Mr. and Mrs. Jakes had six girls and a boy. Mr. Jakes vowed not to train any of the girls beyond primary level nor equip them with skills. Their crime? They were ‘mere’ girls. He would always argue that he would not train another man’s property. He treated them and their mother like second-class citizens. However, he trained the boy up to the university level. Fortunately, he got a good-paying job in Dakar and left the country.
One of the girls was offered a scholarship that saw her through to the university level. Her outstanding performance got her another scholarship to study further in Japan. She took their youngest sister along with her to Japan as the scholarship made provision for that.
The other sisters did not have the opportunity to go to school from their parents’ house. Nevertheless, the upbringing and encouragement of their mother bore fruit. The eldest daughter was able to pursue her education from her husband’s place while the rest remained petty traders till fortune smiled on them all.
Unfortunately, once their brother left the shores of the country, he forgot all about his family. Their only consolation was that they knew he was alive and healthy. He broke his father’s heart.
As fate would have it, within a few years, the two girls in Japan began to make waves. Before you know it, their family rose from poor, obscure to rich, and famous. You would often hear from parents in that community, ‘Are those Jake girls not young girls like? Why can’t you try to be like them?
The Jakes’ girls did not stop with their family. They set up foundations to assist other girls to aspire to pursue their dreams. Their mother later joined the two who were in Japan.
Do you think these children will be wrong in neglecting their father? Would you cater to such a father if you were in their shoes?
In the light of such transformation and empowerment that girls can bring to our society, the Lilian Ike Foundation believes that every girl counts. Every girl has the potential to make a difference in the families and the nation as a whole.
That is why the Foundation always champions the causes of girls. From empowerment and counseling to speaking out against all forms of violence and discrimination against the girl child, they are girl child advocates.
As the world celebrated this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, Lilian Ike Foundation took it upon itself to educate young girls and their mothers on menstrual hygiene. Through their ‘one girl, one child’ campaign, they were able to share pads to many girls in the poor rural settlement of Ruga on the outskirts of Abuja.
Did you know that millions of girls miss school every month because they have no access to menstrual products like pads and tampons? Yes, menstrual/period poverty is a thing. Imagine a child missing school three to seven days every month simply because she cannot afford pads.
Some of them use tissue papers, old clothes, and even used pads! I remember a tweet where someone was reminiscing on how she used to scavenge for used pads in the dustbins. It is not healthy to wash and reuse your own pad; not to talk of a stranger’s.
You now see that the health and future of these girls are at stake. We can all join hands to change this narrative. Let us empower more girls to stay in school and maintain good menstrual hygiene. You don’t need to buy menstrual sanitary wears for all the indigent girls. Just look around you and help the few that you can.
If most of us who are capable can do this in our communities, you will see that we will be empowering lots of girls in a short while.
Some of us do not have access to these girls who face period poverty. You can collaborate with Lilian Ike Foundation to reach out to more of such girls.
Together, we can make our world a better place because when you empower a girl, you empower a nation. That’s the truth.