If you google her, you won’t find pictures taken smiling at a school game or posing for a selfie.
Today my best friend would have been 31 years old.
Everyone’s friend, you’d find her infectious laugh making people feel welcomed as she listened, cared, showed kindness and still soared to the top of the academic charts, not that she’d tell you. Quite frankly, she put us all to shame – deputy head girl, star pupil, wonderful daughter, loving sister to us all.
The tragedy is that in the 19 years since she ended her life, a significant moment that catalysed why I would care so significantly for the development and nurturing of the adolescent girl child, can I honestly say that I have made a difference or that we have changed the fate of young girls with a feeling of hopelessness?
I was about to mope in this post quoting rape and abuse statistics, girl brides and prostitution – things that my the girls who have been part of my GEm programmes have experienced, not intangible concepts or distant stories read about. I know the human faces, their real names, the young girls behind some of our countries’ worst crimes. Crimes that go unreported because they aren’t heard or no one simply cares.
Rather than quote depressing statistics about the “state of the nation”, crime or those poor Nigerian girls, I thought that I would acknowledge everyone who has ever listened to me, bought into my passion or invested in any girl child with no prior responsibility or commitment to do so.
Thank you for doing your bit to shift the landscape for our girls.
If we have prevented one outcome like the one that kept my best friend from seeing her 18th birthday, then we can say that we did something significant.
Her immense potential and unfulfilled possibility stays being the light that keeps me focused on the darker days to just keep going.
I will. I always do.
My work in @GirlsEMpowered aka #Gem I dedicate in loving memory of Theresia Selaelo Madisha.