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Friday, March 15, 2013

Yoga at U.N.I.T.E


Please follow this link to read my guest post on yoga and how it relates to the criminal justice system. Thanks.

A Justified Outdoors

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND AFRICA: A LECTURE IN CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH By AMBASSADOR WALTER CARRINGTON

Below is the lecture delivered by Amb. Walter Carrington at the main auditirium of the University of Lagos on the 14th of February, 2013.
Enjoy!








AFRICAN AMERICANS AND AFRICA:
A LECTURE IN CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By
AMBASSADOR WALTER CARRINGTON
Delivered at
THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS
14 February 2013







It is an honor to be invited to speak at the University of Lagos and to be accompanied by a distinguished graduate of one of your rivals, the University of Ibadan, - my beloved wife, who stood so valiantly beside me during a time of military tyranny, – Dr. Arese Carrington.  Her role during my ambassadorial years has often been underappreciated and any credit I have been given belongs in equal measure to this treasure I stole away to distant and colder shores.

This is the month dedicated in the United States to the celebration of Black History.  It is a tradition which traces back to the pioneering efforts of the second black man to receive a PhD from Harvard (the first was the iconic W.E.B DuBois.)  Dr. Carter G. Woodson was a distinguished historian who made his life’s work the propagation of the contributions of African Americans to the history of the United States.  He established Negro History Week in 1926, a seven day period in February which spanned  the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and the greatest black leader of the Nineteenth Century – the abolitionist, Frederick Douglass (February 17th). That week has since morphed into a month and its title from Negro to Black.  I think it serendipitous that UNILAG has invited me here during the week originally set aside for the commemoration of the history of Africans in America.  It is a period of tribute usually chronicling the accomplishments of some of the race’s most significant figures.  Those African American achievements focus almost entirely on our relationship with America.   Little or no attention is paid to our connection with Africa other than our forcible removal from its shores four centuries ago.  I think it is altogether appropriate here in the halls of one this continent’s foremost universities to speak about the history of the ever evolving struggle of African Americans to reconcile their American presence with their African roots.  Or, as DuBois famously stated it in The Souls of Black Folks, in a slightly different context:  "One ever feels his two-ness - an American and a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body..."

It also fitting that this occasion takes place so soon after the second inaugural of Barack Obama, America’s first black president.  This son of an African student has become an inspiration and a unifying figure for black people the world over.

"What is Africa to me?” the poet Countee Cullen wondered nearly a century ago
                                          Copper sun or scarlet sea,
                                          Jungle star or jungle track,
                                    Strong bronze men or regal black
                                   Women from whose loins I sprang
                                       When the birds of Eden sang?
                                        One three centuries removed
                                   From the scenes his fathers loved?
                                        Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
                                             What is Africa to me?

To the poet, Cullen, a leading light of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Africa was a romantic Eden lost. His was perhaps the most idyllic of many images of Africa that black Americans have offered -- or had forced upon them -- since the first enslaved Africans set shackled foot on American soil in 1619.

It is important here to understand the uniqueness both of the United States and of its indigenous black population.  America is distinctive among the countries of the world.  It is a country of immigrants.  No race of people, with the exception of its diminishing Native American inhabitants, can claim the nation as their ancient homeland.  All came from elsewhere.  Anyone born in our land is automatically a citizen, with the single exception of the children of accredited diplomats.  Any one naturalized a citizen immediately is vested with all the rights and privileges, but one, of a native born American.  They can hold and have held every political office in the land. Only the Presidency is denied to them and there are many who think that constitutional barrier, enacted to preclude an Englishman loyal to King George, should be removed.

It is the manner of their arrival that sets blacks apart from all other groups that emigrated to America.  Soon after their arrival in the New World, Africans were stripped of all remembrances of the land of their birth.  They were detribalized, forbidden to speak their native languages or to practice their traditional religions.
                       
To succeeding generations of African-Americans, Africa became a distant memory.  It was a place to which they could never return and in time would have little desire to permanently live, even if they could discover the nation, tribe or village from which their ancestors had been uprooted.  And if they could trace those roots would they, as the renowned  writer Richard Wright did, look their lost kinsmen in the eye and wonder if it had been the African's great great grandfather who had sold the African-American's great great grandfather into slavery.  Or, more importantly, would there remain, among the memories passed down from generation to generation, anything of the events which had separated their ancestors from the continent of their birth. 


The great Nigerian poet and writer, J.P. Clark was kind enough to give me, during my ambassadorial tenure, a copy of his seminal lecture, A Peculiar Faculty, delivered in 1996 before the Nigerian Academy of Letters. The title referred not to what many university students sometimes think about those who instruct them but rather to the propensity of Africans to develop what he called a case of “collective amnesia” concerning “the most devastating historic event to have happened to African people in this millennium.”  He relates that he
“… brought the subject to the attention of colleagues, friends and relatives, whether in their communal lore or personal experience, they know of any memory of the slave trade that devastated our land for centuries.  Almost in unison, there seems to be no remembrance of this tragedy that has possibly made us the people we are today…”
“ironically, while we have no direct access to evidence of the fact from the communities that stayed at home, it is from those of the victims, carried into slavery across the sea that we have knowledge of the event side by side with the copious log books kept by those who bought them.”
It is disheartening to note that, on the one hand, the descendants of the Africans shipped to America have little knowledge of where on the continent their ancestral roots are.  While, on the other, the descendants of the left behind in Africa seem to have had no lore handed down to them through oral or written history with any mention of the searing depopulations of their ancient villages and towns. It is estimated that 18 to 20 million were enslaved and taken away – three to four times as many Jews as were killed in the Holocaust.  Yet it is as if, in the African collective consciousness, there never was a slave trade emanating from Africa

But many African Americans now four centuries removed can trace their family trees in the United States by their own oral traditions and written records many generations back with some certainty.  But how and from whence they came to those shores remains shrouded in mystery.  And so America’s black history, in spite of Alex Haley’s inventive tale, Roots, can only authentically be traced back to the 250 years of enslavement.  Beyond that lies only conjecture.

The crusade to abolish slavery was centered in my home state of Massachusetts.  The Abolitionist Movement became the most successful radical movement ever to arise in America. One of its leaders, Wendell Phillips, vowed to make the streets of the capital city, Boston, “too pure ever to bear the footsteps of a slave.”   But the campaign was long and many free blacks despaired that that they would ever be able to live in dignity and equality in a country in which the slave holding states of the southern part of the nation were expanding their political power and influence.

Those free blacks most pessimistic about their future in America sought a solution in emigration back to Africa.  On the other hand, those who felt that blacks had as much a claim upon America as did whites, saw emigration as a shunning of their major responsibility -- the freeing of their brothers in bondage. Thus was joined the intellectual argument that has raged ever since:  was identification with Africa a diversion from the central issue of the black man's role in America, or, a complement to it?

The leadership of the emigration movement was taken up by of one of the first black graduates of the Harvard Medical School.  The Black Nationalist strain in American intellectual thought can be traced back to Dr. Martin R. Delany.  In an age when black was considered anything but beautiful, Delany preached race pride.  Frederick Douglass, the greatest African-American leader of the Nineteenth Century, summed him up best: "I have always thanked God for making me a man, but Martin Delany always thanked God for making him a black man."

Central to Delany's thought was the belief that blacks formed a nation within a nation, "a broken nation", as did the Poles in Russia, the Hungarians in Austria, and the Welsh, Irish and Scots in Britain.  "The claims of no people," he argued, "are respected by any nation, until they are presented in a national capacity..."

He wished to see a great state built in Africa, "a nation, to whom all the world must pay commercial tribute."   Towards that end he led an exploring party in 1859 to what is now Nigeria, sailing aboard a ship owned, by three African merchants.  His one-year stay resulted in the signing of treaties with western Nigerian Chiefs giving American blacks the right to settle in their areas. The treaty, signed not far from here, with Egba leaders stated:
“That the King and Chiefs on their part agree to grant and assign unto the said Commissioners [Martin Robinson Delany and Robert Campbell, of the Niger Valley Exploring Party], on behalf of the African race in America, the right and privilege of settling in common with the Egba people, on any part of the territory belonging to Abeokuta not otherwise occupied." 
In consideration for this grant the black Americans promised to "provide the Egba people with education and knowledge of the arts and sciences, agriculture, and other mechanical and instructional occupations."  [Skinner]  
The agreements were never followed up because the American Civil War broke out just as Delany returned to the United States. He put aside his emigration schemes and joined the Union Army in order to contribute as best he could to the defeat of the secessionist slave holding states.  After the war ended, Delany took advantage of the new amendments to the United States constitution which ended slavery, made the former slaves citizens and gave the newly freed men the right to vote. In 1874 he ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for governor of South Carolina.
The abolition of slavery and the Fourteenth Amendment's grant of citizenship gave hope that there might be a future for blacks in America after all and put to rest for half a century any major efforts to return to Africa. The words of Frederick Douglass spoken before Emancipation became the credo of the newly freed slaves: "Our minds are made up to live here if we can, or die here if we must...here we are and here we shall remain."

While colonization and emigration strategies were generated by concern over the Negro's future in America, a different nineteenth century movement concentrated on improving the spiritual and temporal condition of Africans.  A deeply religious black American population came to believe that they were part of a "providential design", brought to America by God, so Bishop Henry McNeal Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church preached, to acquire education and civilization which they would then take back to Africa.

Unwelcome in white churches blacks formed their own denominations and christened them African.  At first, these new black churches saw their relationship with Africa only in terms of helping to Christianize their brethren in Africa; by the late 19th century, however, black churches began to champion the grievances Africans held against their colonial exploitation.  American blacks took the lead in protesting Belgian atrocities in the Congo and British and French designs on Liberia.  Along with blacks in other parts of the Diaspora, they formed the Pan-African Movement and saved the German colonies from being swallowed up by the victorious Allied Powers at the end of the First World War.  Thousands of Africans came to black colleges in the United States to receive an education often denied to them at home. The list of future leaders trained at Historically Black Colleges and Universities is impressive.  Lincoln University in Pennsylvania graduated two of the most important African nationalists of their time - Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and, of course, Nnamdi Azikiwe.  Meharry Medical School trained Hastings Banda of Malawi.

In more contemporary times blacks moved the American government away from complicity with the Apartheid regime in South Africa and towards greater relief to the drought stricken Sahel and Horn regions.  The impetus towards an African identification which had been elite driven in the Nineteenth Century had become, by the end of the Twentieth, more and more sparked by the rank and file.  Even as they were struggling to hold onto the gains they themselves had made during the Civil rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s black Americans were determined to help their motherland in spite of warnings from both home and abroad that they had too many problems in their own backyard to go meddling in others.  They championed the cause of democracy in Southern Africa even though neither they nor most of their East and Western African allies in the liberation struggle had ever visited there.

When President Clinton, on whose transition team I had served as a senior advisor on Africa, announced that he was going to appoint me as ambassador to Nigeria, I was thrilled.  Moshood Abiola had just been elected President.  I would be presenting my credentials to someone who was a leading Pan-Africanist whom I had met several times.  The stealing of his mandate and his later imprisonment had brought about a great uproar from the black members of Congress and groups like TransAfrica which had led the fight against U.S policy towards the apartheid government of South Africa

The Abacha military regime spent considerable sums of money to get prominent blacks to serve as praise singers for the government.  They were largely unsuccessful but they did persuade a few including a pair of strange bedfellows the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan and the head of the very conservative National Baptist Association, Henry Lyons. 

I met with several groups who traveled here under Abacha’s patronage and reminded them that they were betraying the Pan African tradition which had led black Americans to oppose regimes which denied their citizens their democratic rights and that they were swimming against the tide of black American opinion in back home.  That majority opinion was reflected by those who led in the anti-apartheid struggle and who were then turning their attention to countries under military and autocratic rule.  The Congressional Black Caucus, made up of the elected African-American members of the United States Congress and pressure groups like TransAfrica strongly influenced the direction of American foreign policy towards Africa especially in a Democratic administration. It was their efforts that turned the tide of American opinion and policy in regards to South Africa and Haiti.  It is they who kept the pressure on the Abacha regime. 

Those other groups, co-opted by Abacha to come and bear false witness to progress here, had little influence within the black American community.  I saw in the four years I was here no success they had in laundering the dictatorship’s woeful image.
         
My ancestors may indeed have become in Nigeria and elsewhere on this continent what J.P. Clark regretted – “the forgotten kin.”  But their descendants continue to remember and search for those ancient roots which the slave traders and plantation masters were so determined to deracinate.  They still, in yearning, sing the ancient spiritual – “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long ways from home.” 

Before he became President, before he was imprisoned by Abacha, Olusegun Obasanjo bestowed upon me the nickname I still proudly bear- Omowale – the child who has returned.  When Africa recovers from its “collective amnesia” and recalls the details of the catastrophe from whence I and the other children of the Diaspora have returned in spirit if not always in body – then we shall be orphans no more.

Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative 2012 Closing Ceremony; Remarks By Amb. Walter Carrington


It was an honor, meeting the former Ambassador to Nigeria - Ambassador Walter Carrington whom the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative was aptly named after and the Consul General to the United States Embassy in Lagos, - Mr Jeffery  J Hawkins at the closing ceremony of the CYFI 2012 fellowship year.


2013 Fellows with Ambassador Walter Carrington and his wife, Dr Arese Carrington, Consul General to the US embassy, Lagos and Members of the CYFI board. Photo credit: cyfinigeria.org



2012 Fellows with Ambassador Walter Carrington and his wife Dr Arese Carrington. Photo credit: cyfinigeria.org


Below is the remark delivered by Ambassador Walter Carrington at the ceremony which took place on the 13th of February 2013 at the residence of the consular general in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Happy reading!












REMARKS

Delivered at the

CARRINGTON YOUTH FELLOWSHIP INITIATIVE

CLOSING CEREMONY

By

AMBASSADOR WALTER CARRINGTON

The Consul General’s Residence

Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi

13 February 2013















How great it is to be back in Nigeria and at this Residence which was my home for nearly four years.  How many treasured memories my wife, Arese, and I have of this place.  Here we would annually host a celebration of our National Day of Independence, the Fourth of July. Here we would meet and dine with so many of the heroes of your own struggle for independence from military rule.  Indeed, the first time I set foot on these grounds was in 1959, the year before Nigeria’s Independence. I was leading a group of American students on a program called the Experiment in International Living.  We spent a summer living with Nigerian families in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano and Kaduna. One of my favorite keepsakes from that time is a photo of the group of us standing at the foot of the very staircase where these young CYFI Fellows are posed in the photo which graces the program’s website.

I am deeply honored and humbled that the U.S. Consulate General here in Lagos has attached my name to this most worthy initiative. It is good that you have brought together a cohort large enough to form the critical mass of a support group that can encourage each other in the years ahead.  It is altogether fitting that you have chosen the theme for this cluster of outstanding young people as Youth Engagement.  I have been impressed and encouraged reading about the projects they have developed and implemented in the fields of civil liberties, education, public health, university outreach and vocational training.

I am happy to have the opportunity to be here to meet these awardees who remind me so much of my own younger days.  Then, Africa was facing a dawn of new nationhood in which governments “of the people,” to use the first part of Abraham Lincoln’s famous trilogy would be established.  It has taken fifty years for democracy, “government by the people” to establish a firm foothold in more than half of the nations on this continent.  Still unfulfilled in too many places is the dream of “government for the people.”  That dream’s realization will depend upon you and your generation just as the achievement of independence depended on the generation of your grandparents. So I charge you each:  Tunde, Theophilus, Sholape, Temitope, Ebeneezer, Obinna, Raquel, Joseph, Seyi, Emmanuel, Chuks, Sunday, Queen-Esther, Rhoda, and Oluwatosin  do not let fifty or even ten more years pass in which the impoverished poor make up the majority of your countrymen.  The eradication of extreme poverty is the great moral challenge of our time.  This challenge will not be met so long as male elites continue to use government to meet their own needs and not those of their poor brothers and sisters.  Nor as long as women are denied their rightful share of power and opportunities.  Nor as long as corruption  permeates so much of society.

Back home in my country there is much anxiety and unrest because our unemployment figures are between 7 and 8 percent.  Yet here in Nigeria the figure hovers close to 25%.   Among your fellow youth who make up over 40% of the population there are nearly 70 million unemployed.  And this in a country richer in natural resources than any other on the continent.

          To fulfill the hopes and live up to the expectations embodied in you by the awarding of these fellowships will not be easy.  The road ahead of you will be filled with temptations.  There will be rationalizations presented to you of how high ideals are for the na├»ve young.  And that as you grow older you must be more practical.  That you must go along with the system in order to get along with it or to get the riches out of it that others have ill begotten.  I beg of you do not yield to that temptation.  I have seen too many who have done so in the eight decades I have been on this earth. I have spoken to African students studying in the United States fired up to go home to make a difference.  And when I have gotten to see them years later they have been co-opted into the very systems they had vowed to change. They went along to get along.  Remain faithful to the ideals your parents and others have instilled in you.  It won’t be easy but it will be fulfilling.   You may not end your days wealthy in gold but rather affluent in spirit with that satisfaction that when you had an opportunity to make a difference you took it.  

I suppose I could have given you a more optimistic picture of the challenges which lie before you.  I could have spoken as if the glass were half full rather than half empty.  But I did not want to lull you into a mood of complacency. I have always believed that those who would change the world around them must see the glass as half empty and be driven by the determination to fill it.  And so I challenge you to take that half empty vessel and work with those who will not be satisfied until, as the Psalm says, the cup runneth over. Then surely goodness and mercy shall follow you and our beloved Nigeria all the days of your lives.






US Consul General, Lagos and Vweta



Some of the creations of the YEC Academy on display


Please find more details about this fellowship here: Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Women; the Future! - A Community Based Public Lecture Delivered By Vweta Ariemugbovbe on Friday, March 1st 2013 in Ajegunle.



               

When I first visited this community in September 2012, I had intended to establish an ‘Alternatives to Violence Outreach’. However, the reality highlighted a more pressing issue- that of teen pregnancy and illiteracy amongst these very young women.

In the time that has passed I have been anxious to make a positive contribution and impact to this community, however small or big.

I found it inspiring and delightful to see many familiar faces and indeed new ones make out time to attend this lecture today.

As women, I would like us and very much encourage us to start realising that we are important to ourselves, family, friends, community, state, country and in fact the world. But it starts with our self – realisation.

It would be helpful for us to reflect on the following questions as a starting point:
  •   Do I/ we know the measure of strength that I/ we possess?


·        Do I/ we know just how powerful and resilient I/ we am/are?

·         Do I/ we know that I/ we have equal stake in the preservation of the human race as men?

·         Have I/ we considered that educating girl child is as important as educating boy child?

·         They say it’s a man’s world but do I/ we know that I/ we can make a positive impact only if I/ we change our attitude towards education as a necessity rather than as only a pastime?

·         We begin to realise our importance when we remember that every human in existence today whether great or small were all born of a woman.

·         God in his infinite wisdom saw that women are the stronger and more caring ones to be entrusted with the very important and delicate task of pregnancy and childbirth and nurturing. It is an unrivalled privilege  - so why abuse it or indeed waste it?

·         A women leader – the founder of Black Girls Rock - Beverly Bond said that we as women must realise that our ‘power is not below our waist but above our shoulders’. Think about that for a minute.

·         She started as a model and then a DJ and now she runs Black Girls Rock Inc - a non-profit, youth empowerment and mentoring organization that introduces music, poetry and theatre to women of colour.

·         When we as women, whom God and nature has chosen to be equal stakeholders in the preservation of the human race begin to have children before we even understand the changes going on in our bodies; before we find our self-identity, what can we possibly teach our young ones? What will be their life chances in a highly competitive world? Zero. We are not giving them any chance; rather we make them victims of our own avoidable mistakes – perpetually continuing a vicious cycle of poverty, powerlessness and illiteracy.

Until we collectively rise up against all odds and decide to educate ourselves as women, girls and daughters, we will be consigned to second class citizens – at the mercy of people who are ever so eager to exploit us in no small way and in so doing robbing us of the courage and ability to become empowered, emancipated and educated. As long as we remain enslaved in this way, we will never be able to contribute to our community and our world at large and we will never have lived. Considers these timeless words of Abraham Lincoln – America’s 16th President, who brought about the emancipation of the slaves – he said ‘in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years’.


I want us all here to take a pledge as you repeat after me:

  • I will begin to take responsibility for what I choose to do with my body;
  • I will begin from this day forth to take responsibility for how I use my body;
  • I will be responsible for when I decide to bring forth children and I will only give birth to children when I am financially, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually fit to raise them.
  • I will from this day forward take my education very seriously for I have recognised the importance of going to school if I must make an impact.

Abraham Lincoln also said that ‘if I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I will spend 6 hours sharpening my ax’. Therefore spend this time of your life educating and empowering yourself (sharpening your axe) so that when you begin life it would be easy.

I recognise that doing alone is daunting – so I am willing to support those who take todays pledge seriously. I leave you with the words of Abraham Lincoln who said that ““I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down.” Please do not let me down.


My name is Vweta Ariemugbovbe, i am a social worker.

Thank you and God Bless us all.

Empowering Women of The Future; Meet The Speakers!











The month of March is a highly significant month for women the world over. It was no coincidence that we chose the 1st of March as the day to hold the first ever community based public lecture in Ajegunle, one of the impoverished communities I work with across Lagos.


The public lecture tagged: Women: The Future had young passionate speakers who talked with the group on issues relating to sex and teenage pregnancy, setting long and short term goals, knowing our true values as women, knowing our priorities and having positive role models to emulate.


Vera Edore with some of the young women

Vera Edore (Barr), the co- initiator of The Wilona Foundation (TWF) had a question and answer session with the girls, some of the issues raised were: future plans, career goals and mentoring.



Mr Olusola Samuel, a health expert from Hacy Health Initiative and a campaigner for Hands Up for Her - a project that seeks to bring an end to violence against the girl child, talked about teen pregnancy, its effect on the teenage mother and child.
High point of his lecture were topics like: depression, pelvic inflammatory diseases, STIs and HIV/AIDS, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections and how common they are with teenage mothers.



Blessing Ashi delivering her lecture



Ms Blessing Ashi, a life coach and a peer educator with PRAWA who is very passionate about women empowerment talked on the importance of having positive role models as teenage women.
Some of the Sheros she introduced to us were: Blessing Liman, Tayosi Akerele, Okonjo Iweala, Rukuyatu Amhed Rufai, Ibukun Awosika, Evelyn Oputu, Saheela Ibrahim and other notable Nigerian women who excelled in their various careers.
She went on to introduce the acronym- MAD; "Make A Difference" to us.




Becky Oladimeji Thrilling us all


Ms Becky Oladimeji, a woman created to make a positive impact by raising a 'pure and undefiled' generation of teens, a peer educator with PRAWA, motivator & facilitator spoke about knowing our priorities and freeing ourselves from all forms of distractions including, unplanned and teenage pregnancy, being involved in romantic relationships before we are ready to bear the responsibilities that may come with it.




Chinomso Josiah had our attention


Mr Chinomso Josiah, a volunteer peer educator with PRAWA talked about finding and understanding our purpose on earth and doing our utmost not to derail from our path to success.




Raquel Jacobs telling her story

Lastly, Ms Raquel Jacobs, the  Initiator of  "Beyond the Classroom Foundation" and an alumna of the prestigious Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI) thrilled all in attendance with the Kenyan dance.
She went on to talk about her experience as an orphan, her struggle through adolescence and how she achieved her dreams by being focused on her goals, by having positive role models and by remaining determined to succeed no matter what.
Her final words were: remain focused, keep your eyes on the prize and take your education very seriously!


we ended with the 'Kenyan dance'


When youths talk to youths on issues that concerns youths, youths listen!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Women; The Future! In Pictures






putting up posters for the event





Some of the posters we put up and their message











Taking a tour of the community before the programme commenced




Vweta Ariemugbovbe and Chinomso Josiah




Church street, Ajegunle


                                Going round the community to remind people about the programme


























At the primary health care center, Ajegunle.







With Mrs Adams, a senior matron at the PHC, Ajegunle.



A cross section of the community








You are beautiful, just the way you are!
















Yes! Together we can!




Giving my new friends the 'Stay in school' talk.



i may not recognize their faces in 10 years, i hope they remember mine




From Left: Vweta, The Baale and The Secetary Of Ajegunle Community



























Blessing Ashi from PRAWA talking about positive role models



Suzanne and Raquel






































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Raquel Jacobs and her new friends










pictures courtesy Ufuoma Smyl Ebah of Afrodisiacbay.