Becoming a Champion in Action
The 2016-2017 Championship tenure has been so exciting and was a great opportunity for me to connect to other champions around the world through various social media options like Facebook, Twitter and Slack. Participating in this tenure as a woman with disability gave me the opportunity to improve my confidence and self-esteem, meet professionals in all walks of life and increase my knowledge on women’s economic empowerment. The knowledge and skills I have gained through my tenure will benefit me all my life and bring great change to the lives of women/girls with disabilities. Awareness of the cultural barriers facing women and girls is improving day by day, and my community has learned a great deal about the importance of women’s economic empowerment.
My achievements during the Championship tenure
My achievements have been numerous, from a start point of becoming more assertive to improving my self-esteem and improving livelihoods for women/girls and women/girls with disabilities in my community. I have made a remarkable change in my community, especially among women/girls with disabilities, through the economic empowerment activities in local soap and detergent production for a sustainable livelihood. Scaling up livelihood for a vulnerable population and for a positive impact to be measured in a short period is one of the best achievements of my tenure. As I have improved on my self-esteem and confidence, and become more assertive, I am now a role model to other women/girls with disabilities in my community. They now have the courage to stand out, be assertive, push their way to the front line and showcase their potential.
It has been a wonderful experience meeting other champions and professionals around the globe. This has given me the opportunity to showcase my abilities, talents and potential, and I have also learned from them. I am now a model in my professional network of disability and inclusive development in my country because the professionals were so impressed when I was selected as a champion for change under the UN Women platform. My IT skills have improved, as has my ability to use social media. Using Slack for the first time was so exciting and made it very easy to connect and publish stories and articles.
My project, "Scaling up Livelihood for Persons with Disabilities through Soap Making", in Bamenda II Subdivision, North West Region of Cameroon, is in its second quarter and has been very successful. So far the project has reached a total of 60 people in my community, who have been able to find out about economic empowerment through local soap and detergent production. The majority of these have been people with disabilities. This project was carefully chosen because it is very favourable to the environment; no waste product arises from the process to be dumped in our environment. For people with disabilities who are living below the poverty line, it requires very little startup capital and is not time-consuming (it takes a maximum of four hours for soap to be produced). The soap can even be marketed at home to nearby community members in the neighbourhood. I hope to continue this project for a long period, extending it to another six divisions of the North West Region. I also hope to provide startup grants to those who receive training so that they can set up small businesses for themselves to achieve a sustainable livelihood.
My worst challenge ever was when my region was deprived of the internet for three and a half months. I felt like my hands, eyes, ears and legs had been cut off. I found it hard to actively continue my champions activities, and I lost courage.
Another challenge was that I was unable to do my #BreakTheGlass video on time, so that it was not finally published. I give thanks to Moreangels, who was there to assist in my #BreakTheGlass poster.
My project cannot be properly and completely implemented if I don’t have enough resources, such as technical and financial assistance. I always need more help in these areas.
My mentor worked tirelessly with me to make sure I had a successful tenure, and I am very grateful for this. The main achievements were:
- I have become more assertive, more confident, and a role model for other peers with disabilities in my community and country
- Some friends in my network are interested in joining the movement
- Many people in my network now want me to share the monthly Empower Women Newsletter
- My non-profit organization has gained some credibility through the implementation of the first and second quarter of my project
- More persons with disabilities are interested in becoming involved in activities for the economic empowerment of women and girls
- Women/girls with disabilities have learned about their rights to economic empowerment, owning businesses and generating their own income
- Women/girls with disabilities are now involved in decision making for their wellbeing and for the benefit of the community
- I have been able to submit stories on #BreakTheGlass, and my continuous participation on the platform continues to give me visibility.