Monday, July 31, 2017

Diaries of a Ripples Intern -Teaching Experience (1)

By Daphne Visser,
Undergraduate Philosophy, Childhood and Education studies

This summer I was given the opportunity to travel to Nigeria to intern with Ripples Foundation. During my stay I have kept a dairy that i want to share with all of you. In this way I hope to be able to take you along on my journey and inspire all that want to help empower the African village women. 

Even though it was still really early the sun was already out. I had not slept much that night, as the great day had finally arrived. After some lashing, my Backpack - my old companion - was finally safety secured on my back and I was ready. I said my goodbyes to friends and family and embarked on a journey that would change my perspectives as a person. At the airport, baggage control was passed easily and it took little time before I was on my way to Lagos, Nigeria.

During my internship I was given all kind of tasks, which challenged me, but helped me develop my skills as well. It was an amazing experience to meet the people about whom I had heard so many stories, to experience their life and learn about their culture.  My first steps in Lagos were still a little unsure; it took me a while to understand the culture of this unknown place. I was luckily guided by a loving and warm-hearted team who helped me to adjust quickly. Time flew by as I worked with the Sewing Team in Lagos and the Ripples Nigeria team to map the processes of our Sewing Project, aimed at scaling up their operations to start exporting to the USA.   And before I knew it, we were already on our way to Ogidi,  the village in Kogi state where I would have my first experiences as a Teacher.

Ogidi is - especially in comparison to Lagos -  a quiet,  compact village, with little traffic. The people that I met during my short stay all made sure that I felt at home. I soon became the village’s Oyinbo (white woman) and I couldn’t step one foot out of the guesthouse without people calling me out and greeting me with a smile. They  there wasn’t even one day that I wouldn’t be called out on the street with a smile. From a distant acquaintance, who had made the travel to Nigeria before me, I had already heard about the warm hospitality of the people of the country, but the kindness that the people of Ogidi showed me surpassed all my expectations.  It was in Ogidi that I learned most about the Nigerian culture for  hospitality and kindness. I was even able to pick up some Yoruba words. 

To be continued.. 

Ripples Foundation Web Developer

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Meet Our Media Apprentices!

Exciting projects are starting in Kano State, Nigeria, with the Youth Development Programme being one of them! Dr Abdurrahman and Dr Maryam, our brilliant volunteers are heading the Media Apprenticeship Programme, where young women are being trained in photography where they will learn skills that they can take into their future careers and carve out successful businesses for themselves. 

The girls who are participating in our course are just normal teenagers and we want to help them achieve their dreams in an environment that is currently dominated by men. By empowering the girl child, we can tap into the as yet unused resources that they can provide and spread a ripple effect of development across rural communities. Through this apprenticeship we are looking to inspire these young girls and encourage them to become entrepreneurs, by using the skills they learn here to charge for their services as a photographer at local events such as weddings for their community.

In this post we will be introducing the first 3 apprentices to you, telling you why they have enrolled on the course, their dreams for the future and what they are looking to achieve from the course. We hope that you will continue to follow their journey as they progress through the training.

So let's meet the apprentices!

Husna Muhammad Yusuf

Age: 16

Husna lives with her twin sister Humaira (who is also part of the Media Apprenticeship, see below), 9 sisters, 1 brother and parents in Dorayi Babba. Husna and her twin were born 4 minutes apart; she is the youngest of the pair. Big sister Humaira is always eager to point that out! She loves to take pictures but has not had any professional experience or training, which is why she has decided to take this course with Ripples. In the future Husna wants to become a medical doctor, which is useful when your teachers are Dr Abdurrahman and Dr Maryam who I'm sure will be able to offer her advice on what that will take. Husna is enjoying working with Dr Abdurrahman and Dr Maryam so far and comments that they are very kind and honest.

Dr Maryam's comments:
Husna is the more easy-going one of the twins. She is currently in Zayd Academy and is graduating next year. Then, she wants to become a medical doctor so she can help her community. The main source of motivation is her mom, who is also in the medical line. Since she isn’t a little rebel like Humaira, mom gave a green light from the word go. She didn’t need any convincing! She loves photography both as a photographer and as a model. If Husna isn’t capturing shots, she is posing for Humaira. She is not as outdoorsy as the twin, she prefers to stay at home and escape into a world of books. At the top of her bucket list is to tour England, especially London, where she said there are some historical landmarks she wants to explore. We wish Husna great success as she goes through the programme.

Humaira Muhammad Yusuf

Age: 16

Humaira lives with her parents, 9 sisters and 1 brother in Dorayi Babba, and in the future wants to become a lawyer. Her twin sister is Husna, who is also an apprentice on the course, who she is older than by 4 seconds!  She is hoping that by the end of the course she will be able to start taking photos professionally at wedding ceremonies and has ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur by charging for her photography services.

Dr Maryam's comments:

Humaira is such a vibrant young lady whose main hobby is photography; as her mother says she captures shots to the point that she gets exasperated with her. When she was introduced to the Media Apprenticeship programme, her first thought was “I get to become a pro”. Humaira's main supporter is her mother who said she gets to turn her hobby into something more productive. She loves her mom to bits, even though she gives her a tough love kind of affection. But she describes dad as a softie, who always offers his support as long as it’s what she wants. Humaira always has her nose in a book and wants to polish her English, both of which are going to be helpful throughout her career in Law. Her favourite book is “A Woman In Her Prime”, which she describes as a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. We cannot wait to see how this enterprising young lady turns out.

Bahijja Suleiman

Age: 19

Bahijia lives with her parents and siblings in Dorayi Babba, and has enrolled in the Media Apprenticeship because she already has a love of taking pictures but wants to learn how to make them perfect. Her dream is to become a medical doctor or photographer, because in the Kano region female photographers are rare due to the culture of the environment. Bahijja is aware that Ripples also delivers medical outreach programmes to rural villages and is keen to become a part of that, which is fantastic to hear!

Dr Maryam's comments:
Bahijja is quiet and reserved; such a gentle soul and always calm and collected. It comes as no surprise that she wants to pursue a career as a Medical doctor, perhaps a Paediatrician, as she is very good with kids. Her 3 year old sister Ramla, doesn’t mind if mom is going out as long as she is with Bahijja. But when Bahijja is not with her, Ramla throws all sorts of tantrums. Their bond is so sweet that I jokingly refer to her as Ramla’s mother. Being a shy person, she loves taking pictures because she doesn’t need to engage in too much conversation, but she can use the pictures to tell a story. She loves capturing moments and she hopes to make a career out of this hobby. Bahijja describes her mom as her main driving force. Her support is invaluable to her and she aspires to make her proud. We hope Bahijja makes her and us proud too.

We wish Husna, Humaira and Bahijja every success as they progress through our programme - we can't wait to see what they will be able to do in a few months! Make sure to keep checking back here for more updates from the girls, and tune in next week where we will be introducing you to the next 3 apprentices.
Anonymous Web Developer

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Africa; A place of poverty, misery and disease?

Africa; A place of poverty, misery and disease?

Some of us still see Africa as a place of poverty, misery and disease. Of course many countries have experienced civil war, famine and epidemics, but we should not forget the strong women who come out of these countries. Many women that we speak in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon are hard working, creative, enthusiastic women that are ready to conquer Africa and the world with their ideas.

Some are successful, while others aren’t, not because they’re any less capable but because they lack access to capital. Yet just as this article suggests:, the narrative of suffering and poverty is the usual narrative that comes out of Africa; this needs to change, otherwise we’re in danger of considering big famines and epidemics as just another day in Africa. Let’s change this narrative together and make sure that more African female entrepreneurs become visible.
Ripples Foundation Web Developer

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Only agriculture can lift Africa out of Poverty"

Ripples agrees with south African Farmer Theo de Jager who believes agriculture is key in combating poverty and malnutrition. In his speech directed at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, which can be read here:, de Jager concluded that no other sector would be able to lift the continent out of poverty. Many organisations have seen the benefits of farming for Africa and have shared equipment, skills and knowledge.  

At Ripples we gave this a little twist in our new program Ripples Farms. At Ripples Farm the women of Ogidi village will gain the skills and knowledge to grow food to feed their families. The project also includes a Business Incubator Centre where 2000 women and 1000 youths from 20 villages will be trained by our partners on Agroforestry, Permaculture and Business.

Ripples Foundation Web Developer

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