Mrs Ifeoma Loretta Nwachi (Lolo) is a seamstress with a difference. Coming from a very humble background, Lolo became a crusader in the fight for the girl child education. In this discussion with ADA NWANAGUM, she stresses the need for the girl child education and encouragement as it is one of the prerequisites for a sustainable nation. Excerpts.
I am Mrs. Ifeoma Loretta Nwachi, a native of Nnobi town in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. l am happily married to my lovely husband, Mr. Donatus Nwachi, from Ichida Town in Anaocha Local Government of Anambra State. We have four lovely children. l lived part of my life in the Northern part of Nigeria where I started my primary education at Sukugi LEA Primary School, Zaria and finished at Community Primary School, Awuda, Nnobi, Anambra State. I was not opportune to go to a secondary school but I was enrolled into an evening class after which I sat for GCE and passed with good grades.
For my tertiary education, l attended Enugu State University of Science and Technology where l studied Political Science. By the Grace of God Almighty, I am a happy owner of a fashion designing outfit where we work very hard to satisfy our customers and I have about 12 persons working with me both as apprentices and workers under my payroll.
Growing up days
My growing up was not an easy journey at all because my parents were not financially buoyant. Things were very hard for my parents, Mr Anataogu Ikeako and Mrs Felicia Ikeako but they were very dedicated and tried their best to bring us up in a Godly way. My parents were petty traders who tried to give their children the very best they could afford and we are seven in number. In fact, my childhood journey was not easy as I had to go and live with a relative in far away Northern Nigeria. But it was an experience that equipped me to be the woman I am today.
No, I never really imagined being who I am today but I know that I worked so hard to be somebody in life because all my life l have always dreamt to be a woman of repute who will also love to help others become better persons in life and that all these can be achieved through education. That was why I fought hard to get education and I am living my dream today.
Fears and challenges
My fears have always been financial constraints. Apart from that, I have no other fear because I work very hard to achieve my dreams. Also, my background/upbringing equipped me to face different kinds of fears and challenges.
Overcoming fear of financial constraint
I think I overcame that by praying to the Holy Spirit, my good friend and comforter and by working very hard too because nobody helps you except yourself and your God.
Choice of career
Well, circumstances made me to find myself being a seamstress. But I am really loving it. I have always loved education. Education is the key, the light, and should be the second husband to any reasonable woman. Being educated is not only when you get to a university education, we learn everywhere and everyday and I love learning.
Yes, very fulfilling. I am so glad I took this path, believe me.
Women are already dominating this career. But, we still need to be empowered for greater Nigeria because to educate or empower a woman is to educate or empower a nation for greater sustainability of all sectors.
Impact on career/ industry
Woo… great impact. As I said before, I have about 12 persons working with me now and I am trying my best to impart the knowledge I have about fashioning and designing of fabrics to them and they in turn will educate other people on same, when they build their own outfits.
Wife, mother and a career woman
It has never been an easy experience but with determination you will get success. l encourage every woman to go to school and be educated because knowledge is power and it will help them combine these three careers (mother, wife and career woman) together.
Is there anything like greatest challenge? I see no challenge as the greatest or the lowest because they all come with their different prices. But, you see, combining my education, career and motherhood simultaneously is a big challenge of its own. At times, when l look at my achievements, l marvel, and I always thank God for giving me an understanding partner and for being my backbone because if not God, who else, (smiling)?
Just as I cannot state my greatest challenges, I still cannot say my greatest achievements. Every achievement has its own price and as those achievements come, l keep thanking God for helping me through the prices I pay for them.
Role model/source of inspiration
I have so many of them but the most important is my mother, Mrs. Felicia Ikeako. She is a woman of great virtues. Although poor, she possesses what most rich women would crave for and I love her for being my mother. I also love Late Prof. Dora Akunyili. Though I never met her physically but I really love her story and I pray God continues to keep her soul. I love every woman out there who is working hard to achieve her dreams in a very legitimate way because surviving in a country like ours is never an easy task.
Prejudice against girl child
No, I didn’t and I won’t experience it and I say to every woman don’t allow the societal distractions/relegations to drag you down. l don’t give chances to such prejudice. l have focus, l know what l want, and l go for it. From all my expressions, you can see my emphases. They are, determination, prayer and hard work because nothing good comes easy.
Yes, I have been sexually harassed. You see, sexual harassment is like a virus in our society today and it keeps eating deep into every system and sector. But, if you are the lazy type who always depends on people’s assistance, you will surely fall prey to such menace. Sexual harassment is a societal wound that will take a very long time to heal or wipe out.
Curbing sexual harassment /intimidation
Just as I said earlier, sexual harassment/intimidation is a social misnomer. If we want to curb it, we should try to educate our girls and stop exposing them to some dangers of life. Let them know more about sex education. Some women keep grown up house helps of opposite sex and some allow their daughters to visit their so-called relatives, assuming it doesn’t matter. We should also teach the girl child that even if they fall victim of such act, they should be courageous to speak up and don’t lose hope because it is not the end of life. If we want a sustainable country, educate the girl child because to educate a woman is to educate a nation.
Ooh… I will love to be remembered for my good deeds; for every soul I have helped in one way or another; for trying to impart what I know to others who wished to know and which has helped them become good persons in life.
Advice to younger generation of women
Just as l said before, knowledge is power. Every girl child should be determined to go to school and acquire at least formal education. It can be achieved either now or later. I will love to advise them not to misuse any opportunity they encounter in life. They should believe in themselves and in what they think they can do. Always believe you can make it and always pray to God for help. He cannot fail you.