Are Our Daughters Coming Home?

It’s been six long, agonizing months since 300 young girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria by terror group, Boko Hiram. Of the 300 girls, 50 escaped early on, while the other 250 girls have been held hostage by these terrorists whose name means “Western Education is Sinful”, hence their attack on a school teaching “Western education”.

Imagine being their parents and siblings, wondering if their daughters were alive and under the circumstances, okay. Had they been raped? Tortured? Starved? Would they ever return home? If they do come home, will they ever heal from their experience?

There was global outcry and attempts at intervention, but nothing drastic took place to return these precious souls back to their families in their small town of Chibok (near the Cameroon border). Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan was heavily criticized for his slow response time to the kidnapping, and for his inability to stop the mass murder of his people over the years.

Nigeria’s government recently announced that they have reached a cease fire agreement with Boko Hiram that also includes the release of the girls.
The prayers of the many hope for the safe return of these precious young ladies. These girls are future wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians, engineers, designers, artists, writers, c-suite leaders, and entrepreneurs.

No parent should ever have to endure the agony of not knowing the whereabouts and safety of their child. Could you ever imagine not having any contact with your child for 6 months or longer? Even 6 days would feel like 6 weeks. Six hours feels like 6 days, and 6 minutes feels like 6 hours. The emotional roller coaster that these girls and their families are feeling cannot possibly be put into words that would make much sense, because how could any of this make sense to a rational person?

I hope that when they do return home that through the resources and support of local and foreign governments, that these girls and their families are provided with counseling and other services to help them through their healing process.

Right now these girls are in survival mode. They just want to be with their families. But once they return home, their nightmare doesn’t end. The images, smells, taste, sounds, and feeling will be long-lasting. Their lives will never return to the normal they once knew, so they have to learn how to make healthy adjustments. They will need a great deal of help to work through this to reach their own level of normalcy.

To read more about the cease fire agreement, and the parties involved in this negotiation process, please read here.

Return our daughters!


Reuters Africa.

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.

While Others Question Her Net Worth I Salute Her Journey and Accomplishments

By Forbes calculations ($660 million), Folorunsho Alakija, is not wealthier than Oprah Winfrey. But the Forbes calculation has been disputed, with the number $3.3 billion replacing it and topping Oprah’s $2.7 billion.

Now here’s the deal, I honestly don’t care who has a higher net worth. I am just proud to highlight another woman, of color, a Black woman, who has used her God-given gifts, talents, and intelligence to make it to the top and stay there. I’m sure starting out she didn’t have an immediate goal of being a multimillionaire or billionaire, she probably just wanted what most of us do, to carve out her own place and space in life.

Some would argue that since Alakija does not have a rags-to-riches story like Oprah Winfrey, that her story is not newsworthy and one to be celebrated and highlighted. Alakija comes from a wealthy family and received education at quality schools, but let me chime in and say this, she started off as a secretary and then after quitting her job she left Nigeria in the 1980’s to study fashion design in England. She later returned to Nigeria to launch her own fashion label. Her fashion label grew in size and value, and while making money from that industry she then expanded into oil and other industries. Why isn’t that newsworthy and reason enough to celebrate? Daddy didn’t hand her a job, she went out and built a career and developed companies.

Let me also add this point as a wakeup call to anyone who doesn’t get it—anyone with wealth (or who has had wealth) knows that it’s not getting there that counts, it’s the longevity after getting there that matters.

There are numerous inheritors of wealth who have squandered it. Just as there are a great deal of rags-to-riches-back-to-rags stories that will make you cringe.

Alakija is not some young 25-year-old recent billionaire who made her bucks through the funnel of nepotism. This is a hard-working, highly intelligent, skilled business woman who is calling the shots and making moves at the young age of 61. She’s a wife and mother of four children. She’s balancing career, family, and personal needs—-something many women, including myself, find as an enormous challenge. I salute her.

But then there’s other people out there who say that since she’s Nigerian that her wealth is questionable, and argue that with so much personal wealth in a country with so much poverty, that maybe Alakija should not be highlighted, even at $660 million in earnings. To those people I say, she is a business woman, not a government official, politician, or public servant.

Zoom in and slam down those who are so-called public “servants” who are living the high life off the backs of those they claim to serve. Broadcast these so-called “servants” for accepting or demanding compensation for a job that should have meager earnings, yet they are making hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars annually barely living up to their job description or the claims they made to get their jobs, while the people they “serve” are impoverished and holding on by a thin string of hope.

Ethical entrepreneurship should always be celebrated, and now we have another example of a successful woman who has earned her way to the top not in the stereotypical ways and also not in the traditional ways perceived by most.

Alakija is not a singer, dancer, actress, athlete, or other entertainment professional, she’s not even a doctor or lawyer—she’s a business woman with a mission and vision that should be celebrated and used as an example for women and girls worldwide. I’m not demeaning, mocking, or limiting the value of these other professionals—I’m merely highlighting a career where the path is never clear and all of the schools in the world combined cannot truly prepare you for—and that is the creation, development, and economic sustainability of a business—one of the loneliest careers on the planet—entrepreneurship.

Think if Alakija’s family had lowered her standards and forced her to assume a different role in life— now smile and salute a woman, a Black woman, who no matter which financial calculations you accept, is doing huge things, making huge moves, and is helping to raise the bar of excellence while kicking down the barriers that keep women worldwide “in their place”.

We should make it a point of highlighting female entrepreneurs so that the world can see the power of a woman who see no limits.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.


Nigeria: Justice in the Twittersphere for Lynched Nigerian Students?

Lagos — Thousands of Nigerians have been murdered and killed by insurgency attacks in the last two years, but no such death witnessed the level of outrage as that of the fatal lynching of four students of the University of Port Harcourt in the oil-rich city. A battle to bring their killers to justice is now playing out online. Some Nigerians believe social media has come to the rescue.

Read more here: Nigeria: Justice in the Twittersphere for Lynched Nigerian Students?.

Nigeria’s Volunteer Community Mobilizers for Polio Eradication

Selected from their respective settlements (villages), 200 volunteer community mobilizers (covering 200 high risk settlements) are now fully operational in Kebbi State, in northern Nigeria.

Their mission is to reduce the percentage of missed children through targeted house-to-house interventions to generate demand for and acceptance of oral polio vaccine.

Read more here

More News from the Motherland


By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Below are links to some intriguing and very informed articles about issues and events taking place throughout several countries in Africa. You or someone you know may be from, a descendant of, or planning a trip to one of these countries. Staying connected keeps you informed, educated, and empowered. As always, share your thoughts if it moves you!

Cameroon: Stepping Naturally Away from Plastic

With news that food wrapped in plastic is known to cause cancer, there has been a move to transition back to the traditional and more natural way of wrapping food…with banana and plantain leaves. Some community radio stations in Cameroon have picked up the warning and are carrying out mass campaigns against the use of plastic to wrap food. In Oku, a locality in Cameroon’s North West Region, the response to the campaign conducted by “The Voice of Oku” has been tremendous.

* Zimbabwe: Pastors Rescue Refugees *
 Local pastors last week thwarted attempts by immigration officials
 to detain and deport Congolese refugees who had sought shelter at
 a church in Makokoba suburb after fleeing political violence in
 their country.
* Congo-Kinshasa: Baloji – a Breath of Fresh Air for Music *
 He spots a four-inch wedge of hair, has a taste for colourful designer
 clothes and sings songs reflecting the experience of coming to terms
 with his African heritage while living in Europe.
* Congo-Kinshasa: Youth Leaders Award Monusco a Prize of Excellence for
 Peace Efforts *
 A local youth association known as Umoja Cargo, awarded the United
 Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic
 Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) a prize of excellence for its peace
 efforts in the Nord-Kivu territory of Rutshuru. The prize, which was
 symbolically represented as a diploma, was awarded in the presence
 of some 50 guests at a ceremony organized for the occasion on
Nigeria: Deregulation Is a Necessary Change – President Jonathan *
 President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said deregulation of the
 petroleum sector is a necessary change Nigeria must make if government
 will have a significant impact in the lives of citizens.
Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman, MBA. Some Rights Reserved.

Nigeria: Central Bank Refuses Banking License to Al Qaeda

“Amidst fears that the proposed Islamic banking system, may create an
avenue for terrorist financing in Nigeria, the Governor of Central
Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Monday revealed
that a group had earlier in the 1990s, applied for licence to
establish an Al Qaeda Bank in the country but was not approved.”