by Sherif Awad
Exclusively for www.MeetingVenus.com
My name is Elivava, I'm a singer and performer from Ghana.
A "domestic violence victim" in Master's Degree, I may say. Don't laugh, I mean it! Life has taught me. I was the only girl child among five boys... All my life, I have learnt to fight to empower myself for my freedom among men in this male dominant country.
My brothers, family, society, ignorantly always made me feel less than myself and even say it to my face that because I am a woman, men have all the power over me, and women as a whole and all am worth is a man's kitchen because that is what they learnt from this male dominant society.
(A SHORT STORY OF MY NUMEROUS STORIES OF MY LIFE)
I'm a school drop out. At the age of thirteen, I was already sleeping on the streets of Accra in front of a club call Makumba around Dankwa circle. Why? because my father travelled and my Mom couldn't care for me nor my brothers anymore. For this reason, I always thought the only way for a woman to survive is to be with a man since that was the informal education I got from the environment I lived in.
At the age of seventeen, I had already had many abortions from unwanted pregnancies.
Looking at how hard life was by the age of twenty when I got hooked up to an older man who decided to take me into his home. I got pregnant again but he didn't want the pregnancy so he started beating me to abort the pregnancy again which I refused.... To cut all matters short, I gave birth to that girl child and another boy. After my son was one and a half year old, I had to run out of his house to save my life because then the beating had became so much that I had gained bruises.
I then decided to face my fears and use my talent and take care of my children alone. It has not been easy at all.... Still struggling through....
-Over the years of my singing career, I have gone through so much to take care of my two children as a single parent with no support from their father or from any other source.
Looking at the situation of no support or social security for women like me in Ghana, I felt the need to help women in similar situations by using my music and influence now to start from the village where I come from.
I have personally experienced and seen how women go through pain here in Ghana only to make ends meet for themselves and especially their children. Some are not as strong as me, so I am helping in my own way to uplift them, give them hope, possibly get support for them, and let them know they can make it too like how I made it all through all alone with my talent, creativity and empowerment from another woman.
-Even through the molestations, bullying, sexual harassment from some of our men here in Ghana and some other countries I have been to, single mothers can still make it, if only they get positive encouragements, enough inspiration and support especially financially.
I REALISED IT MY CALL AND ALL THIS HAS BECOME MY ENERGY TO SUPPORT SOCIETY TO EMPOWER
Because of this, it has always been my dream and passion to help and support other single mothers and girls like me who have been through domestic violence, life struggles. They have children but are still hustling and fighting to make it and care for themselves and for their loved ones.
(MY PASSION AND VISION ONGOING)
I started by creating awareness through our festival call (Buyioka Festival) which has been held over the past fifteen years, and a homecoming concert call elivava homecoming women empowerment program and initiative I started this year which was quite successful.
Still looking forward and planning to do another this year.
But before then,
The plan for next year’s Elivava Homecoming Concert and the Buyioka festival is to revive, build and finish a portable local market for those women who trade their harvest and produce from their farms in my village - BAIKA - which is in the Volta region of Ghana. My main goal is to empower these women to become more independent and successful in their careers and have their respect and say in our society
Through these, the women will also be able to educate their children and feed them as well, which they are not able to do at the moment.
These women complain they cannot get buyers for their produce because the condition of the market has deteriorated over the years. Transportation has become so expensive to convey their produce to town to sell so if we can reopen their market for them, the buyers will come to the village to buy straight from them which makes it easier for them to buy and sell.
THESE WOMEN PRODUCE LOCAL RED RICE, YAM, PLANTAIN, PALM NUT, BANANA, COCOA, ORANGE, PINEAPPLE, BLACK PEPPER, ETC.... JUST TO MENTION FEW.
Another plan is to educate as many children as can be especially the girl child, since many of them have dropped out of school and others do not go to school at all. I would also love to give them books, shoes, and uniforms since some of them go to school bare-footed, cannot afford books, and don't even have toys to play with in kindergarten for instance.
(One last thing)
Any individuals or organizations who would like to go on a holiday within Easter period to Africa specifically Ghana, is most welcome to visit Baika in the Volta region for the Buyioka festival and Elivava Homecoming women Empowerment Project and initiative
we need volunteers and donors from all angles
There is a lot of tourist attractions to be seen
Doors are also open to any other individuals who would like to volunteer in any other field of speciality to empower our women and to educate the children.
We are also open to all kinds of donations