31 Bits is a business using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty by equipping them with the tools to earn a sustainable income. They currently work with 108 women in Gulu, Uganda. They work with each woman by purchasing jewellery from her on a monthly basis, providing a consistent income. They will work with the woman until she has graduated from the from the programme and attained a sustainable means of income in her community. The programme includes finance training, vocational training, community groups, AIDS and health education and English and literacy lessons.
This post was inspired by a one entitled "Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know (Before She Reads Twilight)" by Molly of the blog, Molly Makes Do, recommending strong, relatable female characters. While Molly's list does indeed include some inspiring heroines that I recall from reading lists in my youth, it's missing the diversity that girls from world literature can offer us. My contribution to filling that gap is the following list of great girls and young women, from African literature, that all girls, young and old, should get to know.
In alphabetical order:
- Beatrice from Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
- Dikeledi from The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
- Kainene from Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Mhudi from Mhudi by Sol T. Plaatje
- Nyasha and Tambu from Nervous Conditions (and Tambu again in The Book of Not) by Tsitsi Dangaremba
- Phephelaphi from Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
- Sissie from Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo
- Efuru from Efuru by Flora Nwapa (thanks for sharing Belinda!)
Birds Eye View presents a cross-cultural live music commission by East African-influenced jazz musician, Amira Kheir for their 2013 Film Festival: Celebrating Arab Women Filmmakers. Singer, musician, somgwriter (and Afri-love interviewee), Amira will score a landmark silent film, Sumurun (One Arabian Night).
Of the film, a fantasy-drama of forbidden love, the NY Times says: ‘brilliant’.
Of Amira's critically acclaimed first album, View from Somewhere, Songlines says: ‘beautiful and fearless'. I own it and must agree.
Get a taste of Amira's music via today's video (RSS readers click here)
Live Unchained is preparing to bring London-based Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer, Warsan Shire, to Washington, DC for the first Live Unchained annual awards ceremony, "Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful". If you've missed previous posts about Live Unchained my collaborations with them and interviews, including one with co-founder and "Chief Visionary Officer" (love that!), Kathryn Buford, then you need to check out this international arts organisation for women across the African diaspora.
The last batch of my top picks for this year's Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre covers events to do with culture, activism and social issues and debates. I don't know about you but, between this list; the business, entrepreneurship and career development one I shared last week and; the music, poetry and spoken word events, it's going to be tough deciding what to actually attend! It's the kind of tough decision that's a joy to make. To those planning to attend the Festival, I hope you have a wonderful time and perhaps I'll bump into you. To everybody else, I look forward to reporting back.
WHAT: A world exclusive premiere of ‘Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth’, a feature documentary film by Pratibha Parmar, about the life and art of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Color Purple’.
The 6:30pm screening will be followed by a conversation with Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar. The 9.30pm screening is introduced by Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar.
WHEN: Sunday, 6:30pm and 9:30pm
What's new in African Feminisms
WHAT: Looking at what is fresh in African feminist thought and action. African women are gaining force in music, writing and film, offering powerful and subversive views on gender, power and the future.
WHEN: Sunday, 1:30pm – 3:00pm
If you've been reading the blog a while, you'll recall me mentioning Live Unchained – an initiative to celebrate women artists across the African Diaspora and represent our collective and individual creativity. As they approach their 4th anniversary, they're calling us to help celebrate with a series of creative challenges dubbed 30 Unchained (#30unchained).
It will be 2013 in under a week and that means it's time for one of those lists summing up the highlights of the year! The following is a selection of posts that you found most interesting (as per the analytics); posts that I most enjoyed creating; exciting discoveries and; some off-blog but on-topic articles.
Art and Design
- 'African Inspiration on Pinterest' posts (with features on natural hair, product design, accessories and more)
- Architecture and interior design inspiration (including Afritecture,Swahili-inspired interior design at Lamu's Baytil Ajaib and Morocco's Ministero Del Gusto among the most popular)
- The new Buy African series (including fashion and home decor from Sapelle and Beldi's Moroccan handicraft among the most popular posts of the series)
Yesterday I had the honour of celebrating the first every International Day of the Girl with hundreds of amazing women and girls at London's Southbank Centre. I was one of a group of around 180 mentors including physicists, authors, fashion designers, airline pilots, radio presenters, Team GB olympians, entrepreneurs, reverends, activists, bloggers and more – a very diverse and interesting group of women! We mentored 11-18 year olds while on the London Eye. Elsewhere in the world, nations showed their solidarity with girls by turning their landmarks pink (including the pyramids in Egypt).
Because I am a Girl
The event was related to the Women of the World (WOW) festival which you'll have read me go on about earlier this year. It was driven by charity Plan UK who are campaigning for the education of girls to be a top development priority (you can find out more about Because I am a Girl and sign their petition).
For the occassion, I thought I'd share some other girl-dedicated initiatives:
The Girl Effect
The Girl Effect is a MOVEMENT. It's about about ending poverty. And it's about doing so by investing in girls: "The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads and villages and towns and countries"
View more great Girl Effect videos.
Here's a girl (a woman actually) I know who's on a mission to inspire girls and young women in Kenya that they can pursue their dream careers with confidence. Afri-girl aims to open girls up to the opportunities available to them by sharing the stories of those who have gone for it already.
I had a few interesting discussions yesterday, about feminism, activism and an observed apathy towards pushing for change. It's been the theme of my week actually. We get frustrated about things and sometimes we ignore the things we wish were different, sometimes we just complain but, why don't we get up and DO? Why don't we act on creating the change we want? I've been reflecting about how I can be more active in the interest of the things that I stand for.
What's been frustrating you lately?
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: On Fashion and Being who we want to be
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: Highlights from the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre
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