MARCH 6, 2015- PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA. CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? Yes, indeed! We were heard in Port Harcourt and it was yet another fulfilling trip to Nigeria to promote Pathfinders’ #TakeMeOffMute™ Campaign which targets the empowerment of the mind, body and spirit of the girl child. Over 700+ male and female attendees learned emotional, physical, spiritual and mental self defense via the voices of award winning Nigerian actress and director, Joke Silva and Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, world renowned Nigerian Women’s Rights Activist. Both spoke on the atrocities women and young girls in Nigeria currently face and highlighted the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that their voices be amplified and heard. Other speakers included Pathfinders’ R. Evon Idahosa, recording artist Freke Umoh (who also performed his new Pathfinders’ single, “Let Your Love Be Loud”), Christie Bature Ogbeifun (on spiritual/emotional self defense) and martial arts experts from Elite Karate (demonstrations on physical self defense). At the close of the Campaign, all students took the #TakeMeOffMute™ Pledge to amplify their own voices and the voices of others surviving through child sex abuse and rape.
The work continues, as there are many more children/women who need to know that their unmuted voices resound like thunder in darkness. Thank you to everyone that made #TakeMeOffMutePH a HUGE success! Below are some testimonials of students that attended the program. Abuja, here we come!
“The program has made me courageous, creative and independent. Now, I believe that I can overcome everything. Also, I am convinced that with determination and hard work, I can make it in life.”
~Favour Ndom (15), JSS3.
“I liked the way the program was organized. Freke Umoh’s musical rendition had a deep impression on me. I equally learnt that whatever a man does to a girl, he does it to his mother, sister, wife and daughter.”
~Lovelyn Ndom (12), JSS2.
“In my own view, the program focused on the defence of female children, asking for equal rights for them, urging that they should not be treated like slaves. Through it, I now know the chains that surround me as a girl, and the big role I have to play to stop the ill-treatment of girls and women in our society. It is time I stood up and fought for my rights, and not fold my hands, if the chains must be broken. I realised the need to start thinking of how to give voice to girls and women.”
~Blessing Ibiam (13), JSS2.
“I do not have the right words to actually express how good the program was. But, with every sense of honesty, I will say that it was very wonderful. It taught me so many things, one of which is how to defend myself physically. For example, in the case of someone coming to rape me. Again, in a situation, where I cannot physically defend myself, I must not keep silent over the incident. I have to inform those who can help through the Pathfinders’ hotline.”
~Felicia Chima (13), JSS2.
“I was very delighted to see Barrister Ruth Idahosa and Joke Silva at the event. The program taught me a very important lesson in life. That is, how to open up to my parents whenever I face any problem, and not to stop talking until a solution is found.”
~Vivian Ndom (13), JSS1.
“I learnt what I can never forget: how to defend my body, mind, soul and spirit; how to overcome shyness, and how to develop what is in me.”
~Isongke Emem (11), JSS1.
“Kudos to the organizers for an excellent job! Their motive, to my mind, was heavenly. This was clearly manifested in the amount of trouble they had to take just to make sure that as many children as possible participated. The program was quite comprehensive in scope. A total package, indeed, it was. Regarding the calibre and quality of the resource persons invited to interact with the youngsters, one cannot but commend very highly all those who made that possible. It was equally well spiced-up to keep boredom at bay. The Pathfinders, through this laudable program, raised our consciousness to the fact that the whole essence of education is to humanize our world. This shall ever remain the propelling force of all our actions and endeavours.
~Aniekan Joseph, Teacher, Lumen Christi Lyceum School, Onne.