Silence to Success: Mrs. Chima’s Journey with Edda Women pen_spark

In the course of carrying out our SGBV trainings and empowering programs in which Edda Women Progressive Development Initiative (EWPDI) have reached 300 women and 200 young girls, we met a lot of interesting women and girls. In one of the programs, they were taught how they could rebrand their businesses as well as discover their passions and pursue it as a career and these programs are supported by Women’s Voice Leadership (WVLN), funded by Global Affairs Canada and managed ActionAid. 

On first encounter, Mrs Ijeoma Chima came across as a shy woman who could hardly look others in the eyes. She kept to herself and spoke sparingly. She later told us that she is into trading of second hand clothing. Her business was not doing well at that point in time, they also had accommodation challenge. After a couple of interactions with her, we discovered that she was not as introverted as she presented to the world around her. She could be sociable and make people laugh, sing and moderate small gatherings, but was inhibited as a result of dynamics in her family where the husband controlled everything.

With time, she began to talk and express herself openly; according to her she began see changes in her business as she could reach out to customers. She would ask friends who have events to give slots to perform as a Master of Ceremony in their events pro bono. Such opportunities helped her grow her confidence and self-esteem.

One would think that people around her will be happy for her, especially her husband. No, her husband kept piling pressure on her to stop her new found pleasures and revert to her old self of being a hermit.  He did everything to put her down and disgrace her at every turn.

The lack of support from the home-front affected her so badly that she began to draw back and withdraw into her shell again. When we discovered that she was no more regular at programs, followed her up to certain the reasons she was no more active. She narrated how her husband has been the reason she withdrew.

We encouraged her to continue to work on herself as well as work to convince her husband that the changes he is seeing is not upset the status quo in the family and our follow-up on her continued.

After about 17 months, she got in touch with us and told us that she wanted us to attend an event she was moderating. It was a huge success and she is so proud of herself, because even her husband is her cheerleader and he attends her event.

In addition to building her confidence and self-esteem Mrs Ijeoma earns extra income that has improved their standard of living with them being able to get a decent accommodation.

In her words, “I bless God for the day I came in contact with Edda Women, they have changed my life. I never knew I could speak before people because I have been conditioned to be quiet in the public. Today, I can talk anywhere and even make money from talking. Thank you Edda Women ooo.”

With support of WVLN, the funds of Global Affairs Canada and the capacity building skills of Actionaid Nigeria impacted on us; Edda Women Progressive Development Initiative has been able to touch lives positively for the uplifting of women and Girl-child.