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POEM: My Mother at 12 | Rhoda Robinson  | Nigeria

As I sit in my buoyant palace, I wonder at my fate.

At 12, She wakes up at dawn to fetch and clean;
Before she struggles to prepare the family meal.

At 12, Her tender back is bent from the load she struggles with;
A weight heavier than her, but she carries it still.

At 12, Her hands are chafed from scraping the char off the pot;
The black coal more natural on her,she bothers not to wash.

At 12, Her worry lines are deeply etched in;
The trials and pains her mother had bore are now her cross to carry.

At 12, She has already felt the harsh blow of her husbands fist;
As she continually fails in her service to him.

At 12, Her feet are used to the sun burnt path to the water hole;
As to it she trudges day and night in duty to provide for her family.

At 12, Her waist has carried the burden of life;
And she loses more of her essences with each strife.

At 12, My mother carries me in her womb;
And I wonder at my fate as a girl coming into the world she knows.

POEM: For You I Will | Joyce Kafu | Kenya

You are all I have to work and smile for,
You give me all the reasons to wake up early each day,
You have always been the reason I go to bed late,
You continue to motivate me to be strong in all I do,
You have never let me down in any way so far.

I love you so much my dear daughter,
I see a great woman produced in you,
I cannot let any chance for your triumphs pass me by,
I will fight nail and tooth for you to achieve prominence,
I know you are determined to make me a happy mama.

We have been through so much pain together, darling,
We have cried together when it did not seem possible for us,
We have sang together strong songs of inspiration for hours,
We have prayed as one tight team each morning and bedtime,
We have celebrated the many wonderful things in our individual lives together.

For you I will stand up again after each fall,
For you I will kneel and pray harder for God’s guidance,
For you my voice will be sharpened for praise,
For you my keyboard will speak globally to share your success,
For you, Audrey Namikoye, other young women will be empowered.

POEM: Beautiful She | Nnenna | Nigeria

At birth, she is already regarded as a mother,
she is nurtured into being a caregiver,
she is looked upon as a lesser human by the men folks,
she grows up with the burden on her shoulder.

As a youth she is regarded as simply a woman,
a woman of grace some will call her,
other see her like a sexual being,
i see her as strong willed..

As she grows into maturity,
she evolves overtime into a sister, friend and mother,
her dreams changes into a fighter,
fighting for her children..

Beautiful she,
i see a beautiful she in every woman,
she tills the ground to sustain her own,
her beauty radiate beyond her face.

beautiful she,
your beauty radiates from inside out,
your beauty sees the atrocity of this wold,
fight fight my beautiful she.

LETTER: Cherish Yourself | Roksana Hasib | Bangladesh

Today, I am taking the time to rejoice being you.

Let’s go 10 years back. Your grandmother always used to say, “You are an amazing bright young girl, with a constant smile on your face, spreading your bright aura everywhere. Stream of possibilities flows through you.” How fond you were of those words. Yet, I know it wasn’t as easy to grow up as a girl.

POEM: Mother-machine my strength! | Aminah | Maldives

Day in and day out, the lovely rhythm of the motor -
lulling us to sleep and giving us comfort.
My lovely mother and her sewing machine:
earned the clothes we wore; earned the food we ate;
the source of protection over our head;
earned us education that put us way ahead.

Day in and day out – she labored,
stitching clothes for the entire neighborhood.
Some days, it was agonizing to watch her ache yet smile -
her dozing at the machine trying to meet deadline.
Some days, it was simply joyful to watch -
her creativity in the designs and the elegant lines.

Such creativity – yes! In her eyes I saw ambition.
None came true! I saw it, despair and outrage!
Chanelling that to educate her girls – her new ambition.
Such fervor, such support she gave – I stop and inhale.
No wonder I see pride in her eyes when ‘we’ stand with her tall.

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LETTER: My Mentor, My Mom | Saving Angel | Canada
I’ve been given the opportunity to let the world know how much your strength and determination for a better life and your unending love and support has impacted me and helped turn me into the woman I am today. I commend you each day of my life for the many compromises, sacrifices and difficult decisions you had to make during your time here in Canada.
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