Yanira Tini, a Sao Tomean woman, mother, entrepreneur and activist for women rights. She is founder of the initiative "Wake up Africa", launched in 2016.
For many of you who are not familiar, Sao Tome and Principe is a small African island country in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, situated in the gulf of Guinea, 300 km west of Gabon and Angola.
Only 10 years ago the first pregnancy of young women and girls in Sao Tome was often at the age of 14, to be moved at a bit higher age today. Yet, many under aged girls get pregnant while they are still in high school (15-18).
As Yanira says, in this small country the culture as well as the system are man dominated with mostly men decision making organs. As they commonly say it is "Machist country" where there is still large percent of domestic violence against women and women earn lot less than men. Women rarely have a high position in the society which discourage many girls to have ambitions and it obviously leads to their low self- esteem.
Yanira believes that women are beautiful, strong and equally capable as men. She is a role model and change maker in her community. Even though she grew up in a well established family with high reputation, she still had to face the pressure for having a child before finishing university. She had her baby at the age of 28 after finishing her law studies, which she started in Portugal and completed in Sao Tome.
She finds African culture and folklore very inspiring so she uses it in daily production of handmade organic products, apparel, earrings and accessories. She holds campaigns and open discussion on the sexism subject among African women, trying to raise the level of consciousness and higher self - respect in her community.
As a former basketball and handball player for the ST National team, she believes that playing sport in her early youth helped her to develop leadership, organization and communication skills that she finds very useful today. " I believe that women are beautiful, strong and equally capable as men. They need to be aware of that and use all of their skills to become financially independent. Practicing sports is good for the body and soul. I played sports for many years and I believe this helped in the construction of the person I am today."
Yanira is a co-owner of the snack - bar "A Patroa", where she has a showroom of her products and sometimes hosts themed events and gatherings. By creative and hard work she is becoming an equal partner and contributor in her relationship, again showing that women must be financially independent in order to have their equal rights in the community.