Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mrs Juliana Okebalama. I am from Enugu state by birth and Abia state by marriage. I am an accounting graduate from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu. I am married with four children and am a baker, human development consultant and a Mamalette champion. I am a knowledge addict who loves traveling and browsing the internet.
As a child, what did you want to become in future? What do you do now?
As a child, I had wanted to become a lawyer but couldn’t get admission to study law. I ended up studying accounting and worked for several years as an accountant before switching over to a role in the development field. Today I am baker and a Mamalette champion.
Why did you volunteer as a Mamalette Champion?
It has always been my desire to support or empower women. Nothing makes me as happy as when I am sharing knowledge.
What was a striking moment for you during this program?
When one of my enrollees had a miscarriage. I felt really bad because I enrolled her into the program as soon as she confirmed she was pregnant.
Can you share a story of an enrollee whose life you have impacted during this program?
I had an enrolee who was always looking gloomy anytime I visited her. I expressed my concern and so she confided in me that she found it financially difficult to feed her baby. This frustration resulted in several arguments between herself and her husband. Once I taught her the infant nutrition topic in the curriculum, she was able to know the kind of inexpensive meals she could prepare that could provide optimal nutrition for her baby. I also taught her how to make snacks, that she could sell and helped her set up a small stand where she could sell the snacks. She is much happier now and expressed appreciation for all that she gained through this program.
Why is your community important to you?
My community is made up of uneducated men and women. A good majority of the women here are young and of child bearing age. I see many of have children that they can hardly afford to carter for. Some of the children in my community look malnourished and unkempt. The level poverty and ignorance is high, hence the need to educate women on how to take care of themselves and their children.
What in your life made you care about other people around you?
I realize that money isn’t the most important thing people need to survive in life. Knowledge is very vital to human existence. I was privileged to have access to health information and that helped me a lot especially when I was having my children.
Whatis the worth of a pregnant woman’s life to you?
The life of a pregnant woman is worth more than gold. No woman should die during pregnancy.
Describe a time during the program where you felt helpless.
I always felt helpless when I was unable to provide a solution to an identified need of an enrolee.
What message do you have for other women who are looking to make an impact in their communities?
I will advice them to be courageous and never allow people’s attitude to affect their commitment to pursuing a mission they believe in.