In this time and age, it is rare to find young people who are more concerned with issues in their community than the next Twitter trend. Esiobu Ngozika is one of such rare young people.

Let’s meet her.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am from Anambra state, and I reside in Benin, where I am currently studying English and Literature Education at the University of Benin.

I am a 300 level student of English and Literature, Faculty of Education in the Department of Educational Foundation, University of Benin.

I am a Copywriter. I write content and generate copies for businesses and individuals. That is my skill, and it’s an online skill where you write copies and all of that. I am 23 years old.

How was your childhood like?

I am from a family of seven; five kids. I am the third child. My childhood was not a palatable one because my Mom passed when I was still very young; I think I was 4 years old or 5 when she passed on. And given the fact that we are more of girls; we are four girls and one boy who is the lastborn, we couldn’t stay with our Dad. He had to go out for work. Because of that, we were spread among our uncles.

I went to stay with my uncle in Katsina state, with his wife and two kids as at then. The experience was not palatable, I must say. It was really tough for me. My uncle was a good and nice person even up till now, but I saw hell on earth in the hands of his wife. But what can I do? It’s part of life. It’s part of growth. It’s part of learning.

I eventually went back to stay with my Dad and Grandma, because there was no one I could stay with. My Dad did not remarry early; he remarried just recently. So, I had to stay with my Grandma, and that’s where I started life afresh. I stayed with my Grandma for two years, and moved on to Abuja to stay with my uncle; that was where I started and finished secondary school. Again, it was not easy. I eventually got my freedom when I gained admission into the school. That is my childhood story in a summary.

At what point did you decide that your current course and business is what you want to do?

Esiobu Ngozika PeaceWhat prompted me to go into English and Literature as a course is because I like teaching, and back then, in secondary school, I spoke more of English. Even when I tried to speak pidgin like my mates, they were like, ‘Please, don’t speak that. It doesn’t fit you.’ I just like English. So, since I like teaching and I like English, why don’t I study it and make a profession out of it. So, that was what prompted me into studying English and Literature.

As per my side hustle, copywriting still falls under the same line of English writing. But, for my humanitarian services, reaching out to communities and my society, making an impact in my little way, even as a student, was borne out of my passion for the girl-child.

As a young girl growing up, staying with uncles was not easy. I stayed with my aunt in Abuja, at JSS 3 or SS 1, when I first had my period. Before then, no one has ever enlightened me about menstruation. So, at that point, I did not know what menstruation was and what to do. I remember that day vividly; it was on the 25th of December. I was perplexed. And you know, staying with uncles and aunties that don’t give you room to communicate with them, I’m always on my own. I’m still trying to get out of that lifestyle even up till now. I stayed with them; I was always on my own. Speaking to them was based on errands; asides from that, I was on my own. Consequently, communicating with them on any issue was a problem.

So, I was scared. I was freaking out, and I couldn’t even speak up or tell anyone. I was scared of what I’d tell my aunty or what her reaction would be. I did not know about menstruation at all. After the first day, I had to go on tissue; I think it was on the second day that she noticed a stain on my cloth and called me. She didn’t say anything about it. She just said, ‘whenever you see this kind of a thing, use this, use this.’ She then gave me some pieces of clothes that I made use of.

My period didn’t returned after my first experience, and I was happy. However, after about a year, I saw it again. This time around, I didn’t bother telling anyone since she had already told me what to use. Even though she was a pharmacist, she never educated me on menstruation, and I don’t know why. I had no education; I did not know about menstruation.

So, when I got admitted into the university and visited villages from time to time, I saw many things. I remember what I passed through when I was growing up, and that was one of the things I said to myself I needed to share. Young girls need to know about this thing. It is despicable that parents, especially mothers, don’t deem it right to educate their young girls on menstruation.

So, I’d been looking out for how to get started, given that I am a student when I came across DO Take Action. I was really happy because they afforded me the opportunity and provided a platform where I could make this dream come true. Because of my experience, I decided to do the Menstrual cycle hygiene and Sex Education project. I didn’t think twice when I chose this project. I still want to continue in it.

The second is the incessant out-of-wedlock pregnancies rampant in our days. You see young girls in JSS 3, SS 1, SS 2 having children out of wedlock, becoming mothers at a very tender age. No one comes up to say he is the father and take care of them. As a result, they become added burdens to their parents.

These things prompted me to do humanitarian service, and I keep doing it. I’m a Make Orumba Great Again; it is in Anambra state. I’m their secretary, and we are planning to execute a project this year, and we are still looking at that line of the program because I suggested to them that this is what I want, and we are looking into it to see how we can make that achievable.

Young girls need to be educated. They need to know that life is not all about giving birth at age 13, that there is more they can achieve, that they have a great future, that there is more for them, that their life doesn’t end in the bedroom or the kitchen. There is more to achieve out there, and we need to start from the grassroots to enlighten them.

These were everything that prompted me into going into humanitarian services.

What do you think has been instrumental to your level of success?

What has been instrumental to my success is that I believe that the expected end is what matters in life. Our expected end to a particular project or a particular action is what matters. When I look at myself and see the level of success I have achieved, I am energised to do more. Because it is not about me, it’s about the society that is getting impacted; it is about the society I am changing, the society I want to see tomorrow, and the girl-child I want to see tomorrow. It is about that girl-child that must not suffer what I passed through as a child. And this has been instrumental to my success. It keeps me going when I see them happy when I see a change. When I see that my impact is making a change, someone is making a change; I am building a better girl, woman, mother.

What bias have you had to deal with and how did you overcome them?

Being a female or a woman in Nigeria is not a day’s job. I am a woman, and I am a lady. However, I behave masculine. We are five in our family, and most of us are girls, save the lastborn. So, people usually think we can’t do anything because of that. Among my female siblings, I am the only that behaves like a man. Even my physique is masculine.

Because I am a woman, society does not expect me to do certain things. People feel I should be living off of her parents. But I tell them that being a woman doesn’t limit me and can’t limit me from doing what I have passion for. I’ve had to deal with guys trying to frustrate my efforts because they think I should depend on guys to care for my bills. But, compromising is not on my agenda, especially in my humanitarian service. I have lost two relationships because of this. I refuse to give up. I am not giving up. I believe they are not mine. I believe that there is always someone that’s been placed to support you at whatever level you are. And once the person’s job is done, the person leaves; that is my belief. I’m not going to allow what society thinks of me to prevail; I choose my passion instead.

I’ve encountered guys telling me that I am not supposed to be doing what I am doing and living like a guy. But, I refuse to let their words be my downfall. Instead, I convert those nay sayings into stepping stones to achieve more success. I’ve had to deal with discrimination even among my fellow girls, so I keep my circle small, a small circle of friends that encourage and support me.

You almost sound like a feminist here. I am tempted to ask "are you a feminist?"

You can say so. I believe both sex should have same right and privilege.

The African culture and mentality, most especially that of Nigeria make me go crazy.

Alright. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

In the next ten years, I see myself achieving even greater success than today. I want to look back and smile, seeing I have birthed a better girl, a better woman, and a people who will take more action than I am doing now.

Though I am still starting up, in the next ten years, I see myself doing what I am doing in a bigger way, massively reaching out to more communities than I am currently doing.

In the next ten years, I want to see that I have built a better woman that can stand raise her head high in society. I want to keep impacting people, opening up opportunities for them to leverage on, especially the younger ones.

My goal is to see that Nigeria moves to a higher pedestal. I want to see Nigerian women progressive and accomplishing great and unimaginable things.

So, in the next ten years, I want to keep doing what I am doing in a bigger way. I want to keep reaching out to more communities than I am now.

What is the one thing you want everyone to know about you?

One thing I want people to know about me is that I am humanity-driven. I am moved by whatever concerns humanity, not just the girl-child. At every point in my life, I try to render help to those in need in any little way I can. The good thing is that God has been helping me. He has been my backbone, provider, director, everything. And I will keep holding on to him. God keeps giving me the strength to manage all my projects, ambitions, leadership positions, everything. The world needs to know that He is God. When you embrace God, things go smoothly. He will always guide and direct your path.

Also, I don’t like sluggish people; I am proactive in carrying out tasks. I am a very focused person, and I expect the same from people around me. Because without focus and consistency, you cannot achieve anything. Without competence, you are useless. I always advise people around me to key into these qualities because these are what makes successful people.

Finally, I want to take this time to thank DO Take Action. You guys are supportive. Because of DO, I have been able to align myself to my passion. They gave me the platform and opened the door for me. I appreciate you. I promise to keep doing my best. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me; I am grateful for the privilege. God bless you.

Thank you for chatting with me, Ngozika Esiobu.

Esiobu Ngozika is a Grassroots Development Champion (GDC) with DO-Take Action passionate about the girl-child. Ngozika wants to empower the girl-child to be more, aspire for more and achieve success. To that end, she Dorothy to undertake Menstrual Cycle Hygiene and Sex Education project under DO. She taught 50 primary and secondary school girls the importance of menstrual hygiene and distributed 100 reusable pads to underprivileged girls who could not afford a pad.

Want to drive sustainable change in your community?

Join Ngozika to become a GDC.