“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.” – Helen Dyer
Volunteering has given my life a new meaning. As a young girl growing up in Nigeria, I have longed for ways to give back to the society. Thankfully, I found the Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative, SEGEI where I now serve as a field volunteer.
I have been part of outreaches that covered menstrual hygiene education, gender based violence, safety in the face of pandemic, adolescents education and human rights education. I must say it’s indeed an eye opener for me. I have come to identify with the needs and challenges people face on a daily basis, the realities and needs of young people in rural communities, the insecurities and fears of the adults over the well being and safety of their children, especially the girl child.
Most girls in these settings are naïve and uninformed about their rights and voices, our outreach put smiles on their faces, they are happy knowing there’s an organization thinking and looking out for them, willing to support them through education. With our outreaches they get to access valid information and education at the grass root level. We teach the women that everyone can use their voice to promote social, economic and political good in the land regardless of gender, we enlighten the fathers to take a stand on protecting their wives and children, to give them an equal playing field because when everyone is empowered, the society wins.
During these outreaches, their questions are usually endless especially when the topics are on gender based violence and menstrual hygiene. Most times, I let our team lead who is more experienced respond to them. I recall one time when I spoke to some girls about menstrual hygiene, I was shocked to find that most of them couldn’t count their cycles. They also wanted to know if something could replace pads and I didn’t have the answer. Thanks to our lead who explained there were reusable pads and tampons that could also be used.
As I continue to go to the fields, my confident grows, I am challenged to read and learn more. These girls motivate me. Seeing how they were when we met them in the beginning and how much have changed gives me the outmost fulfillment in life.
Volunteering isn’t always convenient but the reward is definitely worth it. I encourage everyone to offer their time volunteering. I look forward to the lives that would change because I did my part reaching out.. You too CAN.
Written by: ChideraGift (SEGEI Volunteer)