Share your story.

Photo Credit: Surfer

Esther going surfing on Ilashe beach, Lagos

Our stories give us a voice and this voice can be a great tool for inclusion and social change. 

I have explored and read many incredible stories written by awesome women on world pulse and it has strengthened me and made me realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable and share your story to impact others too. 

I grew up in a military environment, my friends and I were unprotected and vulnerable to all kinds of abuse, attacks and threats. These abuse sometimes came from our older neighbors, church members, school administrators, our parents friends, and weird family members. 

Our fathers were often not around - leaving our mothers alone to raise young girls in an unsafe environment filled with so many bad vices that were capable of snatching our innocence while shutting our mouths with shame and guilt. 

No one, not even our mothers ever believed Tope, Sisi, Carina, Anne, Habiba, Chinaza, they didn’t believe any of us until when Hannah died. 

My mother will always encourage me to write.

She is a woman that love words - according to her, she dropped out of school at class 5 because there was not enough money for her to continue her education, but she’s the most intelligent and smart woman I know. What she lacked from dropping out of school, she gained through her personal confidence, grooming and charisma! She was not ashamed to ask questions and to say to a younger person “please teach me.” 

In any gathering or women’s meeting, she was always voted to be the secretary. That woman can write. Only a few women had that skill back then in the barracks, so she had an upper hand and she would double up as a financial secretary in this meeting and the general secretary of that meeting. It made us feel so proud of her and when she came back from any of her meetings, she would show us her minutes book and have us read out loudly all she had written down. I would always correct some of her words and praise her for a job well done. 

My mother has always encouraged me to write.

And so I started, I kept a journal. I would write the suspicious things I saw around the block and the happenings in the barracks. I would write my friends secrets and made my journal promise not to tell anyone. I would use abbreviations to write my own secrets because I didn’t want to share my deepest secrets with my own journal (very funny). I would cry on my journal and laugh out loud sometimes. 

It was from my journal my father read about my love for books, and when he was around, he visited my school on an open day and bought me two story books; one was beauty and the beast, the other one was about a girl that had AIDS. It was the first time I read about AIDS! I had asked my father to tell me more about the disease but the only thing he told me was “Esther, don’t share sharp objects with people, because when you do, and it cuts you, then you’ll get the disease.” I was scared and I remember crying secretly because I had shared a razor blade with Lovelyn at school to sharpen my pencil. 

That book opened my eyes to sex education and the need to protect oneself from rape. 

“RAPE” that was the second place I was reading about that word, the first place was on a billboard close to airport gate. 

The girl that had AIDS in the book finally died and I mourned for her. She left behind her brother who was two classes ahead of her to go to school alone and he was faced with so many stares and stigma from his fellow students who thought he was the next to die. 

From the book, I also learned new words that I wrote in my journal and shared with my mother and my friends. 

I still write till today, I keep a digital journal now and my mother has retired from her many leadership duties. & now I have the opportunity to share my story and impact younger people the best way I know how to; through writing and caring. 

It is important we share our stories in order to encourage and uplift one another through our words, actions and experiences. Your story has the power to change lives, stop wars, promote peace & gender equality, it can also educate & motivate people while creating a sustainable world through activism & advocacy. 

What other better platform to share this story than on World pulse- a platform where likeminded women connect to create meaningful relationships through mutual respect and inspiring conversations and campaigns! So go on… Type that journey and impact millions! I am rooting for you. 

Moments of Hope
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Training - Digital Storytelling
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