Rebuilding Sierra Leone, Educating Children & Enriching Lives Through Kiva

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

As a proud African Woman, I am honored to write this tribute to Women all over the World. Enjoy the poems too, and remember that these poems and this tribute apply to ALL women, not just African women. As you know, 5% of all Boutique Mix sales goes toward charity. Please join MiMi and Boutique Mix in the 2008 Pledge Campaign to rebuild Sierra Leone and impoverished Africa, one innocent child at a time. Please click here to learn more about the 2008 Pledge Campaign. I am also happy to announce that MiMi and Boutique Mix are proud sponsors of entrepreneurs via the Kiva loan Program. Click here to learn how you can register to sponsor entrepreneurs via Kiva.

Who is the African Woman? The African woman is the salt of Africa. As we move forward together in economic reform and development, we must recognize that African Women will play vital roles in rebuilding and reshaping whats left of the ashes. From entrepreneurial endeavors to leadership roles in government, African Women are at the frontline of post-conflict revitalization.

During the 2003 International Women's Day Celebration in New York, Kofi Anan noted that the important role of women in the family - "study after study has shown that there is no effective strategy in which women do not play a central role. When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately; families are healthier and better fed; their income, savings and reinvestment go up. And what is true of families is also true of communities and, in the long run, of whole countries...."

Nothing heals the wounds of wars. Nothing but HOPE (and I'm sure a lot of other things you can think of). It is imperative that we equip these women with skills to rebuild our lives. Kiva is one of many organizations that aims to improve the lives of women around the world.

I'm not speaking of the sophisticated sassy African diva who has traveled the continent, written three books, speaks four languages and lives in a beautiful home on the French Rivera. (I applaud her tenacity and hard work and hope to be her when I grow up...). I'm speaking of the rural African woman who works on the farm or sits at the market from dusk till dawn struggling to feed her family. Despite the brutalities of a difficult post-war socio-economic and political world she's up at the cackle of the rooster to work for her family. With one remaining limb (the other was hacked off during the war) and no one-figure jobs (let alone six-figures), she goes on and succeeds!!! What keeps the African Woman going is HOPE. Hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Hope that her children will be happy, healthy and fed.

No food. No clothing. No homes. This is not the African Dream. Wars keep the women from planting and harvesting. Wars destroy homes, hospitals, banks and schools. It's a vicious cycle of replanting, rebuilding, reshaping, reconstructing.......... and then more wars.......... then more rebuilding and all the others "re's." As we travel around the world, we learn more about others and so much more about ourselves. We learn especially that we are one in the world, no different from each other. Just diverse in our backgrounds and unequal in economic and social hierarchies. We all have the same dreams of a better life for us, for our children, for our families. For those of us African Children who live in the west, some of us have lost touch with the realities that afflict us.

We are not different because we live in the West. We try to, but are not independent of the women and children that live on the Continent. We are just extensions of where we came from. Subsets of our own roots.

Reducing Poverty is not limited to the ONE Campaign or Oprah. It is up to all of us!!! Please join me for the 2008 Pledge campaign. Let me tell you a little about the African Woman.

Who is the African Woman? by MiMi

The African Woman is a survivor
She is an educator and a scholar
A diplomat and ambassador
A protective mother
A loyal daughter
A fierce and courageous leader

The African Woman is a heroine
She is a loving wife and partner
An ambitious visionary
A successful entrepreneur
A warm and caring friend
A champion for freedom and equality

The African Woman is a role model
She is a nurturer and a healer
A rebel against mass genocide and oppression
A human rights activist
A passionate child advocate
A lobbyist for reconciliation and reconstruction

The African Woman is remarkable
She is a force to be reckoned with
An honest and diligent politician
A calm in the midst of the storm
A peace seeker
A catalyst for change and progress

The Traits of an African Woman by MiMi

If strength is beauty she'd be drop dead gorgeous
If faith is wealth she'd be filthy rich
If perseverance is water she'd be an ocean
If patience is rain she'd be a storm
If humility is a flood she'd be a tsunami
If love is an animal she'd be a zoo
If dedication is food she'd never be hungry
If courage is a book she'd be a library
If determination is a country she'd be a continent
If resilience is a tree she'd be a forest
If loyalty is a disease she'd be an epidemic
If passion is a flower she'd be a rose garden

I am excited to announce that MiMi and Boutique Mix are proud sponsors of entrepreneurs via the Kiva loan Program. Click here to learn how you can register to sponsor entrepreneurs via Kiva. African women play an important role in rebuilding nations destroyed by war. For this to happen they need our prayers and financial support. Visit Micro loan Opportunities and Micro Credit Programs to learn more about similar opportunities. We hope to encourage African women to know their strengths, to believe in themselves and to be financially secure as they struggle to rebuild a broken society.

The Beauty of An African Woman
by MiMi

The beauty of an African woman
is not in the span of her hips
nor in the size of her waist
It is not in the width of her lips
nor the length of her legs
It is not in the breadth of her nose
nor in the cuteness of her toes
It is not in the texture of her hair
nor in the length of her neck
It is not in the color of her eyes
nor in the number on the scale

The beauty of an African woman
lies in her strength
In the way she carries herself
In her love for family
In her struggle for equality
In her quest for justice
In the way she loves her man
In the way she cradles her child
In the way she prays to her Lord
The African Woman is a beacon of strength
If strength was beauty, the African Woman would be drop dead gorgeous.

by Mimi (dedicated to my mother for raising three wonderful children and giving the gift of a good education to all her students).

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NigerianDramaQueen said...

1.First off, I want to say thank you for all your encouraging comments on my blog. I start studying for the LSATs this summer so Il be harrassing you!
2. I am constantly amazed by all that your involved in. I have always had a heart for post-conflict countries. It's disheartnening that the constant stat of turmoil in our world, makes us neglect the places where peace is still fragile.
3. I have a very small amount of $ that I have been looking to give to a microlending program. I have heard quite a bit about Kiva. Is there some way I can do it through you, cuz I would love to. My email is on my page if you need to email me.
4. I find it quite ironic that as I type this, I have a ONE t-shirt
5. Your truly an inspiration a moi!

NigerianDramaQueen said...

I actually just re-read your post and realised all I need to do is go to the Kiva website. This is what happens to your brain when ur in class till 9.30pm. Sigh.....

NigerianDramaQueen said...

PS: You have been tagged! See my profile for details

Pretty.Hip said...

Those were really nice!

haute mess said...

in my african cultures class first semester, we studied sierra leone and learning about all the problems they've faced is absolutely tragic.

i think it's great that you're helping out and raising awareness.

Boutique Mix Fashion said...

NIGERIAN DRAMA QUEEN - I KNEW THIS WAS COMING........LOL. I'LL DO MY TAG LIST WHEN I GET BACK THIS WEEKEND!!! thanks pretty hip and haute mess. i can't help chuckling as i type these names. lmao

B_More BAP Life said...

All around beautiful & Great Cause.

vogued out!!! said...

Kudos. This was a refreshing read on Africa.
Thanks for posting.

Malaysian Fabric Heritage said...

Power to the African Women, especially those who reside in Sierra Lone.

The HOPE will become reality when women put their hearts, mind and soul to the cause. We pray the men will share this intention for a better tomorrow.

Mimi, may your vision be realized.

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