My name is Praise Adeyemo. I am a Veterinary Medicine student, Peacebuilder and emerging Global Health Professional. I am a Young Leader in the Nigerian Girl Guides Association. As a United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) Young Peacebuilder, I seek peaceful coexistence in any and every form.
Life is not equal for rural girls
Without mincing words, most girls and young women in rural areas do not lead the same lives as those in cities. They face sub-standard education, a lack of quality health care, gender-based violence, insecurities and a fear of speaking out.
These are just some of the major issues affecting rural girls in Nigeria. Most of them cannot be landowners. Instead they are used as cheap labour on farms and around homes.
Education is a mirage for most of these girls. Boys and young men have the sole right to schooling. Her duty is in the kitchen and household.
Body confidence matters
I facilitated a Free Being Me training at a Primary School. This was my first Free Being Me training for girls and 70 students attended. Since then, these trainings have become an integral part of our camps at both local and national levels.
Being a Girl Guide comes with the responsibility of being an advocate.
For girls in rural areas, one major confidence issue is feeling inferior and unable to compete fairly with their urban based counterparts.
Many girls do not appreciate their looks. Even their inability to speak the official language makes them feel inferior to urban girls.
Even I was a victim of this way of thinking. It took me time to feel confident around girls from cities who seemed so much more civilised and posh.
I'm beautiful, just the way I am
I have been a victim of low self-esteem due to my skin colour.
Being dark skinned, I could not appreciate the beauty in melanin. I wanted to be fairer. I wanted to be able to speak fine and elegant English, like girls from other schools. I wanted to be able to make all the boys turn their heads.
But I have learnt I’m beautiful, just the way I am. I learnt how to find ways of expressing my individuality, my personality and my physical traits.
Girls, there is no such thing as a perfect figure or a perfect look. The media has lied to us over and over again.
Rock your natural hair. Glow in your melanin. Show off your skin colour. Wear your hair with pride, whether it's wavy or straight, long or short.
"Rock your natural hair. Glow in your melanin."
Creating a better world for every girl
I want to see an inclusive society; free of stereotypes, racism, colourism, education, class and status. I want to see a sustainable world which values everyone’s unique abilities.
Being a remote delegate at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) will be a great opportunity to learn about the thoughts and experiences of different people on the theme of rural women and girls.
I hope to develop skills and learn about the various challenges faced by other rural communities, many of which will be different to my own.
I also hope this opportunity helps me to become a better advocate. One who fully relates to other's challenges and offers solutions.