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The news of the appointment of Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi as the UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations -Energy, was an exciting way to end the last decade.

Ms. Ogunbiyi is the immediate past Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. With an extensive leadership experience and a track record of supporting energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa, we felicitate with her and are convinced she is a perfect fit for her new roles.

With a track record of firsts (first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency,  and first woman to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board)  She is credited for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria. She also developed the Energizing Economics Initiative and Energizing Education Programme, which provide sustainable and affordable off grid power solutions.

Amazons Watch Magazine is thus glad to unveil the undaunted, brave and very forward-looking Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi as our ‘’Heroine of the Week’’ and first heroine of this new decade.

“I want little girls to grow up knowing they can do anything, even play football.” 

– Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female coach.

Jennifer Welter is an American football player and coach who was most recently a defensive specialist for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football.

Sri Lankan beauty queen and Mrs. World pageant titleholder Caroline Jurie, has pledged her support to the country’s less privileged children. She plans to use her new-found fame to inspire and empower children in the island nation.

Caroline Jurie, a mother of a two-year-old girl, hailing from a middle-class family from Kandana, a suburb of capital Colombo, has always aspired to be a model, though she had never walked on a ramp, till she competed for the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant. 

Jurie has also launched a social project called “Be You”, to help children suffering from mental illnesses. In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Colombo, Jurie said that it is important to “always be you and not change yourself despite criticism”.

“Always be who you are and don’t be afraid,” she said. She hopes that her life story can contribute to the social movement to encourage youth and children to pursue their passion and goals, without being victimized by social norms and constraints.

Jurie represented her country at the Mrs. World 2020, a beauty competition for married women, held on Dec. 2019 at the grand finale in Las Vegas, U.S.

Soon after returning to Colombo with the crown, she hosted a Christmas Party, inviting underprivileged children and those orphaned in the Easter bombings last year in April. The event brought together over 250 children, who enjoyed snacks, games, and gifts.

“My main intention of this campaign is to motivate youth especially, girls to expand the traditional and cultural boundaries which restrict creativity and free-thinking,” she said.

She wants to continue with the “Be You” project, even after giving up the crown. She aims to target children all over Sri Lanka, especially orphans and those with mental illness.

“My ultimate aim is to uplift and empower all children in my country, especially the less fortunate,” Jurie told Anadolu Agency.

A Sri Lankan Health Ministry report in 2017 had disclosed that around 7% of youth in the island nation attempt to commit suicide, indicating that behavioral problems were appearing a serious challenge.

Title did not come on a Platter

Jurie said she has discovered an alternate way to heal mentally ill children.

“When children suffer from such illnesses, they are asked to take medicine. But I have found another way to cure and that is to talk to them. Let them share their problems, and also use techniques of meditation and yoga. Ultimately, it is not only about medicine, but about using love and care, “she said.

Sharing her experience, Sri Lanka’s most glamorous woman said many children, mostly orphans are reticent. “Since they do not have parents, they do not express themselves. But it is only a matter of time. When you sit, start talking and loving them, they do become confident and communicative,” she said.

After completing her education, Jurie had moved to Dubai to pursue a career as a sales executive, where she met her soul-mate Nishantha Deepal. She gave up her career to pursue her dream of becoming a beauty queen.

The title did not come on a platter. While she sailed through the national pageant easily, it was a daunting task to compete at the international level. First, it was a lack of sponsors and then visa issues with the U.S. mission became obstacles. The U.S. Embassy rejected her visa twice. But ultimately her steadfastness succeeded. She returned to Colombo with a title.

Although her “Be You” project focuses only on children living in Sri Lanka, Jurie said that she is willing to expand it to cover other countries.

“All I want is to bring a smile to the faces of disadvantaged children.”

Jurie plans to spend time with children orphaned in the Easter attacks. “Those children need love, and I want to spend time with them and make them feel loved,” she added.

Parenting tops the list of jobs that never goes on holidays. Regardless of however ready for parenting an individual might assume to be, the concept of being absolutely ready for parenting prepared to raise a child especially in this 21st century, is as unrealistic as it is far-fetched.

In parenting having a strong-willed daughter who at an early stage already knows whatever she desires and will not take “no” for an answer whenever her demands are not met; can be very Tedious for most parents. Nevertheless, the journey of raising a strong-willed daughter can possibly turn out superb depending on how knowledgeable the parents are.

An article on parenting.com actually described parents with strong-willed children as lucky, adding that while raising strong willed children can be a challenge when they’re young, if sensitively parented, they can become terrific teens and young adults.

What exactly describes a strong-willed child?

Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University carefully explains the benefits of having strong-willed children. He describes strong -willed children as spirited, headstrong, rambunctious and even courageous. According to him, they are usually self-motivated and inner-directed, they often grow into leaders as adults.  

It is quite hilarious how the qualities that make a strong-willed child is largely condemned at the child’s young age and later demanded at the child’s older days as one of the most important qualities for a successful life. A parent’s ability to properly mentor and manage her strong-willed child, will turn out with the big grin of beholding a self-motivated and self -driven teen/adult in the nearest future. 

Without ‘’Love’’, the tale of a mother and child will remain incomplete. There is little wonder then on why most parents desire to push their children towards paths they feel will benefit them best in future. This task is always daunting when the child/children involved are strong willed as they can be hardly swayed when they have their mind set on something. Their experimental personality constantly ignites them to seek after learning things based on their own experiences rather than what someone else narrates to them, so they are always fond of testing the limits over and over.

In a world where tagging along with the multitude has become the norm, smartly raising a strong -willed child is one of the surest means to ensure you have kids who stand for what they know is right and not just what is acceptable to the majority population. Strong -willed children do not take actions or make decisions or engage in activities to get attention and approval of their peers. 

Considering as scholars have advocated for strong-willed children, this does not in any way excuse raising disobedient and ill-mannered kids. Rather raising strong – willed kids involves giving a child the liberty to think ‘outside the box’ and not just to play by the limiting rules of life. 

Seeing as life rarely gives you what you deserve, but what you demand for, your strong-willed child cannot be adequately prepared for life challenges if she is continually been shut out from voicing her opinions in family concerns, especially on matters that concern her life.

If you are currently raising a strong-willed child/child, you have to realize that they will seek a lot validation. Rather than yelling out for every single act of misbehavior, you have to make an effort to listen to their side of the story. Ensure to add empathy and validation to conversations, especially when attempting to make them do what you want.  An article by the Independent Magazine on the importance of raising strong-willed children advised that for the little things, the everyday, non-life-threatening issues, parents should let up a bit on these kids. Obedience as a result of trust, not of broken will, must be placed as premium when relating to individuals especially growing kids. 

Since we have recognized that raising a child comes with so much responsibilities, parents therefore ought to be mentally, emotionally, financially and physically ready before taking this unique life’s responsibility; and part of their readiness must include preparing to raise strong -willed children.

Eloke-Young Splendor

Miracle Nwankwo

“I would have loved to have heard a story like mine. I could have used it as an inspiration to get by. The lesson is to be hopeful, to dream and to aspire for more.’’ Ilhan Omar.

Young Ilhan Omar and her family fled Somalia to Kenya in 1991 during the civil war. While militiamen planned to attack their home at midnight they were advised by older female relatives to escape safely. Omar left with her family, shortly after, she recounted walking through streets scattered with debris and corpses. 

The family settled in the Utango camp, near the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa for four years. They were among the first displaced persons to reach the Utango camp, which had just opened. Refugees were kept in tents or makeshift huts before the facility was closed, in about 1996.

While in the camp Omar collects firewood and water for her family, and watched other kids going to school in uniforms. She remembers asking her father if she could resume her education.

The camp was isolated and rudimentary with inadequate provisions and sanitation, as such there were situations of deaths as a result of malaria.

Gratefully, Omar and her family moved to the United States when she was 12 under a resettlement programme.

The family arrived New York in 1992, secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995 and lived for a while in Arlington, Virginia, before going to settle in Minneapolis. Her father started working as a taxi driver and later got a job at the post office.

Omar lost her mother when she was 2 years old, so she was raised by her father and grandfather. Her father and grandfather emphasized the importance of democracy during her upbringing, and at age 14 she accompanied her grandfather to caucus meetings, serving as his interpreter. 

She also had her share of racism. Back in Virginia Omar was bullied in school as a result of her distinctive Somali appearance and wearing of the hijab. Several times, gum was pressed into her hijab and she was being pushed down stairs. In response to these actions her father will always say “They are doing something to you because they feel threatened in some way by your existence.”

Whatever has a beginning also has an end.

Omar gained U.S. citizenship in 2000 and she was 17 years old.

She attended Edison High School. While in school she volunteered as a student organizer. In 2011 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University majoring in political science and international studies. She was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

She started her professional career at the University of Minnesota as a community nutrition educator between 2006 to 2009 in the Greater Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. She served as campaign manager for Kari Dziedzic’s re-election campaign for the Minnesota State Senate, in 2012. She served as a child nutrition outreach coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education, between 2012 and 2013.

Omar managed Andrew Johnson’s campaign for Minneapolis City Council, in 2013. After Andrew Johnson won the election and was elected, she was appointed as his Senior Policy Aide from 2013 to 2015. 

However, there was a contentious precinct caucus that turned violent in February 2014, and Omar was attacked by five people and was injured. The day before the caucus, Minneapolis city council member, Abdi Warsame had told Johnson to warn Omar not to attend the meeting, Minn Post reported.

Omar was the Director of Policy Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network, September 2015. While in that capacity, she advocated for women from East Africa to take on civic and political leadership roles. In September 2018, Jeff Cirillo of Roll Call called her a “progressive rising star.”

Omar ran on the Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) ticket for the Minnesota House of Representatives District 60B, in 2016, which includes part of northeast Minneapolis. She defeated Mohamud Noor and incumbent Phyllis Kahn in the DFL primary, on August 9. She faced Republican nominee Abdimalik Askar, who was her chief opponent in the general election and another activist in the Somali American community. However, Askar announced his withdrawal from the campaign in late August and in November Omar won the general election, becoming the first Somali American legislator in the United States. Her term began on January 3, 2017. A journey she scaled upwards till date.

She currently serves as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, giving hope to other young people whose stories are similar to hers.

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, has announced that she is permanently leaving her country for Europe.

The 21-year-old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting, “Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

Alizadeh became the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal after claiming bronze in the 57kg category of Taekwondo at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Affectionately known in Iran as “The Tsunami,” Alizadeh announced she was leaving her birth country amid searing criticism of the regime in Tehran.

“They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” she wrote, adding that credit for her success always went to those in charge.

“I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools,” Alizadeh added, explaining that while the regime celebrated her medals, it criticized the sport she had chosen: “The virtue of a woman is not to stretch her legs!”

Reports of her defection first surfaced Thursday, with some Iranians suggesting she had left for the Netherlands. It was unclear from her post what country Alizadeh had gone to.

On Friday the head of Iran’s Taekwondo Federation, Seyed Mohammad Pouladgar, claimed Alizadeh had assured both her father and her coach that she was traveling as part of her vacation, a trip he claimed was paid for by the Iranian government. He dismissed the reports of Alizadeh’s defection as politically motivated rumors amplified by the foreign media.

Alizadeh confirmed the rumors Saturday, saying she “didn’t want to sit at the table of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery” and that she did not want to be complicit with the regime’s “corruption and lies.”

“My troubled spirit does not fit with your dirty economic ties and tight political lobbies. I wish for nothing else than for Taekwondo, safety and for a happy and healthy life, she said adding that she was not invited to go to Europe.

She said the decision was harder than winning Olympic gold. “I remain a daughter of Iran wherever I am,” she said.

Her defection came amid anti-government protests in cities across Iran Saturday and international pressure after Iran admitted it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner, killing all 176 people aboard.

Canada, Sweden and other countries whose citizens died on the plane have increased demands on Tehran to deliver a complete and transparent investigation against the backdrop of fresh US sanctions on Iran and a dangerous escalation with Washington.

“Iran will continue to lose more strong women unless it learns to empower and support them,” said US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus about Alizadeh’s defection.

Source: CNN

Brigid Kosgei, Women’s marathon world record holder will return to defend her championship at the 2020 London Marathon, organizers said on Monday.

Kosgei of Kenya set the women’s world record last October in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds marathon, shattering Paula Radcliffe’s world marathon record, which no woman had come close to in the past 16 years. 

Six months before the Chicago record-breaking run the 25-year-old won the London Marathon for the first time and she is not hesitant about coming back to defend her championship with other elite lineup of Kenyan runners.

“I am very much looking forward to returning to the London Marathon,” Kosgei said in a statement.

“Last year was an incredible year for me and it started by winning in London. Coming back will be very special and I hope it can be the start of another memorable year.”

Fellow Kenyan and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who broke the two-hour mark in an unofficial event last October, has already confirmed that he will be defending his London title.

Other elite Kenyan runners to grace the field this season includes 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot, three-time Berlin marathon champion, Gladys Cherono and current world champion, Ruth Chepngetich.

Joyciline Jepkosgei, the 2019 New York City Marathon champion, will also feature on the start line in London.

Jepkosgei and Kosgei are currently joint top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XIII with 25 points apiece.

To this end, everyone looks forward to the 2020 London Marathon which has been slated for coming April  26.