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Lions Roar : May 2007
TEKE FOLIWA, 42. Have, Ghana. Recently,Teke was crowned “Queen Mother” of Have. Her first act was to form sixteen women’s groups for microcredit loans, agriculture production, and education reform. Initially, there was concern within the community that she was gaining power too quickly. “Women are expected to be submissive to the men,” she said. “Traditionally, a queen is just a figurehead; she dresses up for festivals and serves as a role model to teach women to be beautiful, quiet, and demure. After my training with CARE, I realized that I could serve as a different kind of inspiration for the women here.” Eventually, the men became impressed with the progress being made by the women and asked for their own groups. “This has moved us forward toward becoming a true community,” Teke said. “It’s not just the men and the women, but all of us moving forward together in a much more uniform way.” VIDA, 58. Vida used to tend to her okra and pepper garden alone.Today, she finds it is not only more profitable but also much more fun to work in a women’s group. Because of Teke’s leadership, more than 250 women in Have meet each month to discuss the issues and solutions they encounter while trying to feed and educate their children. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 69