October is a month for amazing things!
Ezar Dumebi Ehigiator will be a two time author this year and âJust Us Girlsâ an event for young girls and teens will be holding live in Ibadan where Ezar’s book ‘Wrecked’ will be launched and given out for FREE to attendees.
Ezar blows me away and I had to get a sit down with her in an interview.
Read and enjoy..
(1) Frances: Who is Ezar Dumebi Ehigiator?
Can we meet you?
Ezar Dumebi Ehigiator?
Dumebi: I am a teacher, a librarian and an author known for my social activism, often mirrored through my writings of oppression, women’s rights and empowerment. Telling womenâs stories, giving their plight and their successes whatever voice I can is what motivates me everyday to do the work I do. I am an editor of Women of Rubies and also the convener of Just Us Girls Summit (JUGS), an annual workshop providing mentor programs for pre-teen and teenage girls. I am also the Creative Director for Glows and Sparkles, a makeup artistry outfit empowering women. I blog on www.dumebie.com
I firmly believe that God has placed us all on this earth for a purpose â a purpose to be happy and to find joy in life and no one should steal that away from you. I therefore constantly remind myself to stay true to myself and if and when I am not comfortable within a particular situation then I act upon it and change it so that I am comfortable . A wise man once said, âWe only have this one life to live and therefore we should live it to the fullestâ and that is how I live my life.
(2) Frances: How was growing up like for you?
What was your background like?
Dumebi: I was born the only daughter to two loving, amazing, supportive parents and a sister to extraordinary boys. Our parents embraced our differences and allowed us to grow as individuals, not concerned with the social ânormsâ for girls or boys. I realize there are many people in this world that are not as fortunate as I was, and I have come to deeply appreciate my upbringing. I was trained by the best!
My parents taught me so many wonderful things, I canât even begin to explain what some of them are, and only now that I am grown and middle aged do I realize the utter importance of all the things they did for me. I am the person I am today, mostly because of what my parents gave me: my values, my emotional stability, my interests, my tendencies and my ability to be a strong individual in the world. I wouldnât be the person I am now, or achieved anything I have achieved without the constant support of two very special people.
Growing up, I knew that whatever happened to me in the world didnât matter because my parents would always love me and understand me. No matter what, I always knew that I could come home and talk it over with them. Just knowing I could count on them was very comforting.
They gave me a great home life with plenty of family activities and outdoor adventures. They taught me to value my family above anything else. They taught me the importance of getting along with my siblings. And, most of all they gave me tons of encouragement to do whatever I wanted to do. They pushed me to try new things and they praised me when I succeeded. This built in me a great sense of confidence and self pride.
There was open communication in times of difficulty or trouble, they were never mean and if they were disappointed in me, they never let it show. They never said much in the way of criticism, but when they talked, I listened, because they always gave the kind of advice I could count on. Whatever happened, they only asked me to do the best I could. If times were tough, they were always at hand to listen to whatever I had to say. Communication was open in my family and nobody kept any secrets. We learned to always be honest and always have faith, no matter what happened.
The bottom line, was that everything I got from my parents made me grow and want to be better at everything I did. They taught me to believe I could achieve anything. They eagerly shared all my experiences. There didnât seem to be a generation gap. My parents knew everything I did and talked about everything with all of us. We did it all and we were all achievers, because we all had such positive loving support. To this day, Iâm very close to my parents, and I feel I owe them everything. In fact, I believe that my parents having high expectations for me â coupled with love â is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.
(3) Frances: I know that you are pretty passionate about the girl child… did your background in anyway influence what you do with girls and women today?
Dumebi: It did. All through my life, my parents made sacrificial efforts to give my brothers and I an education at least to the best of their ability. This move of theirs, has become the bedrock on which my motivation to succeed as a woman lies. Every Girl should have this. Sadly, not every girl does. So, it’s my desire to arm girls with cognitive skills and motivation, so that they can shatter the glass ceiling that society and circumstances has placed before them.
â(4) Frances: I have read your books and the first two (wait for the release people) revolve around themes of abuse for women, the girl child and injustice to women.
What is your motivation/aim with these themes that you write about?
Dumebi: Two things motivate me to write: stories’ power on people (power to send a message and influence people), and stories’ insights into people.
My writing objectives are to reform my society and change the social status quo of women in Nigeria.
I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. To me, writing is just as symbolically loaded as my choice of a signature appears to be; it is an analysis of the problems associated with female identity, with being a gender and not a human being. My hope in writing about strong women is that they can provide inspiration to others, who may think theyâre incapable of making tough choices and doing difficult things.
(5) Frances: For you, an ideal life for women and girl child in the world would be….
Dumebi: I think about this question often â every day, in fact, multiple times a day â about the kind of world my children, especially my daughter, will inhabit and how they will choose to navigate it. I would never want my son or daughter to grow up in a society where theyâre judged by how they look or what they wear. Rather, I would want the content of their character to speak out for who they truly are. On the same hand, I would want them to view their peers in the same way. At the end of the day, mutual respect and love for others is what will not only reshape the way we interact with one another, but how the wrong message loses its power. I want a comfortable world for my daughter. The kind in which she will always be free to run, jump, hide, play, reach and laugh, and never have to be afraid of whatâs lurking in the corner. I want a world where she will never be told she “canât” because of her gender or the colour of her skin. I want a world where she will never have to be ashamed or her abilities or the lack thereof. I want a world where she will never be judged or criticised just because sheâs different. A world where she will never ever have to apologise for who she is or isnât.
Thatâs the kind of world I want for her.
(6) Frances: What steps do you think should be taken in attaining a better society for women?
Dumebi: A better society starts at home, doesnât it? It starts with all of us, mums and dads, family members and trusted friends; a village to model, guide, mentor, and lead our children to reflect on what truly makes a global citizen and how they should interact and view the inherent worth of each person around them.The world our kids grow up in can be a better place, and it will always begin at home. So, first steps of love and acceptance should begin at home.
â(7)Â Frances: Can you please tell us about your upcoming book titled “Wrecked”?
Dumebi Wrecked is the story of manâs inhumanity to man. A tale of abuse, terror, raw anger, love, lust, betrayal, murder and revenge and at its white-hot centre is Anaya Rufai, a strong, exciting woman who dares to take chances â and always win.
Itâs a story of:
Anaya, hurt, scared and scarred by one incident in her childhood. She wants it all. She requires just as much power as any man. And power, for Anaya, means the ability to rule her home, or the heart of a man, on her terms.
Hauwa, a teenager forced to wed a man in his thirties, a man who sees marriage as a means to act like a depraved animal.
Laraba, abducted and abused by Jihadists, escaped from captivity but is fighting another war and bearing her pain with dignity. She is a haunting reminder that most of âourâ girls are still missing.
Kuku, yearns endlessly and in vain for her fatherâs love.
(8) Frances: I understand that the book is part of a much bigger workâ you aim to achieve and part of this is JUGS.
What is JUGS about?
Dumebi: The Annual Just Us Girls Summit Â is designed specifically for teenage girls and the women Â who support them. Attendees will hear from inspirational key-note speakers about building confidence, setting goals, Â getting to college and achieving their dreams.
The summit is all about:
Sharing fun ways to ignite their own leadership and brilliance in new ways!
Giving them tools & resources for the projects & dreams they want to create!
Offering break-out sessions on topics like Beauty/Self-Care, Fulfilling Dreams and Getting to College!
Teaching them life skill sets and tips from key note speakers!
Helping the girls to know that they are brilliant, Brighton, beautiful and bold just as they are!
Giving them access to helpful leaders and mentors!
Creating a fun environment for girls to laugh and learn together!
Celebrating girls through our Bright and Beautiful Awards!
My latest book ‘Wrecked’ will be launched during the summit. 🙂
(8) Frances: Are there other plans stemming out of “wrecked”?
Dumebi: Wrecked will be scripted into a movie and a play. The play will be presented in various schools across the country.
(9) Frances: How can someone be a part of your work? As volunteers or supporters of your work with women and girls?
Dumebi: Contact JUGS either by sending an expression of interest letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 08188881819. A Coordinator of Volunteers will then contact you and arrange an interview to discuss what volunteer opportunities are available that match your interests, skills and availability and to complete paperwork, including a police check application (we have to make sure you are not a sex offender since we are working with girls).Â
On successfully completing the above you will be invited to attend necessary training.
(10) Frances: And finally, where can your books be purchased?
Dumebi: All online Platforms and book stores.
Dumebi writes at www.dumebie.com and is on twitter @Deezart and Facebook @DumebiEzar