Home Women & Child Development Address by Ondo State First Lady, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu at the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp

Address by Ondo State First Lady, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu at the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp

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Ladies and gentlemen, we are sailing on troubled waters. The captains of the ship seem to have taken their hands off the wheel. We are left bare, exposed and without the protection we thought we had. Wolves in the wilderness; the hyenas, they come at us from all angles, it keeps getting worse, they keep coming and no one says nothing. The girl folk is being hunted; in every way we are hunted. First, we should not speak, we must not stand eyeball to eyeball with the men. And now, we are here, being molested as though we are lesser beings. But we know what we have to do to protect ourselves; we know where we have to stand to have our voices heard, we know where we have to be to tell the world we are in no way fools. And that is why we are here today; and that is why we were here last year and two years ago. To build the capacity of our girls, broaden their intellectualism, give them that inner strength; that self-esteem; that self-worth that gives them the strong conviction that they are in no way the lesser version of men.
For two years we have trained 750 girls, 750 girls that will change the narrative of the girl child; that will bring that balance to the gender world; that will ensure that no girl is looked down on again because girls do amazing things. We are here today to welcome another 250 girls who will join their compatriots already on the battle field, fighting for the cause of women, showing to the world that women can be more than what the society say they are. Women will stand for themselves; my girls will stand for their selves. They will never play fool; they will never put all their dependence on any man. They will walk shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand with the male folk to achieve a prosperous society for us all. The duty is not for men alone. The duty is for persons of both gender to create a society that is free of violence; that is free from atrocities; that is free of all forms of intimidation and harassment. A society that must grow, a society that must be sustained is a society that does not discriminate by any means especially by gender.
Today is a happy day for me, I am very excited. The past few weeks have been filled with so much pain; hearing girls, very little girls getting raped and assaulted. But I know that it’s only a matter of time before we change this narrative. One step at a time, we are going to ensure that every girl is equipped to defend herself, to fight for her right and to never keep silent. We will be everywhere the male folks are; we will no longer be contained in a box. That era is over, this is a new era.
My girls, welcome to the world of unending opportunities where your capabilities are limitless. Here you will learn all you need to be a complete woman; that techy woman. A woman with so much grace whose head is always held up high. In the next two weeks, the true you will be unveiled. I want you to open your hearts and mind, let all you will be taught sink deep into your spirit. Forget all the limiting ideologies the society has taught you; all the baseless cultural norms you grew up to know. You must have been told not to speak where men speak, not to think beyond house chores, kitchen and “za oza” room. My little angels, you are far beyond that. I have faith in you all and I am sure we will work together to make our world a better place.
Welcome to the 2019 Bemore Summer Boot Camp!

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