Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apply: Pass-it-on Awards supporting Women in Information Technology

The Anita Borg Systers Pass-It-On (PIO) Awards honor Anita Borg’s desire to create a network of technical women helping one another. The cash awards, funded by donations from the Systers Online Community, are intended as means for women established in technological fields to support women seeking their place in the fields of technology. The program is called “Pass-It-On” because it comes with the moral obligation to “pass on” the benefits gained from the award.

Pass-it-on Award applications are open to any woman over 18 years old in or aspiring to be in the fields of computing. Awards are open to women in all countries and range from $500.00 to $1000.00 USD. Applications covering a wide variety of needs and projects are encouraged, such as:

* Small amount to help with studies, job transfers or other transitions in life.
* A broader project that benefits girls and women.
* Projects that seek to inspire more girls and women to go into the computing field.
* Assistance with educational fees and materials.
* Partial funding source for larger scholarship.
* Mentoring and other supportive groups for women in technology or computing.

Learn more about Pass-it-on awards.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Apply: 2010 Voices of Our Future

Apply for the Voices of Our Future training program. Voices of Our Future is an online training program in Web 2.0, citizen journalism and empowerment for emerging grassroots women leaders. Thirty applicants will be selected to become Correspondents (the title we give to program participants) and take part in the full five-month long program. They will gain the tools and knowledge to amplify their voices and speak to the world; overcome barriers and challenges to achieving their dreams through empowerment coaching; and raise awareness about the real issues they, their families and communities face through opportunities for publication on the World Pulse website, magazine and through partner media organizations.

The deadline for this fabulous opportunity is October 13, 2010.

Learn more: www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/21780

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Natural Hair Meet Up: Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk 2

The second edition of Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk organised by Kinky Apothecary took place last week Saturday.

I didn't attend the first one and was quite curious to see what it was all about. Plus, how could I pass up the chance to meet and mingle with other fabulous natural-haired ladies?

I met the lovely Nibi who runs Kinky Apothecary, where you can buy healthy hair products. Nibi has been natural since 1999, which is when I also moved to the nappy side. It was heartening to meet another Nigerian woman who has embraced her natural hair.

The event kicked off proper with a Natural Hair 101 talk by Nibi, in which she gave an intro to the basics of natural hair care, types of products to use, and styling natural hair.

The women in attendance were all at various stages of their natural journeys - from some in transition to longer-term naturals. One interesting observation I made was that most of us did not wear out our own hair, instead opting for some form of hair extensions. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but it showed perhaps how we had yet to fully explore our natural styling options.

I came away from CCC thinking that I need to experiment more with my styling options. I've definitely fallen into a rut with my hair. I also need to stop wearing extensions so often and I definitely need to stop blow drying my hair when I do decide to braid or wear extensions.

I learnt about a new online hair resource: Curly Nikki, which I'm checking out as we speak. I'm excited again about playing with my hair, which I think is one of the benefits of meetings like this.

Nibi said she's thinking of organising a nappy party at the end of the year, where we all wear our hair out. That's definitely something to look forward to.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Water Colour, Pastel & Drawing Exhibition - Omenka Gallery

The Omenka Gallery cordially invites you to a Water Colour, Pastel & Drawing Exhibition 2010.

The exhibition is scheduled as follows:

Date: It opens at 4pm on Saturday, August 14 and runs till Saturday August 21, 2010
Venue: Omenka Gallery, 24, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos
Time: 10:00am to 6:00pm daily

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Book Review - Thank God I'm Natural: : The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair

Thank God I'm Natural book cover

I’m excited to review the book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair by Chris-Tia Donaldson.

Let me start off by saying that I have been natural since 1999 and in this decade, I have sought out as much information as I could that would help me better understand and care for my natural hair. I have scoured nappy hair websites, discussion groups and blogs. I have hunted down books about natural hair. I have eagerly picked up magazines featuring natural celebrities or models. In short, I have been an ardent seeker of information.

And in return, I have been rewarded with an abundance of valuable hair care tips, personal stories of journeying down the nappy road, styling and product advice and photos to feast my eyes on.

With all that, my reaction to learning about a new book about natural hair was “What do I need another book for?” However, as it turned out, there was a lot to learn.

Thank God I’m Natural (TGIN) covers key topics like the anatomy of the hair, hair types and texture, products and styling, which you would expect to find in any hair care book. What sets it apart is the highly personal style of this book. It starts of with Chris-Tia’s story of how she journeyed down the natural hair path. After years of struggling to fit in with what she felt was society’s beauty ideal, she eventually finds freedom and happiness in wearing her hair in its natural texture.

From the introduction, she launches into dispelling misconceptions about natural hair, such as natural hair being only workable for women with ‘good’ hair, natural hair being unprofessional, hard, dry, unmanageable and please …… how men are not attracted to women with natural hair (though the last one has some truth for many Nigerian men).

We get a peek at the historical significance of natural hair starting from the era of the North Atlantic slave trade, where African still celebrated the ‘richness and beauty of their natural hair.’ However, this is a speedy overview of the history of natural hair in the United States and for a more in-depth look, you’d probably want to check out “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” by Ayanna Byrd and Lori Tharps.

I liked the chapters on transitioning, which explains the process in simple steps, suggests hair styles and even discusses dealing with reactions from friends and family (which earlier books on natural hair often didn’t). One of my favourite parts of the book was Caring for Your Hair, which explains the rudiments of hair care from shampooing, conditioning to the role of diet. This is one of the rare hair care books that recommends specific brands for different hair brands. That was useful to me, though of course, it’s important to note that products work differently on people.

Later on, we learn how to mix up some healthy products in our kitchens, which are both cheap and nourishing for our hair.

The glossary of natural hair terms and the list of resources (websites, books) at the end point readers to sources of additional information and thus makes this book a handy guide for naturals.

The highlight of TGIN for me was undoubtedly the Natural Beware chapter, which walks readers through the ingredient list of typical hair products pointing out which to avoid and which to look out for. Knowing what the various chemicals has long been a source of confusion for me and this chapter explained what to avoid and why. For this alone section, I would buy this book.

Overall, I think that this book gives a fairly good introduction to managing natural hair and where the reader requires more information, the book provides a list of additional resources. As a long-time natural, with a solid collection of natural hair books, there’s very little that would move me to buy another book, however I think TGIN is a useful compendium of hair care, product and styling information. I think for the guide on reading and interpreting product labels alone, this book is worth owning.

It's also worth noting that the TGIN movement goes beyond the book, but also aims to build and support a community of naturals through the blog and Twitter account.

To learn more about the book, visit www.thankgodimnatural.com.