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Poole Teenager Crowned First Daughter Aims to Inspire Girls

A teenager who was crowned First Daughter of the Igbo community at a yam festival has said she wants to inspire girls to engage with the community.

Stephanie Ogbuji, 16, was appointed at the New Yam Festival in Poole, Dorset in 2022.

She is the first to hold the honour in the UK, and attended this year’s festival at the weekend.

The festival is an annual event celebrated by the Igbo tribe of Nigeria and their diaspora.

It celebrates the beginning of the harvest and eating of new yam.

Stephanie said: “The first daughter holds the highest responsibility in the family in Nigeria.”

As part of the 2022 festival, contestants for the First Daughter crown had to show a talent, and make a speech about what they could bring to the community.

Organisers hope the competition will become an ongoing tradition, with a new First Daughter appointed at the festival every two years.

Speaking at this year’s event Stephanie said: “It was a programme that was started to bring confidence to young women in our community.

“The title is the first in the UK – we are hoping we can inspire other communities around England to create such a competition so we can have a history of first daughters in the community.”

As part of her title, Stephanie received £300 which she is saving for university where she hopes to study medicine.

She said: “I didn’t have an idea of what it means to be really united in the community. It felt amazing to be noticed and recognised by everyone.”

Over the past year, Stephanie has been giving speeches at local events about female empowerment, and in her second year as First Daughter she is raising money to sponsor a girl to go to theatre school for six months.

“So far we have raised £300,” she added.

The next First Daughter competition is due to take place at the New Yam Festival in August 2024.

Source : BBC