women’s empowerment

betty Abah girls rights nigeria

Unprogressive societies hold women down, says Betty Abah, the Joan of Arc for Nigerian girls and women. Betty Abah is (and I quote from the Daily Telegraph Newspaper in Nigeria) ” an award-winning journalist, author, women’s rights activist and founder of CEE_HOPE, a non-profit child’s rights and development organization.” She is a personal hero of mine, having dedicated her life to improving the lives of women and girls.

With her books he has tried to bring gender inequality into the public consciousness in Nigeria: The Sound of Chains, Go Tell Our King, among others. In 2014 her children’s rights focused journalism won her the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism for “Child Friendly Reporting” and the list goes on and on.

“We must make child marriage history and this takes government’s sincere commitment and citizen’s action.” She talks the talk and walks the walk. Betty Abah wants to shed light onto some of our world’s darkest corners: the systematic disregard and mistreatment of girls and women.

Please look at her short documentary film on child marriage and the promotion of educating girls:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RUN.webm

 

betty abah girls' rights to education in Nigeria

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Piece #3 The Doll ChallengeZambezi doll company

So we set them a challenge: Could they produce ten perfect dolls in one day?

The women were so up for it. They set to work immediately, Magdalene cutting out the body pattern, Mary sewing the body seams, Olipa stuffing, Nophreen embroidering the facial features, Charity and Exhilda fashioning wigs and hairstyles, Rosemary customizing clothes, Pauline making earrings and decoration. Annie and Ivy are chosen to cook both for the Mama Bakhita children’s lunch and for the women themselves.Originally it had been Nophreen, Rosemary and Charity who were scheduled to cook today, but when the challenge was issued, the women knew that they would be at a disadvantage without the skillful threesome. The group decided that Annie and Ivy, the least skilled among them, should cook so that the others could work at full speed. They seemed not to resent this.

Meanwhile, Sydney, Chembo and I spent many hours at a bank located in a grocery store applying for a bank account for our half of the business called “Handmade in Zambia”, also a non profit. It had taken us a long time to realize that we needed a business to market the dolls. I had always assumed that we could set up a subsidiary of the AACDP in Livingstone with Sydney at its head, but when we went to PACRA, (which stands for Patents and Companies Registration Agency)
At the hydro pool/doll workshop* we set up a photo shoot studio. Sydney has been pouring over internet articles for advice and we are experimenting ways to take good photos of the dolls. It is not easy, but we are improving.

The unspoken piece is that our responsibility is to sell 200 dolls a month to actually reach that break-even point.

But I have faith in the sales team of Chembo, Victor, Susan and Sydney. We have discussed our markets:
-Families interested in un-sexy (friendly?) and beautifully hand crafted (anti-Barbie) dolls of color, each one unique and made of natural materials.
-Organizations such as schools, hospitals, museum gift shops and doctors who might be interested in having appealing dolls of color in their waiting.

At the close of the working day I remembered our challenge. The women had not forgotten, of course, and were looking very pleased with themselves, when Chembo announced that 17 perfect dolls had been produced in one day, albeit, a long day. This was very good news because it indicated that we could meet our break-even point of 200 dolls a month.

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Crafts By and For Women

by Marsha Winsryg

supporting maasai craftswomen

On sale every Monday at the Grange Hall, 10 to 5, are these Maasai beaded bowls along with many other beaded items which raise money for Maasai women struggling with a hostile government in Tanzania.

 

supporting haitian women quiltmakersPeaceQuilts sells not only museum quality art quilts designed and made by Haitian women, but also many other reasonably priced textiles like potholders, shopping bags, necklaces from cloth beads and metal work.

saving indian girls from human trafficking

The Invisible World is a non profit working with another organization, Her Future Coalition, to rescue young Indian women from sex trafficking and training them as jewelry makers. Some of these pieces are inspired by Dawn Moran’s photographs of plankton, this being her focus as a marine biologist and the invisible part of the name for her non profit.

supporting zambian women with disabled children

The African Artists Community Development Project continues to support disabled children at the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home in Livingstone, Zambia and works with their mothers to create the worker-owned Zambezi Doll Company.

 

 

 

 

 

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