THESE REAL WOMEN WITH REAL STORIES ARE PRESSING FOR PROGRESS
As we end off women’s month, we wanted to take some time off to not only celebrate the top power-houses who we all recognise as having made great strides in their business, careers and organisations; we sought out to celebrate the average woman who like them, are making strides in their own way.
A woman isn’t only progressive where she is bagging awards and recognised by press as a leading woman; women all over the globe in their different sectors: small, majestic and in-between are working very hard to ensure that their families and societies at large benefit from their hard work. It was important to pass on this message through using our photo series to share short stories of women in the market and even in homes who nobody really sees.
Today, at Flourish Africa we wanted to pass on the message that we do see them. We recognise their effort and note that they are the very substance great women are moulded from.
Every woman deserves to be celebrated. Have a read below.
Photo credit: Adeoluwa Adeyanju of @MR_YANJU Photography.
My name is Ganiyat Sulaiman. I am 20 years old and the third of six children. I’ve been working since I knew what money was so I don’t remember ever not working as I have always known money. I started selling food to assist my mother who does the cooking while I dish to passers by. I finished my secondary school last year and I’m trying to save to start my own cooking business. We sell Amala, Ewedu, Egusi, Pounded yam, Rice and Stew. I don’t consider what we went through as suffering, it is just a way of life. I know that if I want to move forward, I need money. If I had to say how much I would need to start my own business, I would say 100,000 Naira is what I would need to start my own cooking business so I’m working on that now.
I moved to Lagos from Akwa Ibom as there was no money there. Business was very slow there and I got tired of it. My sister had an indomie noodles business which she stopped after she got married because they moved to a different location and she wanted to help her husband grow his business. When she told me she was stopping, I was happy because I could take over from her so I moved to Lagos. I so badly wanted to work so I could make some money. My sister has now moved to Oshodi. Me, I’m not ready to marry yet. I want to work hard. I’m happy with my business. I have up to 100 customers everyday and each plate of indomie goes for N360 so my profit is not too bad. If I were to move forward, I would have several shops around Lagos where I’m selling indomie.
My name is Shukurat Thomas. I’m the 6th of 8 children. My mother had two husbands; both of them died. Things were a bit tough but she tried for us. She paid our fees all the way up to secondary school and when I finished, I met one boy, he said he liked me and wants to be with me. I agreed and we did our introduction. I don’t refer to him as my fiance, he is my husband. I fell pregnant and every day he takes care of me and our child. My mother said it was time to move into my husband’s house. He took me and I’ve been staying with him since. He tries to work hard for me and I want to help him out by not being idle so I sell provisions and anything else I can lay my hands on with the little money I’ve saved up. I sell everything from our house because I don’t have enough to get a shop space yet. The money that comes in from my sales isn’t plenty but it’s enough to carry some necessities without having to ask him for money all the time. My mother worked and her mother before her. I believe that if I keep working with the little I have, one day, I will get there.
My name is Yetunde Shodeyi. I was unemployed for 9 months with a bachelors degree from the University in Linguistics and Languages. My dream job is in customer care. I love solving problems and pleasing people. I found out that there was a vacancy here about a month ago and i have been working now for 2 weeks. The best part of working here is meeting new people every day and taking on a challenge that was completely foreign to me. I spend about 5 hours in traffic coming here every day from Ikorodu but there are no jobs around me where I stay so i have to do what I have to do. My favourite flower here is called the painted flower because of the colour. Burgundy is one of my favourite colours. I recently began learning fashion design and my favourite thing to make is a dress. There’s something about a dress that brings out a woman’s curves and makes her look so feminine. The vision is grow that hustle that everyone from far and near would love to patronise me.
My name is Joy Attah and I am 20 years old. I am currently a live-in house girl. I grew up in Makurdi, the capital city of Benue state. I came to live with my aunt after my dad who was a military polygamous man passed away. While living with my aunt, I decided that i wanted to go to school. To do that, I knew that I would need to raise money so I requested to help my aunt with her sewing. While doing this, I was able to learn and became rather popular with her customers. While sewing, I would make some money for myself and this way, I was able to pay my way through secondary school. At 19, I experienced my first heart break. I dated a guy who was doing his masters program, he said he loved me and i believed him until a girl came to my aunt’s house to attack me for dating her boyfriend. He later confessed that he was dating the two of us. At the end, it taught me that I needed to focus on what I want in life. Boys are a distraction and no man will respect you if you have nothing to offer. So i just want to focus and save this year so I can move to Makurdi in January next year and start my own fashion business. Men still chase after me but I know better than to listen to their empty promises now.