My name is Deborah O Apochi fondly called Debequality. I am the Founder of Ladies Gathering Nigeria, a Facebook page that
was created to enlighten women on their rights and the injustice done to
womanhood, to brainstorm on issues affecting Nigerian Women and to proffer
solutions to those problems. We have women from all works of life, from
professionals to ordinary women on the streets. The idea is to create that one
voice, I want women to see that we all have one problem which is inequality,
and collectively, we can change this for the betterment of mankind and to the
greater benefit of Nigeria. I am also a mentee at the Nigeria Women Trust and a
student in Centre for Leadership and Strategic Development. I am currently
undergoing serious leadership trainings both as a mentee and as a student for
the task ahead. I provide food items for fifty two widows every charismas and I
have enrolled few girls into primary schools.

 Growing up as child, I came from a
locality where women endured all sort of things because of the need to stay
married and not to be seen as failures in the society. I have seen man
inhumanity to man, I have seen wickedness at its rough form, I have seen what
women have to endure because they cannot provide for themselves, I have seen
poverty in its truest nature. In my life, I have had instances where a woman and her children had to stay hungry
for weeks because she refused to serve her husband’s mistress food. I have seen
instances where a girl was raped and was severely punished by her own mother for
going to the venue. Right from childhood, I have always dreamt of making the
world a fairer place for women and children but I was also a product of a
society where women education is seen as total waste of money and time. As a
child, I developed the habit of working and saving to see myself through school
because I knew that was the only way I could actualize my dreams, I was a
child but I was too sure of what I wanted in life, a times my dreams and
aspirations scare me a lot but I never stopped pushing, I was just too focused
and determined to stop all the happenings around me. I graduated with a degree
in Mass Communication and went on to do a diploma in education because of the
need to educate and change the mentality of the women in Nigeria and Africa at large. I
went further to get my masters in Development Studies to prepare myself for the
task ahead and I enrolled into a leadership school because of the passion to
bridge the gender gap in Nigeria. I have been a strong advocate for Women and
children, I use every medium at my disposal, I personally helped women build
their self-esteem, mentoring of younger girls and I also help them realize
their potentials and to take charge of their lives, I encourage them to break
out of timidity and take that bold steps.I encourage them to take up leadership roles to
better the lives of women and children. I am happily married to the most
supportive partner on planet earth, we have 4 lovely and adorable kids.


 WHAT FUELS
ME?

Knowledge – I think I agree with Kofi Annan when he said knowledge is power.
Information is liberating. Education is the promise of progress, in every
society, in every family. I have travelled to different parts of the world, and
have learnt and shared some wonderful cultures and at the same time I have seen
horrible ones too. There are some cultures in Nigeria that was created to
permanently keep women as second class citizen in Nigeria. I get my strength
from the fact that women all over the world are conscious of this gender gap,
awareness is growing and knowledge is our greatest strength.

Passion – I am passionate about gender harmony, it is the energy that keeps me going,
my passion for change is my powerful force in accomplishing all that I have set
my mind to achieve. There is this inner desire to change the inequality around
me for posterity sake, I have a daughter and will want her to reach the zenith
of her career and not to be stopped because of some cultural norms or because
she live in a society where her rights are not protected.

Determination
– A dream does not become reality, through magic; it takes sweat, determination
and hard work. I have always knew that the only sustainable way to success is
hard work and determination, there is just no short cut for it and that is why
even when it seems like I can’t go on I just kept pushing because just one more
push may bring about that desired change.
MY
GREATEST INFLUENCE:

My mother, I learnt different virtue from her, generosity, humility, perseverance,
determination and how to always produce result even from nothing. I could still
remember how I will save money and give it to her to keep and she will asked me
to try harder. She taught me how the coming together of small things can pave
way for greater things in life, through her I learnt to contribute my quarter
through the little things I do for my community.

MY TOP THREE ROLE MODEL

Mother Teresa ­– I love mother Teresa’s approach in spreading love peace to the
world. Mother Teresa asked us to be faithful in small things because it is in
them that your strength lies.  Imagine a
world where we all do little things for one another, it would have been a
better place to live. I choose to do the little I can at every given point in
time just like Mother Teresa.

Professor Remi Sonaiya – Professor Remi Sonaiya is another great model I
respect alot, her courage, determination and perseverance is something that is
uncommon among the Nigerian women, she inspire younger women who sees politics
as the exclusively rights for men to have a rethink, and she is a great force
to reckon with.


Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf – Ellen John Sirleaf making history as Africans first elected
female head of state despite the patriarchal nature of the Africa society. I love her boldness,
determination and courage, a great model indeed for we the younger ones.

 GOALS IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…..

My goals for the next 5 years are to work with or own an NGO that have the
vision to bridge the huge gender gap in Nigeria and finally, I want to be a
senator in the national assembly, to protect the interest of all Nigerians
irrespective of sex.

ACCOUNTABILITY
MANAGER
 I have two accountability manager, Dr Otive
Igbozor the director of Centre for Leadership and Strategic Development, he is
constantly checking on me to ensure that I am on the right track. My second
accountability manager is Mrs. Olufunke Baruwa the CEO of the Nigerian Women
Trust fund her passion in grooming young women leader serves as a constant reminder to me.
CHALLENGES
OF AFRICAN WOMEN
Gender
roles and outdated cultural practices, are the biggest problems women in Africa have to contend with, it shrinks
women and limit their ability to reach their full potentials. Cultures makes it
difficult for girls to go to school and encourage early marriages, some
encourage female genital mutilation, others promote the suffering of widows,
and some are created to permanently keep women under check. The fact is that
human beings make those cultures and if it is harmful to mankind then it has to
be abolished. I decided to start the page LADIES GATHERING NIGERIA to make
women fully aware of these culture and to fully understand their rights as
humans.

WHAT I DO TO RELAX:

I  love to travel , listen to good music,
swimming

MY   –   I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION

 African women need to break out of
timidity, inspire each other so that we can do more in the society. Globally
women tend to be poorer than men, in some cases more deprive in health,
education and in freedom in all its forms, To make the greatest impact on
development, a  society especially
Nigeria must empower and invest in its women.

MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS

I would love to work in the area where my actions will have direct impacts on
women and children, especially where laws are formulated so I can protect the
rights of women and bridge that huge gender gap. A woman can be educated yet
not been able to reach her full potentials, because of some outdated laws and cultures,
I will ensure that male and female have equal rights. I would advocate for more
stringent laws on domestic violence, child marriage, rape, child labor, child
trafficking, etc. and ensure stiffer punishments to those who break the law.

FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE

Women
should lend helping hands to the upcoming ones in any way they can, atimes we
may convinced ourselves that we are not affected by all this but the truth of the matter is,
if we don’t work together to correct this injustice to women now, our daughters,
great granddaughters, sisters, aunt may suffer the same faith and generations
to come will blame us for it. Martin Luther King, Jr. said Injustice anywhere
is a threat to Justice everywhere. It about time we women begin to match our
words with actions, break out of timidity, intimidation, emotional and
financial blackmailing, be bold ,courageous and determine and at the end
Nigeria will be a paradise with no 
limitation to how far any woman would want to go.
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