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Dec 1, 2015

Martina is more than just a number

We are all excited and gearing up for #EAGNigeria.  We reach Lagos on Tuesday and on ground, I,  Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido, Programme Partner, have been meeting and prepping our expected 250 girls.  

Let me share the story of Martina.

She's 21, at the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, wants to be a Journalist.

How do you say no to a young girl who's had a singular dream almost her entire life? When they apply, it's just a scholar number assigned to them - their registeration ID. She was #35 on my list to call. Until you make the call and speak with with them it doesn't hit you: why you do this; why it makes sense; how such a seemingly little thing can transform the trajectory of so many girls' lives...

Back to #35. So I called her to tell her she would be attending. And she gives out this joyful, heart-tugging yelp of laughter. "Really? She asks, incredulous with happiness. 'I've always wanted to work in broadcasting', she continues. 'Now, I'm at Auchi polytechnic, when I finish, I want to be someone who shares the news with people on TV, someone who gives important information to make lives better.'

I ask her if her mother or father is around so I can speak to them re consent form, since she'll be traveling from Benin to Lagos. There was silence at the end of the line. I prompt her again, thinking perhaps my  airtel line has failed me, and she speaks in a small voice, the excitement fading off: 'My mom died when I was three.' 'May her soul rest in peace,' I say, wishing I'd not asked the question. Thinking of my own daughter. So many thoughts competing in my mind. And so to bring up the energy, I asked gently: Call your dad, let me speak with him. Silence again; Then, almost in a sort of shame and a tinge of empathy and wisdom, she says quietly:

'Hmmmnn, aunty, the truth is, he's not really constant in my life, but it's okay, I guess. My grandmother raised me, all by herself.' She finishes the last sentence, with a sense of pride in her voice and love. Oh, you could feel the vibrations of love when she mentioned her grand mother. So I say instead: Say a big thank you to your grandmother, may God bless her for doing a wonderful job.' And those were her magic words. Her energy is lit up immediately and she laughs with the certainty of one who's heard a deep TRUTH. "Yes o, God will continue to bless my grandmother, she's the greatest." We laugh and pray together, for her grandmother, for her dreams, for her joy at the hands that life has dealt her...

By the time I put down the phone, she's no longer #35. She's as real as day. Her name is Martina. I am honoured to have come across her path and for the blessing to hear about her grandmother. Again, her name is Martina and she'll be attending the EAGNigeria Training. Her dreams are simple: I want to be a broadcaster, so my grandmother will look at me on the TV and know she did right by me.

We have more than 100 deserving girls across Nigeria on our waitlist to attend #EAGNigeria.  Donate today, please spread the word, and together, we can transform lives.

Nov 30, 2015

We've selected remote areas of Chittral for relief


Possibly the worst of the affected areas is Chittral, particularly the remove areas which traditionally don't get relief. Thanks to the support of Global Giving and donors such as yourself, we are heading into some major danger zones with the escort of UNDP.

The funding to date has helped us to arrange some blankets

And water

We also have some cookies.

But, it's not enough. There is s growing number of the most vulnerable of all groups - widows, orphans and women. They are still in distress and most of all, they need trauma counselling.

"I don't know what this all means," Ayesha (names changed to protect) a 29 year old widow with three children states. "What kind of future is there for me."

That's why we are planning to take a psychologist with us.

The journey is dangerous. The area even more so.

We need your help.

Spread the word so that we can help more numbers when we go. It's winter now. It's cold. More funding means more blankets, more water, more cookies, ideally a second counsellor. More people helped.

We need you. Now.

Nov 24, 2015

250 Nigerian girls to be educated Dec 4-7, 2015

Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido
Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido

Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido, Nigerian poet, is spearheading the line up of speakers and teachers at the educational training of over 250 deserving girls from across Nigeria this December.

She has also been spendings lots of time with the scholars.  Caroline, for example, is a young woman who wants simply a chance.  Juliet's attention to get to know each girl is what is making Educate a Girl such an important initiative.

The girls will be trained in the basic tenets of Journalism, the importance of integrity and authenticity in media, communicating clearly and building a career in this field.

If you want to help us fund to reach 300 girls for this training, please do spread the word.

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