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By Miracle Nwankwo

Tomi Adeyemi is an African in diaspora whose intents when it comes to writing is to be innovative about solving problems. She consistently and consciously channels her words as a problem-solving tool for the younger generation. As she amplifies the power of writing, the younger generation enlisted her works as a highly significant ladder to life success. At 24 she is popularly known as an American Writer, who many could not help but admire because of her great works in creative writing.

Tomi is a young, hardworking, determined and successful woman, who by all means, got herself to the beginning of a successful phase with utmost determination, no other sentence better describes this milestone achiever of the African descent. 

Tomi spends most of her time educating and inspiring over 4,500 writers on creative writing at tomiadeyemi.com, a blog she created for that same purpose. Life has not been a bed of roses for this exceptional writer, whose life story confirms the popular saying that “every success attained has a rough tale to it”.  Though she has also had her share of struggles, this courageous and creative diaspora woman has remained unshaken.

Tomi was born on the 1st of August in San Diego, California, into a family with a very humble background who struggled to make ends meet even though there was no single assurance that ends were ever going to meet.  Her father, although a certified physician back in Nigeria, worked as a taxi driver while he waited to transfer his qualifications and her mother worked as a cleaner. Luck smiled on the young African diaspora and she successfully graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature. 

When life seemed as if there was no hope, her passion to touch many lives, provided her an opportunity to study African mythology and culture in Salvador Brazil. 

Her journey in this field started way back at a very young age and her first story was written when she was only five years old. Considering her early writing passion one could easily describe her as the lady born with a golden pen in her hands.

 “I didn’t really get introduced to it! Writing has always been in me, it’s the first thing I ever did without anyone telling me what to do,” Tomi said. 

Accepting writing as her first weapon to change the world, she always made use of black characters in her writing as a way of teaching the blacks self-love and also improving the image of the blacks before other races. She often writes with an intention and purpose, particularly when it comes to the identities of her characters. 

When Tomi wrote her first novel, which did not yield positive feedback at the time, she became faced with two different options which was to either learn from her mistakes and move on or to remain submerged in self-pity and a long-term discouragement. She chose to stand tall and would not allow the failure to deter her, she instead gave herself a year to write another book which is the ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ that wowed the hearts of many.

She is most recognized for ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ and the book was picked up by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film adaptation. The hard work and passion she displayed in her works made her personal website and blog listed by writer’s digest as one of the best 101 websites for writers.

Reading the works of this milestone achiever, it is glaring that she patiently went through the route of self-development, which rapidly elevated her as a reference point to other writers. Tomi’s secret ingredient seemed to be her ability to see every major disappointment as an important stepping stone on her life’s journey. 

Regardless of the successes attained by Tomi, one of her most valued moments still remains whenever she comes in contact with young fans whose lives and belief systems have been greatly affected through her writing.

She discovered writing as a safe haven for her to escape into a world of complete possibilities, but also a sword for her to wield against all the injustices around her. In fact, writing provided the young lady with a voice and agency which became a reason for her existence. 

Tomi has successfully created writings that cannot but help proffer solutions to the existing challenges that face young women in our today’s world. As a unique publication born out of the desire to highlight the giant strides of women we raise our flags high in honour of Tomi Adeyemi – a successful woman in diaspora.

Meghan Markle shocked a school in the United Kingdom with a surprise visit, asking the men to honor the women in their lives.

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, visited the school Friday to offer an International Women’s Day message.

“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them,” she said. “Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. And let’s all just rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year.”

The surprise visit took place at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham in east London. The community was the site of famous strikes by female sewing machinists at a Ford plant, an equal pay fight depicted in the 2010 film “Made in Dagenham.”

In one of her final duties as a senior British royal, Meghan urged the boys in the school assembly of 700 students to “continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.”

In February, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told People: “The Duke and Duchess will be spending their time in both the United Kingdom and North America. In addition to continuing to work closely with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the U.K. and the Commonwealth throughout the year, the Duke and Duchess have also been undertaking meetings as part of their ongoing work to establish a new nonprofit organization. The details of this new organization will be shared later in the year.”

The Duchess of Sussex asked for a male volunteer to offer his thoughts on the importance of International Women’s Day.

Aker Okoye, 16, raced to the stage, greeting her with what appeared to be an air kiss to her cheek.

“She really is beautiful, innit?” he said as he took the podium. “I had to speak the truth there.”

Meghan gave him a hug and later praised his “incredible confidence.”

Source: Fox News

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) celebrates the achievements of the women’s rights agenda, particularly the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan (JONAP) on the UN Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.

Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction, while stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote peace and security, according to the UN’s website.

The ARDD, on behalf of Jordan National NGOs Forum (JONAF), represented by the Arab Cultural Forum, brought together representatives from the government, security agencies, educational institutions, representatives of civil society organisations and diplomatic missions in Jordan at Al Hussein Youth Sport City to mark the event, according to an ARDD statement.

The ARDD acknowledged the efforts of women in the armed and security forces, as well as the role of civil society organisations in advocating for gender-specific priorities and needs in the implementation of the JONAP, the statement said.

Within this framework, the ARDD is partnering with UN Women to encourage “strong, confident and passionate women” who believe they can make a difference in their societies and are able to join efforts in peace and security in their communities. This initiative is being supported by the governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, according to the statement. 

“The authorities in Jordan have committed themselves to adopting UN Resolution 1325, and Jordan initiated the creation of leadership institutions to empower and enhance the role of women in the country,” Basil Al Tarawneh, head of Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum, was quoted in the statement as saying.

Samar Muhareb, CEO of the ARDD, said in the statement: “Jordan has made several achievements in terms of involving women at all levels. However, additional efforts are needed to enhance their participation in the strategic decision-making process, especially in light of regional humanitarian crises, which are affecting women and girls severely.”

The ARDD’s research on “Jordanian Women in the Context of Conflict Prevention and Resolution”, issued in November of 2019, revealed a “positive influence” of young women in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance in their communities.  It also showed that women’s self-perception is an “influential factor” in their motivation and willingness to engage in their communities, noted the statement.

“Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and participation contribute to sustainable peace, security and economic growth. Through the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan on UN Resolution 1325, we are promoting civil society and women grassroots’ direct and meaningful participation towards the full achievement of its objectives in an inclusive manner,” said Tamar Tavartkiladze on behalf of UN Women Jordan.

Col. Khaleda Al Twal, Chief of Public Security Directorate’s Women’s Police Department, highlighted the department’s focus on equal pay in order to promote gender equality, in adherence with UN requests.

Salma Nims, secretary general at the Jordanian National Commission for Women, highlighted the active participation of Jordanian civil society organisations in the implementation of Resolution 1325 and their partnership with security agencies.

Source: The Jordan Times

By Aditi Maheshwari

To every woman this is for you:

You are not always the best at expressing yourself to others because it entraps you into a feeling of guilt for outperforming or not-performing or simply for compromising on things you know you should not have. But I want you to give yourself a chance to see who you truly are. There is something incredible inside you wanting to be acknowledged by you – only you. Nobody has the power to see you the way you see yourself, so do not let this incredible authority go unravished. I can promise you a truly rewarding experience when you actually exercise this simple and readily available opportunity to unleash your true self. 

Lift yourself out of the crowd’s blindfolded opinions of you and others. For once at the least give yourself a reasonable opportunity to know yourself better. Wherever the secret that are buried in your heart, spill it out on the paper like landmarks to a treasure. Do not be scared to start, remember you are your own true companion for life; others are simply a reflection of your inner world. If you shake off who you truly are, you will never be happy and satisfied even after having it all.

Love letters have always been a magical and heartfelt experience shared by lovers. Be your own lover and write a love letter to yourself. Acknowledge your true essence. With a mixture of humor, scathing honesty and tenderness and the simplicity of bursting-at-the-seams dreams that cradles so many desires and passions, surprise yourself with the authenticity required to live your true self. You will eventually see the underlying courage to be executed to attain limitless freedom of expression and authority.

You can know the characters that you are interested in, the moments you want to explore, places you want to go, things you want to learn, people you want to meet, themes you want to deal with, music you want to make, songs you want to sing, dances you want to dance, basically you will greet yourself at your own door. You will love yourself once again.

Give your heart back to itself. Peel your own mask. Feel long across those words, make sure they are real. A true love letter will ignite a process of transformation within you. It will drive you to live an authentic life where you enjoy feeling liberated and happy being yourself.

Love letters are a lost art in today’s time of instant messaging and emails, yet there is a special power when you write on paper in your own handwriting. It not only clears the clutter of the mind but builds a special understanding of things as well. You do not need to be formally inventive or intellectually expansive when writing to yourself. The mere simplicity is rewarding and exhilarating. Moreover, when we write things down, we increase the chances of achieving them. You can re-read them numerous no. of times and it will act as a reminder to make decisions based on self-love and not manipulation of your true self.

Remember, you do not need to be hard on yourself in the process, gift yourself forgiveness of always keeping others desires and needs before your own, gift yourself forgiveness for the time wasted, gift yourself the time to make the transformation- it will not happen overnight, gift yourself the grace of making mistakes in the process, gift yourself the wings to fly again- this time higher than before, gift yourself the honor of individuality, gift yourself the freedom of coming out of your cocoon.

You will soon discover your self-worth and what you are truly deserving of. You will realize what makes you unique. You will set healthy boundaries while dealing with others. You will start to nourish yourself better. You will start taking care of yourself. And slowly and steadily your new vibe will attract only the best of things, people and circumstances to you. So empower yourself by walking through the doors you once prayed would open.

Happy International Women’s Day

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, the Amazons Watch Magazine and CELD wish to celebrate the different shades of women’s achievements all over the world. Women who fought for change and so many noble causes in their communities; women who held the fort in their families and communities; women who made and continue to make history, treading uncharted waters and leaving a trail of examples for upcoming women to follow.
 
This month of March, we choose to celebrate these women in a poem, written by our editor.
 
To all women out there, please read on, this is for you:
 
Today, I choose to celebrate women the world over
 
I celebrate the Inventors
 
I see Grace Hopper and Stephanie Kwolek
 
Who? You ask. I bet their names sound Greek
 
How many female inventors do you know by name?
 
When men tell the stories, they keep the fame
 
Today, I sing a song for women
 
Whose exploits have brought us gain.
 
 
I celebrate the politicians
 
I see the likes of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Hilary Clinton
 
Who came in a skirt rather than a tuxedo
 
With chances they knew was anyone’s call
 
Wouldn’t they be better at answering phone calls?
 
And letting the men know when to stop by for dinner?
 
They knew it would be tough but they dared to succeed
 
Amidst tears and all which gave them nicknames
 
Their names deserve to be in a song
 
Today, I raise up my voice to sing their praises!
 
 
I celebrate the Entrepreneurs
 
Those who dreamt big and let their passions soar
 
Who knew doing otherwise will leave them Nillonaires
 
And so, they challenged the status quo
 
Rising early, knowing ‘’there is much to be done’’
 
Making bold moves and raking in the profits
 
No liability zone is her watchword
 
She toiled day and night and now is successful
 
As she provides jobs for countless others
 
Who will begrudge her as she smiles to the bank?
 
Let my tongue be stuck to my palette if I choose silence
 
Today I sing a song for all female entrepreneurs.
 
 
I celebrate the white-collar workers
 
Who often have to work three times as hard to be recognized
 
With a glass and pay ceiling looming over her as a cloud
 
She fights in this turf with a hand tied to her back
 
And when she makes a valid point – she is too assertive
 
While her male colleagues are very confident.
 
Though diligent with a pedigree marked with achievements,
 
Her authority is often undermined because she comes in a skirt.
 
And even as nature gifts her hormonal surges and period pains
 
She has to wear a smile through her grimace
 
Exhausted, she is home at the end of the day
 
But often, as mother, her day is just beginning
 
Yet, she lives both lives perfectly balanced
 
Which makes her every attainment weighted in gold
 
Would it not be injustice if I left them out?
 
I sing the song for working women today!
 
 
I celebrate the stay-at-home mums
 
Who may lack might or intellect
 
But chose to dim their light for others to shine bright
 
Her toil day and night mostly without pay
 
Busy with drudgery on a daily basis
 
The wellbeing of their family is enough wage, they believe
 
They often have to bear the sneer and grunts from their circle
 
To their partners and friends, it seems, they just love whining
 
‘After all they rested all day’, these ones often reason
 
If you know the burden these women bear
 
Then join your voice in this song of mine!
 
 
Kembet Bolton
 
March, 2020

In line with the Amazons Watch (AW) Magazine 2020 vision of showcasing diverse perspectives, insights, strategies & case studies that will challenge women at all levels across emerging economies, to tread uncharted waters and scale new heights, we are excited to bring you our brand new segment- ‘The Spotlight’.

The Spotlight was designed to follow and track the activities of the Magazine’s/CELD’s Honorees and GWL Hall of Fame Inductees to showcase and spotlight their new achievements and heights attained. The aim is to inspire more women as change leaders as well as congratulate these amazing women for their continuous and undying contributions to society. 

On this first episode, Reinette van der Merwe, aka ‘The Only Woman in the Boardroom’ is on ‘The Spotlight’.  

Let’s take you through the journey of what Reinette has been up to.

Reinette van der Merwe received CELD’s Global Inspirational Leadership Award and was also inducted into the CELD Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame, at the 2019 edition of the South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia Women Summit (SAMEAWS 2019) which held in Dubai-UAE last November 2019. The award was conferred on Reinette owing to her contributions to the growth of the financial services sector in the Southern African Development Community(SADC), as well her role in strengthening financial inclusion across the African region.

She currently serves as the Managing Executive, Relationship Banking Products’ at ABSA Group, and is the immediate past Managing Director of Barclays Bank Botswana. 

For more than two decades, Reinette has made immense contributions to the banking industry in Africa and risen over the years to be one of the region’s finest and formidable professionals. 

She is quite popularly referred to as the ‘’only woman in the boardroom’’, a phrase she used to describe the gender disparity that exist in top management of organizations she has worked for.

The Amazons Watch Magazine had followed Reinette since she received our well-deserved award in November 2019, and found out that the hard working, resilient Reinette was not restricted to the boardroom as she is also a humanitarian who has taken it upon herself to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

Reinette van der Merwe and Linda Tolkens recently initiated a soup kitchen where they provide approximately 150 underprivileged people with soup and bread in Kingfisher Avenue on Tuesday mornings. This laudable initiative by one of our own inspirational women, expanded rapidly and now has a handful of volunteers assisting with the distribution and cooking of the soup.

It is noteworthy that the free and nutritious meals are funded from their own pockets, though they receive support from New beginnings.

Reinette explained further that the initiative was meant to give hope to the people who tend to lose hope so quickly. According to her “Serving the hungry is a call from the Lord and we wanted to reach out to the people who need help. It’s not just about the food; we want to spread hope and His word.

Alongside the distribution of food is often distribution of copies of the bible.

From the onset, as far back as her childhood days, Reinette had set her mind on being a leader and was determined to be one as she once said- ‘’I never thought I’d end up where I am now, but from the time I was a child, I wanted to become a chartered accountant and then one day become the chief financial officer of a company.’’ Today, Reinette has achieved more than her dream.

We love the new initiative by our Amazon; it highlights why she wears our crown in new ways, and hence on ‘The Spotlight’

Way to go madam Reinette.

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