An Address by Her Excellency, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu at the Opening Ceremony of the 2021 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp on the 13th of September, 2021
BEMORE HAS COME TO STAY
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the 2021 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp. This for us is a great landmark and we are happy that you all, in one way or the other, are a part of this remarkable experience.
This year marks the fourth edition of BEMORE in Ondo State and the second edition of BEMORE in Imo State. Surely, we couldnt have gotten this far without sheer resilience a willpower to impact the girl child at all cost, and I really mean at all cost. There was a hunger in me to change the gender narrative of our nation, but in me was also doubt. My doubt was not because I was bereft of ideas on how to change the gender narrative, rather, I was unsure of how to get the required resources to empower the girl child and in effect change the gender narrative.
Knowing that Nigerians are not given to volunteerism and crowd funding, I feared that my agenda to bridge the gender parity gap by empowering girls in the field of ICT and solar technology might just live in my mind till the end of my days. However, I had at a point in my life during my battle with breast cancer – learned that doubt can only be removed by action. So even in the murky water of uncertainties I and my team took action.
Ladies and gentlemen, Here we are, four years down the line, we are close to training 2000 young secondary girls in ICT, SOLAR Technology and other life enhancing skills. I make bold to say; BEMORE has come to stay! Yes, we are committed to building an army of female technology leaders. Given that their minds have been rewired to have a different orientation, the BEMORE girls will become a generation I had named “A BREED WITHOUT GREED”. The girls will be taught to become selfless change agents by making SERVICE their watchword. In fact, with these girls, I foresee a future where females lead.
My new digital and solar girls, I congratulate you all. You should know that every one of you is special and was born to do exploit. Although the society might not give you all you want or need, this summer boot camp is giving you the opportunity to be part of a few young girls who will lead and inspire generations of girl children. Do your best to listen and learn all you can during this summer boot camp. Now your future is in your hands. Only you can determine how far you will go in life. The journey to greatness begins now, make every step count.
Indeed our ability to hold this years BEMORE Summer Boot Camp was threatened by lack of resources. With the disastrous impact of covid-19 on economies of both developed and developing nations, it became practically impossible to seek support from government institutions. This challenged us to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas of raising funds to support the development of girl children through the BEMORE Empowered Initiative. We have demonstrated that we can successfully raise our funds locally without stress through an innovative approach tagged “throw pillow challenge” which many of you participated in and it was fun. We will continue to be innovative in our operations to make BEMORE sustainable.
I thank my BEMORE team for believing in this cause and I sincerely appreciate their unalloyed commitment to organising a world class boot camp. I equally thank everyone who joined the throw pillow challenge, you made 2021 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp possible. The thought of seeing BEMORE “go with the winds” after the tenure of Arakunrin as Governor of Ondo State is concerning because that’s what happens to initiatives or pet projects of First Ladies except very few. I don’t want that to happen to BEMORE. Please join me to ensure that BEMORE IS FOREVER!