My Vision: My Guide when I cannot see the Light

Nigeria

MY VISION FOR GIRLS:

  • Its is not discovered or created, but revealed.
  • It doesn't compete with others but complete others.
  • It is captivating, not optional, I cannot get it out of mind.
  • Its goal is not to make money but to meet needs.
  • Its success rest not on staying ahead of others, but on serving others.
  • Its purpose is not to feed my ego, but to glorify God.

 

Let me begin with these words from an unknown author.

" We all dream and imagine, but only those who believe succeed.." 

Almost everyone can think of a moment where they needed to be hopeful or imagine a way forward. For me,  my journey of hope began when poverty threatened to challenged my education pursuit and my vision to educate girls. I realized I was losing ground. I felt extremely less strong and successful.  I was so irritated at how deprivation kept taking its toll on me. Even though, I knew I don’t always succeed; I thought I ought to do what is right. I struggled to stay strong and believe in my ability to fight back with every punch because I know where I’ll be if I give up. My self-advocacy and determination made it possible for me to graduate with a bachelor degree in education against all overwhelming odds.

In 2006 during my compulsory degree project, I was moved to research on the obstacles in female education. Through interviews, observations and interactions, I became passionate to  promote and defend the right to education of girls which I can confidently say, changed my life forever. It was actually not a funny experience starting something for girls. I had no resources, no experience and skills to go about. Nothing hopeful to behold!  Frequently, I step out to grant the wishes of vulnerable girls. I made trips to visit the girls at their houses and whispering to them message of hope and possibilities. I receive hundreds of letters from the girls that said I changed their lives; and little did they know they were changing mine!

In consequence, my little passionate act began to draw more girls in need to me. The tsunami of girls includes: forced marriage, school-drop out, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and gender-related discrimination. Some of these girls came to me for support creating many exciting scenarios that prunes me for mighty task ahead. As I passionately given opened ears and hands to the girls, more become increasingly demanding for my help in various areas such as livelihood, literacy, skill acquisition, education  etc. At this moment, I was left with no financial resources to meet up with the high demands of the girls. In my personal experience to breaking barriers, I managed to find solutions into the adversaries of these girls.

Having witnessed little if any success in my first years of commitments, I said to myself “I don’t think I am in this for personal gain, but for humanity”.  I had no idea that in my own little way I was the only source of hope to many girls in my community. I was just one ordinary young woman who loves girls and their education and given opened heart desperately wanted to help those girls who need my service. The arena of services, some to be given school fees, cloths, counseling, sanitary pads etc.  It was actually not a funny experience having no job, no sponsor and nothing just meaningful to sustain the hope aroused in every girl-child. It seems that’s not enough, I continued to be overwhelmed with extremely limited financial resources to meet the needs of the massive number of girls who only light in their dark moment was me.

Even when I discovered that an organization has been established without my awareness, I choose not to promote it rather; if it were to do so, it must be through the testimonies of impact I made in the lives of the girls. It was based on this strategy I witnessed self-life empowerment and personal transformation that excites the emotions of many girls whom I empowered to empower others. “Thus the motto of my organization; “To be Willing, Equipped and Serve...” Although I did not plan or anticipate it, a fruitful organization was born.  My organization (Girls Education Mission International) was blessed with a growing number of volunteers who are committed to work with me to invest their time and energy in the life of girls. So far, I impacted the lives of over 2000 girls and women in Nigeria. By the touching testimonies of the girls, my organization continues to be recognized both at local and international scene we are experiencing an increased expression of interest from individuals, organizations across the globe who through our impact saw great need to reach out to girls and women with us.

Yes! My commitment to the destination of my Vision was tested with the journey far from smooth!. It became impossible for me to consistently meet girls’ expectations as expected. It was so challenging for me to maintain convictions. I almost deflated to lose every passion and zeal to go on. I paused for a while to think of it and find out that the step towards a breakthrough that sustained my vision was the determination and zeal of the girls who despite inadequate funds to support them they never lose hope, but they remained committed to their education. These girls inspired me to find no better way to be more hopeful than to let go of disappointments, failures and regrets, and smiling with gratitude and taking with me those special moments that helps break free from negative pattern within me and in the world of girls and how these moments enabled me create more impact in my community.

Reflecting upon my strategy to impact and transform more lives through Girls Education Mission International, I strongly believe in having big plans, but it's even greater for me to be realistic about my capacity and resource. Even with limited resources I hope to be the very best in all I do. I dream big with hope to thrive to consistently keep serve girls in the best possible way I can and continue to make profound difference in their lives than ever before.

Finally, I would  say that  my success is just a a long history of my failure culminating in the attainment of my Vision and goals.

 

Keturah Shammah

Executive Director

Girls Education Mission International

Photographer & Videographer Credit: David Samuel
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