Sierra Leone women striving for empowerment in Holland
They came as refugees. The effect of the ten year rebel carnage was the principal catalyst that propelled the massive migration of many Sierra Leoneans in search of greener pastures. Many of them landed in The Netherlands (Holland) to better themselves. The battle has not been easy as revealed by some of these women past Saturday, September 8th during the Sierra Leone Women’s Convention held in the city of Enschede in Holland. (Photo: Cross section of Sierra Leone Women present at the Convention in Enschede, Holland)
The Convention was conveyed by the Sierra Leonean women in Holland as a way of encouraging some of their folks to empower themselves academically and professionally rather than allow themselves to be carried away by the facilities made available to them presently which they were not fortunate to have back home.
Addressing the gathering as Guest Speaker, Head of Chancery and Minister Counsellor at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Brussels, Haja Fatmata Binta Wurie admonished the Sierra Leone women to erase from their minds the colonial mentality and traditional beliefs that the role of women should be confided in the kitchen, but women now are expected to work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts towards the advancement of family, self, the community and the nation. “The Almighty has from the beginning blessed us to thrive and be the backbone to society. The woman is the end result, the refinement of God’s creation of mankind. In effect, man is the draft and the woman the masterpiece”.
Haja Wurie intimated to her audience that women are now making inroads, not only in Sierra Leone but in Africa as a whole, venturing into professions that were once thought to be exclusively for men, citing practical examples like Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first ever female President in Africa, followed by Madam Joyce Banda of Malawi, Madam Zainab Hawa Bangura, the first Sierra Leonean woman to be appointed United Nations Under Secretary for Sexual Violence, Madam Humu Hawa Tejan Jalloh, the first Sierra Leonean woman to be appointed Chief Justice, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the first ever female Publisher of a newspaper in Sierra Leone and the three women Ambassadors appointed by President Ernest Bai Koroma currently serving in our missions abroad, etc. “The message these brave women have sent to all of you is that with determination, a woman can do even better what men have done”, she stated amidst thunderous applause.
She commended the phenomenal roles the Sierra Leone women in the Diaspora are playing for the well-being of their respective families back home, providing them with decent accommodation, sending money for food and sending parents to Hajj missions. She admonished them to utilise the energies they are expending in their host countries to empower themselves academically and professionally to go and make their contributions back home. “What is required now is your individual readiness to make use of the opportunities out there, to ensure that while you are here, you do not forget where you came from. The only sure way to achieving success and attaining your goals is through your own efforts and determination by going to school, learn the language, secure a career and grab the opportunities provided by the host country. The opportunities are obviously out there, it is left with you to go out and grab them, to be determined not to settle for less, to be self-reliant as this is the only way to progress”, she concluded.
Also in attendance was the Mayor of Enschede city, Patrick G. Welman who called on the women to strive hard in mastering the language as this is the only way they can be able to secure the limited job opportunities in Holland.
The Mayor of the Municipality disclosed that 20% of Inhabitants of his city are people from different countries with different cultural backgrounds, but are readily welcome in his city and must endeavour to make use of the opportunities provided them.
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