Compiled by Human Rights lawyer, Kate Okoli, ‘In Silence and Dignity: The Single Mother Story ́ turns the spotlight on a subject often brushed under the rug – the welfare, struggles and determination of the single mother. Through stories that transcend any single culture, Okoli raises vital awareness for those who endure abuse and will do anything to survive to ensure the safety of their children. I had a chance to interview her to learn more.
1) What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration for "In silence and dignity" came from years of working as a lawyer which became a source of inspiration for my writing. After work everyday , I spend a whole lot of time reminiscing , praying and meditating on the challenges that women face daily in their daily lives especially in their quest to be in a fulfilling and happy relationship - their quest to love and be loved!
The passion, empathy and desire to assist these women find total happiness catapulted me into seeking inspiration for writing. As an avid reader, I have an inner writer in me which sometimes feels so innate and natural to me as a writer to put my thoughts in writing.
I also find inspiration in so many places of interest , listening to people talk about themselves, their struggles, their desires to be in a healthy and loving relationship ; all of these gets my imagination working as I try to proffer solution through writing .
What is more fulfilling about my writing is the fact that I am grateful for the opportunity of being able to put a footprint in the tides of time through my ability to put my thoughts in writing knowing that if I clearly communicate some aspects of life and relationship by informing or entertaining my readers, I have the opportunity to inspire them all . I also like to know that when I am no more,my writings and ideas will still be sitting gathering vintage dust on the shelf of someone 's bookcase . Knowing this is quite comforting and reassuring.
2) What are some struggles single mothers face that are overlooked?
b) The financial strain faced by these single mothers who most times have to contend with all the financial burden of raising their kids alone .
The most common life events that lead to single parenthood could be death, divorce or domestic violence. All of these upset financial balance and leaves one adult shouldering a load that is typically carried by two.
c) the fact that single mums are victims of circumstance either through death, divorce or domestic violence . They are not given a second chance to excel within their community by finding true love again.sometimes people take undue advantage of them .
d) social isolation due to the humongous responsibilities. They are with their kids 24/7 without any support. No more social life of their own. Despite all of these, they are not affirmed or encouraged.
3) How can people support single mothers?
A) government should put policies in place that will help to offset the financial imbalance suffered by single mothers.
B) children from single parent family should be given scholarships to attend exclusive schools that will make them rise above crimes and other societal disadvantages suffered due to financial constraints within the family setting.
C) support network within the community for free counselling, child care, free access to legal services especially for victims of domestic violence.
D) support network should be made available for these women to help their emotional balance and stability to be able to raise their children successfully.
F) family members and friends should once in a while offer to give their support by babysitting, engaging in school runs, becoming trusted parenting mentors who could attend parents evening with these children to assist these women especially for children whose fathers have moved on who need a father figure in their lives.
D) encouraging good healthy friendships . Physical, emotional and spiritual support should be offered to this women by churches , small groups etc.