The power of resilience

A resilient person is someone who has the ability to keep moving forward despite adversities

By Félicité Tchibindat
“I also met traditional leaders who took their cane of pilgrims to sensitize communities, parents on the danger of child marriages. This harmful practice robs girls of their childhood and threatens their lives, well-being and futures…” “The Sultan of Gobir ordered all the canton chiefs to ban this practice and not to take girls out of school. Since then, six tentative early or forced marriages were canceled and the girls went back to school. These traditional leaders are transforming society, changing attit
UNICEF Niger/2019/Islamane Abdou

18 March 2019

Félicité Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger, was among the 10 guest speakers of the first-ever TEDx event in Niger, on the theme of “The Power of resilience”

“A resilient person is someone who has the ability to keep moving forward despite adversities”

“I was on the road for a journey of over 2000 km from Zinder to Maradi, where I met children, young people, men and women from the terroirs of Niger. The people I met are for me the “real faces of resilience”

“These ‘ordinary’ people do not need any help or support from us and take their destiny in their own hands despite the challenges they face”

“I had the opportunity to meet a group of women in Maradi, who decided to treat waste, especially plastics that disfigure the city. They want to give them a second life by transforming them into bricks, pavers or slabs of toilets.”

“These women have never heard of climate change, green economy, they intuitively know that the plastics that strew the streets are negatively impacting on communities’ well-being.

“Keeping moving forward despite adversities”

“I also met traditional leaders who took their cane of pilgrims to sensitize communities, parents on the danger of child marriages. This harmful practice robs girls of their childhood and threatens their lives, well-being and futures…”

“The Sultan of Gobir ordered all the canton chiefs to ban this practice and not to take girls out of school. Since then, six tentative early or forced marriages were canceled and the girls went back to school. These traditional leaders are transforming society, changing attitudes, giving the power to women.”  

“Fatima, whose father took her out of school to get her married, was saved from wedlock thanks to these traditional leaders. Her pretending husband proposed a dowry of 50,000 FCFA (approx. US$90), but today she has a job that allows her to earn more than 80,000 FCFA (approx. US$120). She is the one who takes care of her family, and her father came back to apologize because he now understands the importance of girls' education.”

 

“Transformation is taking shape around a narrative that radiates hope and potential for Niger”

“I also met women who are sensitizing their communities on infant and young child feeding practices. We all know that 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive. Malnutrition early in life can cause irreversible damage to children’s brain development and their physical growth, leading to a diminished capacity to learn, poorer performance in school, greater susceptibility to infection and disease and a lifetime of lost earning potential. The 1,000 days offer a unique window of opportunity to build healthier and more prosperous futures.” 

“These women are preparing the future of Niger, a future where the potential of its population is preserved”

“I am proud and honored to have met those children, young people, women and men with hope in their eyes. They are telling another story of Niger. It is not in Niamey that the change is taking place, but in Jiratawa, Miriah, Tera, Guiguimi, Fachi, Bilma… It is in the Nigerien terroirs that transformation is taking shape around a narrative that radiates hope and potential for Niger. We need to celebrate those heroes... because they are our heroes.” 

“Instead of seeing obstacles, you see opportunity, the chance to do things differently”

“If you believe you can, if you know you can, do it. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission, make a plan, find a way. It won’t be easy, you will want to give up? But don’t. When people laugh and call you mad? Ignore them. They don’t know that inside each of you, there is the power to change the world. Have courage, have passion and dream big. People might not believe in you, they just see obstacles, prove them they are wrong… Because instead of seeing obstacles, you see opportunity, the chance to do things differently. You are a generation of young people with the ability to create your own futures and shape your own lives.”

 

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.