in living your dreams. I was not always like that, but I am now. I learned that you need to at least try to do something that you enjoy doing. If you try and fail, well, at least you tried. If you succeed and are able to make money doing what you love, then you will always be happy in my experience.

We all know that it does not always happen that way, does it? Life can be tough and unmerciful. As you work at it, you might find that doing what you love can be very difficult.

Sometimes, you try, but it just does not work out no matter what you do, who you know, or where you study. You do not get the break you need and you end up stuck in a job that seems completely mindless. Maybe not even mindless, but it could seem like something you do not want to do at all.

Where does that lead you? You get stuck sweeping floors, in a windowless cubicle, a basement, or working up one too many beads of sweat. Hey, if you dreamed of any of those things, that is great. Those are just examples.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that it is no fun when you do not love what you do, especially if you have at one time you did.

It can feel like every day is the same thing over and over again. The annoying coworker, the harsh boss, the too friendly receptionist, and of course the HR director who thinks they are a prison warden. You see and hear all of these things and at times you call in sick just to get away. Believe me, I have done it before.

As each minute, hour, day, week, month, year, and for some, decade pass by, you feel like there is no end in sight. You just want to keep on keeping on, but you also want to pull your hair out when it seems like everything is going wrong. Trust me, things will go wrong. Sad, but it’s true.

Am I striking a nerve with anyone?

I bet you are starting to wonder where the motivation is? Do not worry, that is up next.

I will give you some advice: find something you love and just do it. It sounds so simple that it is almost cliché.

 

You might be wondering, “Wait, what happened to all of that “life is tough” talk?” It is true, but what I am talking about is during your “me time.” If you do not have any, make some. You need it.

During this time, do not just sit around and watch TV or do nothing on the computer, do something you love.

If you are an artisan: write, make music, sculpt, sew, draw, paint, or whatever. If you are a cook: try out new recipes as often as you can. If you are into computers: program, invent games, or create an app. If you are into sports: join a gym, ride a bike, learn to skate, learn karate, or take up shooting. If like to read: try a new genre, subscribe to a magazine, or read a long old fashioned novel like War and Peace. Of course, all of these suggestions are just examples. There is no shortage of fun things to love or to learn to love.

Whatever it is, you need that time to yourself to recharge and rejuvenate. I honestly think that more people are unhappy in their work because they do not take that special time for them. It is something that is so important.

I honestly hope that this did motivate you. If you find yourself in a job that is not your first choice, do something you love no matter what.

By : Jacob Airey