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Someone once said food is our common ground, and a universal experience. The fuel that helps us drive through life with ease. Healthy eating is one of the biggest food advocacy in the world, the food we eat has an immense effect on her physical and emotional wellbeing.

Orighoye Dore “Chef Nylah” is a proud food manufacturer, and an advocate of healthy living.  She is the CEO of Nylah’s food and manufacturing company, a business venture that focuses on sustainable foods,  and helps to reduce post-harvest loss. Nylah’s products incorporate fruits and vegetables in their production process. Some of which are artisanal breads, granolas, and lemonades.

The lemonades are made from fresh juices and infused with lemongrass. Which are fantastic immune boosters. The granolas are nut allergy friendly and rich in fiber, low cholesterol and minerals and nutrients. Chef Nylah believes that food is not just about eating but an experience that should be savored passionately. Nylah’s products can be found in all ShopRite stores nationwide and other retail stores in Lagos and Abuja.

Chef Nylah is a trained chef from the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Washington in Rosslyn, Virginia. With a degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. She is a retired United States Air force veteran where she served as a Nuclear weapon security specialist and an EDC Alumni.

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence

I was one of those kids that played with cooking growing up. I would make little fires and cook junk growing up. In an interesting way, my childhood did prepare me for what I do now.

Inspiration behind Nylah’s Food and Beverage

I was tired of seeing the number of foods that we lose in the Nigerian market. We lose about $750 billion dollars yearly to post harvest loss. I started asking myself how I could help. What unique products could we at Nylah’s create to do our bit in helping to reduce that number, and how can we help reduce the unemployment rate most especially as it affects women. That was how Nylah’s Lemonades were born. We use fresh juices and infuse them with lemon grass.

The Journey so far

It has been an interesting and bumpy ride to say the least. I have chosen to take every experience good or bad as a lesson in what to continue to do or not to do.

Having my product sold  at Shoprite

I would honestly say persistence. I chased it for almost a year as I tried to grow my reach with other companies. Consistency also contributed to it.

Why I ventured into Granola production

 I always look for the gaps in our industry and try to bridge it. Using natural flavorings in some of our variants as well as focusing on a less served market in the granola industry, we positioned ourselves to serve that market.

Challenges of my work

Access to funds to allow us to scale, Proper staffing sometimes is also a major problem, not to mention the economy and its impact on businesses.

3 women who inspire me to be better and why

Jola Ladipo – Never met anyone as selfless as she is. She forces me to reflect and ask myself daily what I can do better as a person and for others.

J.K Rowling – We share similar stories and I know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a myth.

My last is to every woman out there who when she gets up, the devil shivers.

Key nuggets on how to become a successful food manufacturer

Keep practicing your craft.

Learn the numbers as they govern your business. This cannot be stressed enough.

Expand your network.

Never stop learning and evolving.

 Being a Woman of Rubies

I inspire and lift other women up. I have created a channel of employment for other women and set them up on the right path.

Gaining startup capital  for a new business can be extremely challenging. Women are often cut out of lucrative venture capitalist funding, leaving them with few options to accumulate the funds they need to launch their new venture. HerVest is here to change the narrative, as it is set to to help  women gain independence with a platform to help fund their dream ventures.

HerVest is a female-focused financial inclusion tech platform that enables women to participate in key financial services such as savings, investment and credit particularly credit for Small Holder Women Farmers. Launched in August 2020,  with about 2000 women currently using HerVest on both demand and supply sides.

According to Solape Akinpelu, founder  and CEO of  HerVest; “We launched the initiative to improve women’s lives by giving them greater access to and use of financial services and technology , our mission is to reduce gender based abuse and violence while strengthening an overlooked demography to feed Africa and the world’.

To know more about HerVest, kindly visit website at www.hervest.ng , the mobile app is available on Android and iOS at www.hervestng.app.link respectively

 

There are many emerging female leaders in Nigeria, young women who are breaking boundaries, against all odd, to make their voices count. Ikanna Okim is one of them. A phenomenal woman, she believes she is equipped with everything needed to make a difference in the world. Ikanna is the movement leader of the No-FGM campaign against female genital mutilation in Akwa Ibom State communities where the practice is rampant. A student leader, she is currently the President of the LAWSAN Bar Association, University of Uyo Chapter. Teennation Country Lead for Nigeria and Head of Legals, Ikanna is a prolific writer and has authored five books, which have reached over 1,400 young people in Nigeria. As a result of her commitment to correcting social ills, she was conferred the honour of a Fellow of the African Young Leadership Fellowship in 2018 and in 2020, she made it to the nominee list of Community servants in Akwa Ibom State. She also acquired certifications from different institutions around the world, including University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, Negotiation studies certificates from University of California, Irvine Extension, and Yale University. A child of God and a preacher of the gospel of Jesus, her life principles are integrity, responsibility, and transparency. She shares her inspiring journey in this interview.

Growing Up

I tell people that if everyone was raised in my home, they may never get to see the sad realities of gender inequality existent in the world today. I was brought up in an African home of average social class. My dad is an ace journalist and my mum is a civil servant. We live in Lagos, Nigeria. I have a sister and a brother and my parents never made us feel like we were different – I mean the girls from the boy. I grew up with confidence, more confidence than my peers in school and church. My dad, especially, made me know that I could be anything at all that I wanted to be. My brother could wash plates and I would be trying to fix a bulb. No gender roles. I always came out first right from nursery school as much as I can remember. I never was intimidated by the boys in my class. I could argue with my dad on an issue. I was allowed to have a different opinion.
This is to say that my upbringing gave me zero preparation for the realities outside. Imagine the shock I had to see that the world thinks I’m a second-class human because I am a woman. I was shocked. I once got into a public bus when I went to Uyo for my tertiary education and I came down for a man to enter inside because my bustop was close by – just the next actually. The man became furious. He made a statement I can never forget. When people were begging him to just enter so we could move. He said “God forbid that I would sit inside for a woman, a small girl for that matter”. Wow. You can imagine. I have had many more sad experiences like that.

I can however say that my upbringing helped me develop an unshakeable confidence in myself and I gladly pass it on to other women who did not have the opportunity to grow up with the confidence I grew up with. This makes me feel like a woman on a mission. Other women have to come out of their shells and show the world the stuff they’re made of.

Inspiration behind NO-FGM campaign

I generally started having detestation for violence against girls from 2016 when I founded Fingerprints Group to engage my peers and help them build capacity to fight social issues. We evolved into doing projects concerning the girl child in secondary schools. We went from teaching girls confidence to teaching them how to defend themselves against rape through our #SheDefence series in 3 states in Nigeria. While interacting with these girls, I met girls who were circumcised in cities like Lagos! I could not sleep! The whole genitalia area off! In this time and age! Ha.

I felt heartbroken. Those conversations drove me to make more inquiries and to my shock, people in Uyo local government of Akwa Ibom state, where I am from and where I school, still mutilate their girls. I also discovered that it is still being practised in Oron, Uruan and Itu local governments of the same state in Nigeria.

It is true that the rate of female genital mutilation has reduced in Africa as compared to the situation in ancient times but that is not enough. That it is still being practised, despite laws prohibiting it, is a problem.
I needed people to first come to the realisation that this practice of female circumcision is still going on. By my research, it is prevalent among illiterates in Nigeria and the illiterate population in Nigeria is about 40%. So, you can imagine what these people do to their daughters.
I saw a need to get words out there to those people who do not read or write English, in the languages they understand that Female Genital Mutilation is evil.
Yes, we have many laws which prohibit female circumcision but how can one implement the laws? It is impossible to go round from house to house to tell girls “open your legs, let’s see whether you have been mutilated”. If you’re waiting for the victims to report, that’s far from possible because they don’t even realise that they’re victims in the first place. The custodians of a culture cannot report it. Also, the effect of the laws would only punish offenders and do little to prevent it. I saw that the solution to this problem is a mindset shift. I needed to help people think and see for themselves that they were killing their daughters.

That’s how I formed a team and took to the streets and market places to preach the No-FGM gospel. I also wrote and published a prose fiction to keep driving this conversation around the world and make people know that girls in Nigeria are still being mutilated. This is how I get people to join their voices with mine to save the girl-child.

Impact of My Work In the  Communities I Serve 

My work against Female Genital Mutilation has gone beyond what I saw, even though this is a long-term project. Changing people’s mindset is not drastic. It takes time, especially if they feel they can get away with whatever they do with their own families. Afterall, it’s their daughter, not yours.

Speaking of impact, let me begin from the 5-hour street/market campaign we did to begin the campaign in 2019. We printed fliers in pictures, Ibibio language, English language, pidgin English and every language an average person in Uyo can understand. We also made use of public address systems and aids.

The first thing which made me realise that our work counted was when a woman in the market told me that she was going to circumcise her daughter the following day but she would not because she had changed her mind because of the campaign. She didn’t know that there were dangers to FGM. I shed tears after she said so. One girl was saved. From that day, we had the fire to go on. We have had some positive reponses too. Many people told us that they never knew that FGM had long term effects so they promised never to mutilate their children (again).

I published Black Syrma and kept conversations going on online. I recently republished Black Syrma to push it to a wider audience. When it comes to awareness work, you cannot really match numbers to impact because not everyone provides feedback on what your campaign did to change their minds but that one woman at the market on the first day and the other feedbacks we had proved to me that something is changing in people’s minds.

I recently saw a United Nations report of the elders of a village in Ebonyi state renouncing the practice of female genital mutilation. That’s a stride. Ebonyi state has always had anti-FGM laws but that renouncement by the elders had much weight. That’s the voice of the people saying “No more FGM”.
We are working towards having that in Akwa Ibom. People threatened to pour water on us to send us away for preaching No FGM but things like that don’t deter us. They make us stronger.

Being The President Of A Bar Association In My University, And Managing Everything I Do

I have always been multitasker. At a point, I thought it was a problem because it was difficult to face one thing and do it. When I was younger, when people said they wanted to be a this or that, I couldn’t say it because I had about 10 things in mind that I wanted to be and could be. I recently learnt that it’s not a defect. It’s a super power and super powers should be managed. I cut down on some things according to priority so anything I do now is because I consider it highly important. So, I don’t spread myself too thin but I do everything that I manage to do and do them excellently too.

By God’s grace and without being immodest, I can say that I am an excellent student. I have won 4 major academic excellence awards while in school, even with all the non-academic work that I do.

Something that has helped me which I cannot fail to mention is my journalling life. I am in love with my journals. I have about 3 journals now which I run at the same time. They serve different purposes. In my journals, I write my goals, tick the ones I’ve achieved; I write my fears and my challenges; I write my daily to-do lists. This makes me the boss of my time and life. When I complained to a friend about losing control of my time and I said I don’t have my time any more, he said, “24 hours are enough, Ikanna. Time is a gift from God. You don’t squander gifts”. That has stayed with me. That was how I developed my journal culture. I am in charge of my time. Even my friends know that they cannot barge into my schedules and distort my day’s plans. I live a highly organised life.

Challenges of my work

I do a lot of work – leading LAWSAN Bar, Teenagers at Teennation, No-FGM campaign, Authoring, Mentorship, School work, helping women and girls and so on; but I would like to talk about my work with girls. This is because my major challenge falls in here.

Working to help and protect girls involves a lot of emotions. By research, reaching out or following up a case, I get to interact with victims of abuse. Their stories cut through my heart. Imagine carrying the baggages of many helpless girls at a time. It could hurt and be so destabilizing. Sometimes, I just cry to relieve myself of some hurt. I also pray a lot. That has helped me. I’m a very spiritual person. I am born again in Christ. So I pray and receive the assurances that all will be well and that God has made me a solution provider.

My  view of the legal system in Nigeria

We have a long way to go. I acknowledge how far we have come and the improvements made. I celebrate laws like the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act and other ground-breaking laws which I have come to find useful in the course of my work.

However, the archaic nature of some procedures is worrisome. We need to be able to allow lawyers to start filing cases online from the lowest courts to the highest. My senior friends in other countries tell me how easy this is over there. There is a pandemic. This is enough reason to start putting those structures in place. Also, laws like the Evidence Act should be amended to reflect our present day digital realities.

Furthermore, many times in Nigeria, we have experienced sheer neglect of our laws. Why do we have laws if they would not be kept? We were taught that law is blind and so does not look at the person or his social class. But this is not true of the justice system in Nigeria today.

There’s a lot to complain about in the Nigerian legal system but I believe that there will be a change and the change has started.

3 Women Who Inspire Me To Be Better and Why

My three super women remain the same. I talk about them everywhere:

Dr. Utibe Alex-okoro. A medic and my big sister. She’s my only sister actually. I love the way she sets standards for me without speaking. She shows me how to live by doing it. My sister is not one to talk on and on about being strong. What she does is to be strong. I watch and learn.

Mmanti Umoh. I met her when I could not find my way around my long term goals. She came in and helped me through and has been my friend since then. Her life is a great example of walking on hot water to get to wherever you want to go. She inspires me to never give up.

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsi Co. I started following her last year and I’ve been a great follower since then. She represents the reality of women at the work place and succeeding nonetheless. I see her as the ideal woman in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. That’s a book that changed my mind about many things. I want to meet Indra one day.

Being a  Woman of Rubies

I am an outstanding woman. I can go on and on about what I have and what I have achieved but what makes me a woman of rubies is not all of that. It is the fact that there is no other person like me in this world. I am unique, with all my weaknesses too. My weaknesses are beautiful.

The beauty of life is the power humanity wields , It helps us live intentionally, and hold every human in good light, This is what Sally Suleiman represent as  an extraordinary Humanitarian ,she lends her voice to the voiceless, and disadvantaged persons in the society on and offline.

The   notable  Humanitarian, Strategist, Writer and a Media Personality is also the  founder of The Isolycia Foundation – a Non Governmental organization that focuses on Education for underprivileged children.

She has impacted and put smiles in the lives of many children through her educational outreach.

Sally Suleiman is an Alumna of Middlesex University where she studied International Business and she’s part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Sally through her social media platforms has become an household name, using her voice and resources where it matters.

Sally shares her inspiring journey, and how her mom’s death changed her perception of life in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere

Childhood Influence

I would say Yes, because I was such a generous and empathetic child. I loved to do things for people, I loved to help the poor. I started helping when I was in primary school, I would give the less privileged my old school items and even share my lunch and lunch money with the underprivileged. So I had that path right from my childhood.

My childhood wasn’t the best. I lost my Mum when I was 5years old. This made me grow up very fast and opened me up to challenges that a 5years old shouldn’t be going through. My Mum was a great woman, she was a teacher, she was my best friend, she was my everything, that was a very painful experience for me and my siblings.

Things changed when my wonderful stepmom came into the home, I am who I am today because of this woman, she made sure that I grew up in the way of the Lord, she taught me almost everything that I know today. I owe my success to her.

Inspiration behind Isolycia Foundation

The Isolycia Foundation was inspired by my love for education especially at the elementary level. I believe that every child should be in school, peculiarly at that tender age. So the Isolycia foundation focuses on education for children in rural areas. We also sensitize parents on the need to send their children to school. I formed the name from my late mum’s name and my step mum’s name.

The Journey so far

It’s been humbling so far. Every challenge I face teaches me a lesson, so I’m grateful.

Supporting the less privileged and using my platform for social good

I love the fact that I wake up fulfilled doing what I love to do. I love the fact that I’m able to touch lives and inspire people. I get messages everyday from people saying how much I inspire and motivate them, this is enough impact for me knowing that I am touching the world one day at a time.

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The Impact of being a  YALI fellow

It has helped through learning by taking their courses. I’m a professional at what I do because of the available resources YALI provided.

Coordinating a  Giveaway platform online

Giveaway platform just like the name implies, is a platform where I give out things to people, this is part of my Social responsibility for being a media personality. I also help promote small businesses through this platform, I open them up to their potential clients.

Positive  and negative side of being a Social Media Influencer

The positive side is impacting lives and making money (LOL), the negative side is sometimes you get misunderstood and you get attacked. You experience bullying, hate and all sorts. But I have learnt to ignore and focus on the positives and those who love me.

Challenges of my work

It could be tasking financially because I do not depend on anyone, I do everything from my pocket. Also managing my time can be challenging. I have so much to do but little time.

3 women who inspire me to be better 

HE Toyin Saraki

HE Bisi Fayemi

And the most recent Vice President of America, Kamala Harris.

These women inspire me in different ways. Their passion, their success, the change they bring in their various fields inspires me.

Nuggets on the power of community service

  • Community service connects you to others. It allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place.
  • Community service increases your social and relationship skills
  • Community service also increases your self-confidence. It provides a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.

I’m going to leave a quote by Denzel Washington – “At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Being a Woman of Rubies

I’m a woman of rubies because I stay positive, i inspire and impact lives.

 

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. She has written for the New York Times and has two books forthcoming with Penguin Random House.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began writing at only a few years of age. Now her words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others.

Amanda has performed multiple commissioned poems for CBS This Morning and she has spoken at events and venues across the country, including the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. She has received a Genius Grant from OZY Media, as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards, and the Webby Awards. She has written for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and penned the manifesto for Nike’s 2020 Black History Month campaign.

She is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and is the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States. In 2017 UrbanWord and the Library of Congress named her the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States.

On Wednesday, Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, performing an original poem titled “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. She continues a tradition that has included such celebrated poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

In the roughly five-minute reading of her poem, Gorman called for healing and unity, alluding to the pro-Trump rally two weeks ago that turned into a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it / Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy / And this effort very nearly succeeded / But while democracy can be periodically delayed / It can never be permanently defeated,” she read.

She celebrated the beauty of the country’s diversity and called on Americans to rise to the occasion and leave their country better than they found it.

“We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother / Can dream of becoming president, only to be reciting for one,” she said.

Following the controversy that has surrounded Ebonylife Films, the producers of popular Netflix film “Òlòtūré”, journalist Tobore Ovuorie has made a statement addressing the issue.

It all began after the investigative journalist made allegations of copyright infringement towards Ebonylife Films, claiming that “Òlòtūré” which follows the story of a young, naïve Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking is an adaptation of her life story which she wrote as an article, “Inside Nigeria Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia” that was published on August 2014, by Premium Times.

Ebonylife Films responded to the allegations with a statement claiming that ‘Oloture’ is a work of fiction and was inspired by a variety of true events”. The CEO, Mo Abudu also addressed the allegations in a video posted on her official Instagram page where she said that they sought and obtained the right from Premium Times, the owners of the story, and as such, had fulfilled their legal obligation.

Tobore Ovuorie who said she couldn’t initially view the video as she had been blocked from viewing Mo Abudu’s Instagram page has now responded to the video with a statement “to set the records straight for the sake of posterity.”

Tobore stated that the human trafficking investigation in her story upon which “Òlòtūré” is based had commenced prior to her employment with Premium Times. She insists that the film is not fiction nor about “several other faceless journalists who had done what she did but did not publish their experiences”, but is an adaptation of her work and life story and that it was made without her express permission. “A movie about women victimization cannot end up creating further victimization,” she wrote.

Firstly, EbonyLife claimed that the right to use my life story was legally obtained from my erstwhile employer – Premium Times. Unfortunately for them and as I had earlier informed them through my lawyers, the human trafficking investigation in my story had commenced prior to my employment with Premium Times. It is disheartening that Aunty Mo could in fact mention that she got the right to my life-story (that has impacted on my life since then in many ways) from my ex-employer.

Secondly, I am in shock that Aunty Mo would claim that I was contacted prior to the Movie in one breath and in another breath that the story is not about me but about several other faceless journalists who had done what I did but did not publish their experiences.

If Ebonylife had given me full disclosure from the beginning, we would not be where we are, at this point. Yes, Oloture is an important film to be made but must be done the right way. A Movie about women victimization cannot end up creating further victimization.

Oloture is an ADAPTATION of my work and life-story. I experienced the investigation, the process, and the risks, upon which the movie is based. I also single-handedly authored the publication the Movie relied on. The publication of my experience is what gave birth to Oloture. A Movie about sex trafficking does not need to be centered around a journalist and it does not need to play out the plots of my published story.

Responding to claims that her actions are for money and because the movie gained international recognition, Tobore stated,

My obvious interest had always been to be given appropriate credit for my work, far above the compensatory claim. My lawyers’ letter to EbonyLife had categorically demanded for:

• “Compensation for copyright infringement in the sum of $5,000,000.00 (Five Million US Dollars).

• The immediate inclusion of a proper open credit and end credit in the Movie, acknowledging the adaptation of her work in line with industry standard and practice; and

• Restriction on any further exploitation of our Client’s published life story by your good self, your company and its related companies or affiliates, in any form, including our Client’s post -investigation struggles and experiences, such as her nervous breakdown episodes, which she personally shared with you on set, on or about 6 June 2019 during the recording of the special edition of your program titled: ‘Moments With Mo’ at the Ilupeju recording studio of your company.

The open and end credits of the Movie should be re-edited to read as follows:

Open Credit:
“THIS FILM IS LARGELY BASED ON EVENTS WHICH HAPPENED TO A NIGERIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST IN A 2014 PUBLISHED INVESTIGATIVE STORY”.

End Credit:
“THIS FILM IS AN ADAPTATION OF:
WEST AFRICA| UNDERCOVER INSIDE THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING MAFIA, AN INVESTIGATIVE STORY BY TOBORE OVUORIE PUBLISHED BY ZAM MAGAZINE, NETHERLANDS, ON 22 JANUARY 2014 AND SUBSEQUENTLY BY PREMIUM TIMES, NIGERIA”.

See the full statement below:

Joe Biden, the President-elect of the United States of America, has appointed Nigerian-born Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo into his cabinet.

The President-elect made announcement when he named additional 20 members of the office of the White House counsel.

Badejo is a lawyer and an alumna of Berkeley Law College in the US, and served as ethics counsel in the same office toward the end of the President Barrack Obama administration.

She, alongside other lawyers of the Office of White House Counsel will be advising the President, the executive office of the president, and the White House staff on legal issues pertaining to the president and the White House.

A statement on the Biden-Harris transition website said that Badejo was general counsel of the house select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis which was chaired by James Clyburn, House Majority Whip.

“Her prior government service includes serving as Counsel for policy to the Assistant Attorney-General in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Ethics Counsel at the White House Counsel’s Office and Attorney Advisor at the Administrative Conference of the United States during the Obama-Biden administration,” the statement read.

Biden will become the 46th President of the United States after his swearing-in slated for January 20, 2021

He defeated the incumbent President Donald Trump in the November 3 presidential election after scoring over 300 electoral college votes

Although Trump rejected the election result claiming electoral fraud, he could not provide proofs and has lost numerous cases he filed in court.

President Trump was however, impeached on Wednesday for the second time having been accused of inciting his supporters to launch a deadly attack on US Capitol In a final push to stop the confirmation of Biden as the winner of the election by the Congress.

Biden had earlier In December 2020 appointed a Nigerian-American, Osaremen Okolo, a Ni, a member of Biden’s COVID-19 response team.

Before then, Nigerian-born Adewale Adeyemo has been appointed as deputy secretary of the treasury department.

During the thick of the lockdown, many Nigerians supported families and gave them hope., Seun Ajiboye  was one of those people. The Babcock University graduate and founder of Sessylush Hair through her partnership with Esther Ijewere’s “Get Talking With Esther” Show  donated food items, and beauty accessories to families.

The beautiful Entrepreneur who  holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics is also one of the Alumni of  Idea Builders  Initiative’s  “Women Mentoring Women” Platform, a platform that not only groomed her as a business woman, but also availed her the opportunity to have her own voice and identity.

Prior to starting Sessylush Hair;  Seun worked in the bank and headed several teams in a forex firm. Her desire to make every woman a diva with premium, affordable and lush hairs led to the establishment of Sessylush Hair.

Sessylushair is a hair and lifestyle brand that encourages women to remain beautiful and slay always with affordable and lush wigs, bundles and accessories, while also giving back to humanity and grooming other women in her line of business.

Seun is happily married with kids, and very passionate about humanity.

She shares her inspiring story in this interview.

Childhood Influence

I have always loved fashion, and love to look good. I fell in love with weaves and I have decided to help every lady look good with great hair at a remarkable price.

Inspiration behind  Sessy Lush Hair

The desire to provide quality and lush human hair at the best price possible.

The journey so far
It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. We are grateful for the reception thus far, it’s been overwhelming.

Other projects and activities

I am into forex and I also mentor youths, and young women who need clarity on how to navigate their startup business.

Being a mom, wife and business woman

I try my best to manage it well.  I take it every day at a time and I am very keen on outsourcing; I don’t exert energy on things that are not my forté

How  sessylush hair has  impacted my growth as a business woman

It has taught me patience, it has taught me how to be more accountable. It has tested me in ways I can’t express. It’s an amazing journey and I am excited for what the future holds.

My support system 

I am a lover of God and am grateful for where He is taking me to. I am also grateful for a supportive spouse. My husband has been amazing and appreciate him for being my number one fan , and support system.

There are unique women who wear different hats in different industries, they use their passion and skillset as tools for development and change. Adebimpe is one of those women, she is a  Creative designer (Graphics and UI/UX designs) Sexual and reproductive health coach, Girl child advocate and a freelance photographer.  Being a victim of child molestation she founded Piece of my heart Foundation where she leads a team of volunteers in educating sensitizing children and teenagers on sex education to prevent abuse.
 She is a Skillz girl coach at Youth empowerment and development initiative where she educate adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health.  Global youth ambassador at Their World, Lagos state Youth Ambassador and Girl impact Ambassador.
Adebimpe is a graduate of Yaba college of technology, Lagos. She is a trained child advocate by Christiana Faith foundation and Laura kid’s foundation U.S.A. An alumna of Lagos Business school (Leadership and Non profit Manangement). She is interested in meaningful youth participation and engagement and gender related issues.
She shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Infuence

My childhood is what influenced my decision to educate people about sexual and reproductive health issues and gender based violence prevention.

Growing up, my parent died when I was just 7, having to move from one relative to the other. I was molested by my uncle. He will make me play with their genitals until he gets satisfied. This went on for months and nobody suspected , thankfully. I moved away from their house and I got adopted my mum’s immediate sister who happens to take care of me like her own.

At the age of 13, we lived in a tenement building know as (face me I face you ) Two of my neighbors got pregnant for a guy who was also our neighbor. I watched this two girls dropped out of school and became mothers as a child. It was really traumatic for me.

After this Incident I started getting flashes of my own abuse and suddenly I started attracting people who attempted rape from close people, it didn’t happen but the fear stayed with me.

This fueled my passion and I felt it people were aware and orientated, that abusers are trusted people. So that parent can also educate their children to make informed sexual and relationship decisions without violence or abuse.

Inspiration behind Piece of my heart foundation

I knew I had an assignment but I really didn’t know what it was, I pray to God about it. Soon, I started getting flashes of what happened to me as a Child and how God wanted me to turn my pain to purpose. I felt led to start piece of my heart foundation though I wasn’t sure what NGO was and how it was run at that time. I just wanted to make a difference in my community and I started the organization.

The Journey so  far

The journey has been awesome and challenging at the same time. The journey has helped me to discover alot about myself, it has helped me to learn skills I never thought I could learn or know. The journey has brought me profitable relationships and realistic exposures. So many times i feel like giving up on the journey because of the so many rejections I get. I have grown a thick skin and rejection got nothing on me, maybe a little thing….

I have made alot of mistake running the organization but I learn from my mistakes. I’m grateful to God I started.

Being a creative designer, and using it to amplify my passion for advocacy 

As a creative designer, my skill has helped my work alot, It had helped amplify my work, because most times I use the funds I get from my work to run the organization.

Sometimes I use my skill to preserve relationships. I volunteer to do designs for many people to help them amplify their works too. I’m a strongly believe that supporting other people is a great way to keep relationships.

Nigerians and their understanding of sexual and reproductive health

I think a large percentage of Nigerians are not well informed on issues affecting women and the girl child because most people tend to silence women in advocacy.

Every day women and girls are still faced with lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, domestic violence, unequal pay for equal work,lack of quality education and so many other issue.

If I had an audience with the President to discuss work

Mr. President sir, In about two years of being at the frontline, working closely with Stakeholders in rural to communities to advocate for women and girl reaching close to over 10,000 person online and offline. I believe that not enough work is being done to protect the right of women and girls in our society. I’ll like the Government to consider partnering with CSOs and NGOs to reach the grassroots. I’ll like the president to amplify our voices by giving women equal representation in Government, empowering women and girls to avoid violence, implement laws that criminalize GBV. We have this laws. Why aren’t they being implemented. We will like the president to fund organizations working on prevention intervention and restructure our crisis management system, the system is too cumbersome.

Mr. President sir, comprehensive sex education should be part of the curriculum starting from primary school in other to help our children make informed decisions.

Challenges of my work

Challenges of my work, one of the personal challenge is trying to balance my career ( product design) with my NGo work, thank God for amazing team members. Many people don’t want to fund prevention intervention and our own believe is that prevention is better than rehabilitation. We are also faced with the challenge of a space for training. One of our aim is to raise alot of advocates. Who can represent us in their communities

  3 women who inspire you to be better and why

  1. Mrs Ibukun Awosika, I love the fact that she is a woman breaking boundaries. She inspires me with her love for God and humanity.
  2. Anthonia Ojenagbon, she is a survivor of sexual abuse and she is giving other people a chance to be heard. She inspires me so much because of her resilience and her fight for SGBV.
  3. Esther Ijewere, a woman with an heart of Gold, she inspires me with her selflessness, humility and doggedness.

Key nuggets on child safety & sexual reproductive health

Child safety is everybody’s responsibility especially the parent. As parents, you can not always be everywhere with your children but when you give them comprehensive sex education, you can be sure that they will make informed choices.

Sex education shouldn’t  start when your child starts menstruating, it has to start right from the time your child starts speaking both the boys and the girls.

Many people mistake sex education for teaching about sex. Sexual and reproductive health education isn’t just how not to get pregnant. It’s about body safety, self esteem, puberty, gender roles, contraceptives use etc..

Education about sex, is not a one-off conversation. It has to be consistent  and age appropriate. Use Google to learn what it age appropriate for your child and filter it with your family value.

 Being  a Woman of Rubies

I’m a woman of rubies because I am a woman favored and chosen to turn my pain into power. I never allowed my background to put my back on the ground. I’m proud of the woman I have become 😁.

Shulamite Ezechi is so many things rolled in one. She is the founder and CEO of ANYISO an international NGO. She is an advocate, an author, and activist for girls and women’s rights.

She is the founder and CEO of ANYiSO a registered charity in the UK that runs multiple projects, seminars, workshops and conferences, and provides support and services for women, young people, refugees, and asylum seekers. She is passionate about women, young people, refugees and asylum seekers driven by inspiration and personal experiences. She is a feminist, an advocate and activist for women’s rights. Shulamite is an author, a community leader and a mentor to many young people, men, and women.

Shulamite through personal experiences and a passion for driving change, has served and still serves in multiple capacities in various human rights groups to make impacts through her voice. She has served as a member of the refugee women’s strategy group. She is involved in reviewing several policies affecting black and ethnic minority women and young people in Scotland, UK.

Shulamite continues to serve in various organisations amongst which are the North Glasgow community food initiative where she served as a member of the board. Shulamite is amongst the delegates for the First ministers National advisory committee on Women and Girls for Black and Ethnic Minority. She is an ambassador for Migrant Voice, UK. A member of the United Nations Association, UK, a member of Amnesty International, and a member of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Shulamite obtained her National Certificate of Education (NCE) from Federal College of Education Technical, Umunze, Nigeria. She is licensed to teach having gained a certificate from the Teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). She obtained a diploma in Community Development from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.Shulamite holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, two master’s degrees; one in Clinical Nutrition and Health and the other in Policy Analysis and Global Governance both from universities in Scotland, UK.
Shulamite has won many awards including ‘the Inspiration to the BME Community award’ that was conferred to her at the Glasgow City Chambers, United Kingdom. She has been privileged to be invited to Oxford University Women leadership Symposium to deliver a talk on ‘’girl child marriage’’ and lead a group of women to UNESCO Spring School to tell their integration stories through drama.

Shulamite’s work to humanity and in community development have been published in both national and international newspapers. Shulamite is married and blessed with children.

She share her story  with Esther Ijewere in this Interview

Growing up

I grew up in Nigeria with my mum and dad. I was the eldest of nine children so it was always busy at home! My dad was an entrepreneur and my mum was a midwife; she ran a maternity clinic where people could come and get treated with support and help. She was always really friendly and attentive and my family was known for its hospitality, and I try to bring that spirit into the work I do now. I think it helped to grow up in an environment where there was always lots going on; it means I don’t get easily overwhelmed which is a good thing when you’re as busy as I am!

Inspiration behind  ANYiSO

My whole life I’ve seen African women face a lot of challenges and less appreciated. There seemed to be a lack of support for them, despite their growing need for support and aid, and domestic abuse on the rise without much being done about it. In Scotland, where I live, women who belong to ethnic minorities often don’t reach out for this support because they’re afraid of being discriminated against, because they’re scared of being stereotyped, but also because they sometimes lack the ability to ask for help due to language barriers and cultural differences. Being inspired, as well as having encountered difficulties myself, I was driven to make a real change in the world and to create a space where these women could safely and comfortably get the support they needed to be empowered.

The Journey so far…

It’s definitely been challenging, but it’s absolutely worth it! I started ANYiSO in my living room in 2014 and since then it’s grown more than I could have ever imagined. We’ve been busy implementing projects and raising awareness about our cause – it’s not easy gaining trust when you’re a new organisation – but we gradually built ourselves up and now we go from strength to strength. I’ve seen so many lives change for the better as a result of the work we do, and that’s rewarding. ANYISO works in partnership with local and international organisations to provide support to women and young people. We focus on strategies such as skill acquisition training, awareness building, advocacy and education. For us, education is the basis for development, so we encourage our women and young people to be educated. This we do by providing ESOL classes and creche for these women and also working in partnership with some organisations and colleges,and most of these women have gone back to school, gained employment and became entrepreneurs.


 You’ve won many awards and attended a lot of leadership conferences across the globe as well as advocating for the ethnic minority community in the UK. How does it feel to lend your voice to these people and to make their issues heard?

It’s really a collective effort: I have similar cultural background and experiences to the women we support, which makes it easier to understand what they’ve been through and the challenges they’ve faced or still facing. As an advocate, I do my best to communicate how they feel, the support they need and what their journey is like to the appropriate authorities, agencies, organisation and while helping to review policies that affect them. Through the work we do with ANYiSO I see how important it is for us to keep advocating and providing support and services, so I’m happy that we have the opportunity to use our platform and voice to support those who otherwise wouldn’t be heard.

Being  a mom, wife, motivational speaker, and author, amongst many other things, and managing it all

I’ll admit it’s not easy! All of my roles demand quite big time commitments. ANYiSO has grown in the last few years with multiple projects which is fantastic, but I’ve had to learn how to manage my time effectively in order to still have the time to do other things like the book i just wrote. My family is a priority so I always make sure I have time to spend with them. Having said that, I’m driven by passion and it is that passion that makes everything worth it. Seeing the progress we make empowers me and looking back, the hard work has absolutely been worth it.

My new book ‘Unveiling Your True Potential’

I’ve personally faced a lot of challenges and struggles in life, and I have seen myself doing things I never knew I could. I know where I used to be and have seen myself make progress.
When I was young I could never have imagined the things I’ve done now: I didn’t see any potential in myself. The truth is that everyone has the potential to achieve, but it’s often hidden or goes unrecognised. I wrote my book to inspire people, to motivate them to discover themselves and their potential to do the things they dream of doing. I hope that my story will help them to see that no matter what you’ve been through in life, nothing is impossible if you keep a positive mindset.

Being a feminist and my thoughts on how the world is well informed about it.

I think a lot of people today are misinformed about feminism due to the cultural practices and media coverage it gets. Feminism seems to have a bad reputation especially in African culture and people see it as a movement that lacks respect for men, idolizes women and despises men, but this isn’t at all what it means. It’s actually a movement that seeks equal rights for women and men, because women have faced (and continue to face) lots of discrimination in life and has always been seen as second class citizens. As a feminist, all I want is for us women to have the same opportunities as men and I strongly believe that more awareness on the meaning and importance of feminism are very much needed. For me, the truth is that most people, even men are feminist but unaware that they are. If as a parent you ever wanted the same opportunity, success, achievement for all your children be it male or female,then you are a feminist.

Making Impact in Nigeria

For some time now we’ve already been supporting people back home in Nigeria. We’ve provided lots of financial support and skill development training. During this COVID 19 pandemic period, we have supported a lot of people financially and also with palliatives. Some of the people we’ve supported are now able to participate in different walks of life that they wouldn’t have been able to participate in before, both in their families and also in social, and economic sectors. In the near future we’ll be expanding more our operations in Nigeria and other African countries, so watch this space.

3  women who inspire you to be better and why

I’d have to pick Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou.
They’re all incredibly strong women of colour who have overcame adversity and their ethnic minority background to make a difference in the world. Michelle Obama is graceful and carries herself with dignity – she was the first black First Lady – she demonstrates that there’s no limit to what you can attain in life. Maya Angelou went through a lot of challenges but she used her voice to send messages through her award-winning poetry, she was a true definition of making lemonade out of lemon.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I see myself as a strong woman and I recognise my own strength, tenacity and weakness. As a founder, seeing people being empowered through the work we do in ANYISO gives me inner joy and a sense of fulfillment.

The Nigerian Governement and Issues affecting Women and Children

They need to do more. Our children need to be empowered and encouraged to get an education; they need to be in the classroom instead of hawking on the streets. The government needs to support women in every walk of life, especially economically (through employment, skill acquisition and grants for business). Women education and empowerment is very important, because educated and empowered women gives birth to a developed nation