Anita KoromaFinalist: Anita Koroma

Country of Origin: Sierra Leone

Anita Koroma is a human rights activist, trainer on gender issues and girl’s rights. She is also a mentor on girl’s empowerment and leadership. In 2007 Anita founded the Guadalupe Old Girls Association-UK (GOGA-SISTERS) and she was instrumental in raising funds for her alma mater. GOGA supported a school library and computer lab and currently provides scholarships for 100 girls from secondary school up to university.

Anita was born in Sierra Leone and raised in a polygamous home with three step-mothers. She experienced domestic abuse (as a child vendor, food poisoned three times, left to sleep in the dark stormy nights and struggled for an education). Today she holds a BA in Professional Studies and BA (Hons) in Social Work and Founder/Country Rep-GCNSL and Director-Girls Empowerment Initiative- GCNW. Anita’s story is featured in the last chapter of Betty Makoni’s book Never Again. She is an advocate for girls in similar circumstances and is passionate about influencing leaders to change policies, attitudes, and laws that are detrimental to the growth and development of the girl child. In 2009 she visited Sierra Leone, the long-term effects of civil war was clearly apparent. Many girls and young women were impoverished; drop-out of school, teenage pregnancy and still dealing with rape and abuse. She decided to expand her work beyond her Alma mater and reach out to girls across the nation. Her passion led her to replicate Betty Makoni GCNW empowerment model. Anita quit her job, founded Girl Child Network Sierra Leone in 2011 in self funds and since then she has been working to empower girls in Sierra Leone. GCNSL empowers girls to stay safe in the home, school and community. The organization rescues girls at risk of sexual and domestic abuse, sends them back to school and supports them with training. It provides scholarships and learning materials for vulnerable girls and has over 3000 girls. GCNSL also mentor girls in leadership, health and confidence building and has established 53 girls’ empowerment clubs nationwide.

GCNSL has set up a girls rescue centre to provide refuge for abused girls and a girl’s resource center in Freetown. It also organizes national girl’s empowerment conferences and has set up the first ever girl’s economic empowerment project. ‘Money from our Hands’ helps beneficiaries use their skills to make saleable products and have been rolled out to five girls clubs. Anita also champions the global campaign for the International day of Menstrual Hygiene Management for (28th May 2014) with Wash United in Germany.  She is a focal leader for the World Children Prize for the rights of the Child based in Sweden and has been organizing child rights programmers nationwide.

MaryFinalist: Mary Ajoke Akangbe

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Mary Ajoke Akangbe is a Specialist Practitioner in Keyhole Surgery at Kings College Hospital and CEO of Glowing Future – A Non-Profit Organization that creates education and awareness on Domestic abuse and Violence, while providing structured support for victims, survivors and their families.

Having trained in Nigeria as a Staff  Nurse Midwife, (Qualified in 1981).  She worked in various government hospitals in Nigeria across Specialties and moved to the UK in 1990. She started getting involved in Transforming Healthcare in Africa, (Since 2009) working with Government Institutions in training Nurses and Allied medical Practitioners to deliver best quality care to patients using resources available to them especially in Prevention and Control of Infection, Maternal and Neonatal Care and Management.

Mary takes Annual Leave every year to go out with a team from the West African College of Surgeons on Charitable Clinical Outreach to different African Countries to operate for free on patients with clinical conditions like Vesico Vaginal Fistula, Fibroids and some needing Hysterectomies. The team also operate on Children and Adults with cancer of various organs, and children with Congenital abnormalities and other pathological conditions, performing about 150 to 250 surgical procedures over a week. These are patients who otherwise would have been unable to have treatment due to affordability. Some of the Host Countries visited for Outreach are Liberia, Togo, Nigeria and she is presently in Tamale in Ghana.

Glowing Future is a Non-profit organization that she established after the publication of Gifts, Roses and Bruises, her book chronicling her experiences in a violent marriage. Glowing Future creates education and awareness on domestic abuse and violence, encourages people from ethnic minority and Africa in particular to rise above cultural beliefs and perception to speak up and get help, which we provide in a structured and supportive environment.

She campaigns through Social media, Television and Radio Interviews and awareness/empowerment Conferences. Teaching and supporting victims, survivors of domestic abuse and violence and their families to embrace self love, faith and hope, the qualities needed to help them create a vision that will inspire them to follow the path to their personal awakening by reaching for the strength within.

As a trained Youth Facilitator (By the West Mercian Women’s Aid), The Brave Youth arm of Glowing Future teaches and supports the Young Adults to form healthy relationships, be able to identify and deal with  abuse in their relationships, thereby breaking the cycle of abuse. Youth are placed in work experience, and they are also mentored for career development, entrepreneurship through the Brave Youth Seminars.

TokunboFinalist: Tokunbo Ifaturoti

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Tokunbo Ifaturoti is a Global Poverty Advocate and Ambassador, lawyer, author and philanthropist. She has written 2 children’s books and 2 children’s activity books. She is currently producing 2 interactive children’s animation DVD’s. Her social enterprise organization ‘The Lighthouse Children’s Workshop Productions’ has benefited children, youth and families mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds in the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa. To reach a wider audience besides those who partook in the activities delivered in the London borough of Newham, Tokunbo used the TV media platform to reach millions of homes in Europe and Africa to provide fun loving ‘edu-tainment’ programmes which fostered education, good citizenship, cross-cultural curriculums.

Tokunbo’s legal background has become the backdrop of her numerous advocacy programmes. As a Global Poverty Advocate and Ambassador she volunteers for “The Global Poverty Project”, a non-for profit organization that raises awareness on issues that contribute to keeping people in extreme poverty and campaigns for the reduction of worldwide poverty by 2030. She tirelessly advocates to change policies and practices linked to the lack of basic universal primary education worldwide, which affects the development of children, youth and families.  Most importantly Tokunbo notes “without education it is impossible to build sustained nations headed by visionaries… for visionaries are birthed as children before they become empowered as leaders”. As a result, she strives relentlessly to enable the voices of the voiceless heard in corridors of power to make a sustainable change in the lives of many children, youth and their families.

Tokunbo Ifaturoti’s philanthropy work is evident in gifts such as books and toys she gives to a children’s center and orphanage in Lagos, Nigeria. Most recently, after working at United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, UK, Tokunbo volunteered her time, services and private financial resources in Botswana and South Africa. Her work included consulting with an autistic charity organization on sustainable fundraising initiatives that will benefit autistic children in Botswana. In addition, her work with over 700 children in 6 Townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa brought her into contact with some children and youth from deprived backgrounds suffering with HIV/AIDS and living in poverty. Many of the families in these Townships were living on less that $1.25 a day.

Nevertheless, Tokunbo’s engagement with them created an awareness and social consciousness, which further expands her quest to help from a global platform, as every child had great potential on the inside of them to be great leaders of tomorrow at community, national and international levels. As a result, for the past 9 years, her financial contribution, time, work and support continuously puts a smile on the faces of so many children and youth and families.

As a wife and mother and global citizen, Tokunbo Ifaturoti’s passion, is to see children and youth empowered as they dare to dream big.

Find out more about Lighthouse Children HERE

FatimaFinalist: Fatima Khouchoua

Country of Origin: Morocco

Fatima Khouchoua is the founder of Giving Chances.  She has been actively involved in charitable work for many years. Her journey into philanthropy started years ago back home where she would voluntarily teach adults to read and write in a programme geared to fight illiteracy. She is passionate about education and working with children.

In the last ten years she has been visiting schools in the rural areas of Morocco. These schools have little or nothing in the way of resources, such as books, stationery and other items which we take for granted. She then decided to set up her own organisation to further help these schools hence Giving Chances.

The purpose of Giving Chances is to introduce and add visual aids to teaching styles that are already in place.  In most developing countries teaching focuses mostly on auditory learning styles to the detriment of visual and kinaesthetic styles. Giving Chances tries to restore the balance between those three learning styles, thereby creating a more stimulating environment for students. To do this she personally take care in developing and providing literacy and numeracy resources in the form of letters, words or symbols to help the children improve their reading. As she strongly believes that reading lead the road to knowledge she has started a project to equip libraries in the schools she visits in order to improvement the children’s access to a good variety of reading materials.

Up to date, thirteen schools in different regions of Morocco have benefited from Giving Chances. More than 2,000 children have been given the chance to experience a week of creativity and access to books not usually part of their curriculum.

Her work with Giving Chances had such a huge effect on the lives of so many people that Al-Jazeera Station and Moroccan National Television covered the group’s visits of April 2010.

Find out more about Giving Chances HERE

ElizabethFinalist: Pastor Elizabeth Kalonga

Country of Origin: Zimbabwe

Pastor Elizabeth Kalonga was sent to Malawi in her early teens by her parents who wanted to keep her safe away from the war in Zimbabwe at the time. She was sent to live with a grandmother whom she had never met. Thereafter she was sent to live with an uncle who abused her repeatedly. After being exposed to so much so early, she befriended a young boy at her school with whom she would fell in love.

When she became pregnant at age 13, the family of the boy rejected her and her uncle ejected her from his house. While living on the streets a doctor took her in. Although he initially abused her, he would later help to locate her parents in Zimbabwe. When she was eventually reunited with her mother, she couldn’t even recognise her.

Later unhappily married with two children, she would leave the marriage to go in search of her first love. They reunited, got married and now are together.

As a result of her suffering in Malawi Pastor Elizabeth is one of the few women of faith who have stood up to use her very personal past experiences to help other women. She has built a house of memory which she named after her daughter in memory of her story.

For the past six years Pastor Kalonga has been working very hard to save the lives of women and girls who are abandoned and rejected during pregnancy and for some other reasons. She has worked hard to build a shelter for the women so as to have them protected from being harmed when they are homeless and on the streets.

She has ministered to thousands of women in Malawi, the UK and world over. The church is ashamed to have Pastors with such past stories but these stories are very real and therefore Pastor Elizabeth is in a position where she really can move others and be a beacon of hope for the many teenagers, young women especially, who lose their way and are struggling to get back on track.

MargaretFinalist: Margaret Nyuydzewira

Country of Origin: Cameroon

Margaret Nyuydzewira is an International Gender, Reproductive Health and Project Management consultant, with broad specialisation in women’s health and development.

Margaret has Over 19 years of experience working with marginalized and vulnerable women in a wide variety of fields including sexual/reproductive health, economic empowerment and prevention of gender based violence.

As the Chair/Founder of CAME Women and Girls Development Organisation which is an African diaspora women’s organisation, she is a leading figure in the global campaign against Breast Ironing, and has mobilised material and financial resources to advance work in health, protecting rights and promoting dignity of African women and girls both in the UK and in Cameroon.

Find out more about CAWGIDO HERE

FolayemiFinalist: Folayemi Jones-Laguda

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Folayemi Jones – Laguda is the founder of the Sickle Cell Champions organisation. This organisation was born out of a collective understanding that there is still, even in these modern times a distinct lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of what sickle cell is.

She has been working tirelessly in the organisation to promote the awareness of sickle anaemia in the community through education, campaign, walks, talks and providing up to date information which is beneficial to the health and well being of those with sickle cell.

She is also the CEO of Heavenly, an event management company that takes the stress out of planning any social event.

Find out more about Sickle Cell Champions HERE

BekiFinalist: Bekilizwe Ruth Mtimkulu-Jiya

Country of origin: Zimbabwe

Bekilizwe Ruth Mtimkulu-Jiya established Poi’’nte Confidence Foundation Trust International in August 2012. The inspirations came after visiting her hometown Bulawayo, Zimbabwe when she discovered that young girls were dropping out of school, either because there were pregnant, have health issues, could not afford the school fees or there were orphaned.

Beki had her professional qualification, Diploma in Nursing at age 33, and she is currently studying for her Degree in Public Health and Health Promotion at University of East London. She is now a resident in the UK. This has motivated her to empower young women in her community to never give up on their search to reach their full potential.

She believes that every human being deserves a second chance and that given the opportunity they can become more responsible and productive citizens. The major challenge that exists with most young people is structuring the idea, and having a positive attitude in adverse socio-economic conditions.

Poi’’nte Confidence Foundation Trust International supports and empowers young women in Africa, who left school at an early age, due to pregnancy,lack of funding or health issues. The organisation also raises awareness amongst young women in relation to health and wellbeing in East London.

Find out more about Poi’’nte Confidence Foundation Trust International HERE

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