For as long as I have known, women have been chanting the whole empowerment song. They want the men to give them more opportunities to take the lead and they also want the women to support them. But really, maybe they need to actually take a nap, dare to dream, take a step and live that dream. This is what Vlisco has done in the past 2 years and though I didn’t quite see beyond the partying last year, I have come closer to it in the last couple of months, being around one who dared to dream and had real conversations with those that are living their dream.
At an exclusive dinner put together to celebrate the one woman who was voted as the Vlisco woman of the month in 2014 for daring to dream, Mrs. Adesuwa Onyenokwe, we got some deep insights into the very disturbing challenges that the Nigerian movie industry tries to put in our face but we are too busy criticizing the acting and the casting and the techniques and putting away the message behind all that ‘inefficiency’.
Rape, autism, education are all challenges that cuts across gender, class and age and though it may seem like a walk in the path, having the initiative to start something that not many could dabble into but being a woman in the media and finding the courage to hit the streets and tell the stories of a plethora of people at the time and age when AO, as Mrs. Onyenokwe is fondly called, did it, is a big deal.
Moving forward, I have heard too many stories from Itoro Eze-Anaba, Tolu Sangosanya and Dotun Akande who were nominees of the 2015 Vlisco woman of the month and then Dotun emerged the winner. Their stories have created an awakening in my spirit that pushed me to dare and to live.
Having a child with autism is no brainer and living beyond the challenegs of raising that child to assist other parents in growing their own children and giving them a gleam of hope is amazing. That is Dotun’s story. Watching over 600 people visit your centre the stoies of people that raped them or raped their children or even within the family is mind blowing and I wonder how Itoro gets a good night sleep. Then a child is in school and yet can’t read and write and no one except Tolu can see that there is a problem and has made it her problem.
These were stories I gathered at the exclusive dinner and as we celebrate our fragrances and Scents this month, I have sent out an article to Bella Naija on the Scents of Pain where I highlight these stories more elaborately and hope that these women can get the help that they need to move on with living their dreams. My own way of helping is by telling a story around my network and hope that more people can come across the story, share it with someone else and let everyone do something about the challenges that we face rather than stay back, do nothing and ultimately contribute to the problems.
In other news, we are proud of AO and glad that she could extend her hand to the other ladies so that together, they can form a formidable platform that younger ones like me can climb on.
See pictures from the dinner at Bistro 7 but remember the lesson from the story.
Special thanks to AO for the invite and to the Vlisco team for giving me a ride home *kisses*