My name is Aminatou Saher. I am a 42 years old, self-taught entrepreneur in my country. My company provides marketing materials and both domestic and industrial lighting products. Coming from a large family, with 10 brothers and sisters I always wanted to have a big family myself. I am married and I have 5 children.
I have been interested in helping others since a very young age. Being sensitive to others, I used to make jokes and funny faces just to make sad people laugh. That was my way of making the world beautiful. This is why I decided to engage in social activities. I always believed that there is a way to make things better. Growing up, I noticed the difficulties people face around me, sadness and despair. Especially women who end up believing that their sad experiences are just the way their lives must be. To this, I say no and I want to work towards enlighting people’s lives with hope and the desire to fight for what we deserve.
I started engaging in organizations when I was 22. With a group of friends, we created in 2004, an association named CAMWA (Cameroon Muslim Women Association). The aim of this association is to provide solutions to the problems of Muslim women in our country. at the time, I was responsible for managing the funds of our association. Since 2006, I have been elected as the president at each General Assembly, which now happens every 3 years. Our focus is on education, mentoring and social assistance to the needy. We also work on training women in income-generating and recreative activities, conferences and seminars. With all the activities we organize, the aim is to empower women in general and Muslim women in particular. However, there are some challenges we face on a regular basis. These are mostly coming from the Muslim community itself.
As a Muslim woman, it is not easy to find a place within the associative environment. This comes from the common belief amongst Muslims that the woman’s role is submission. Some topics are not easy to tackle. Topics such as violence against women. Nevertheless, the situation has improved since several religious leaders and administrative authorities are strongly supporting the association. Our method is to put forward religious and legal regulations to support our actions. This allowed our messages to be progressively understood by the authorities and the public.
Because violence against women is such an issue in our country, I immediately adhered to the idea when Colani from Swaziland introduced OBR to me. However, I did not pay much attention to this problem before we talked about it. The focus of our association has been directed towards education and financial independence, which are the main causes of several other issues women face in our country. Hence, we did not have a structured movement such as OBR to raise awareness around this issue our communities are facing regularly. Thus, since 2017 we rise with the world to denounce abusive behaviours against women. We are encouraged by the growing support we are benefiting from the authorities and the communities.