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Adebola Adefioye  and Adekelu Ogunleye were recently recognized  as Women of Distinction by YWCA Sudbury  along with six other women, for their achievements, accomplishments, leadership, and the impact they’ve had on girls and women.

Adekelu Ogunleye and Adebola Adefioye

In 2020, Adekelu emigrated to Canada  during the pandemic as a single mother.

She runs  Kelu Cooks, a business venture that majors on delicious African and intercontinental dishes. The astute entrepreneur also runs an alteration business, known as ‘international obioma’. Her passion for cleaning, creating order and staying organized inspired her to start Kelz Cleaning Services.

Her passion for humanity made her enrol for a diploma in developmental service work program from Cambrian College in Sudbury Ontario, Canada. The stylish mother of two is currently studying Indigenous Social Work at Laurentian University, Canada.

YWCA Sudbury is recognizing Kelu as a woman of distinction for her achievements.

Speaking on the recognition, the entrepreneur had this to say to Cbc ;

“I was able to study developmental service work, and I’ve worked with a school board where I supported kids who have intellectual disabilities, I’ve been able to create job opportunities for a lot of international and domestic students,” she said.

Adekelu Ogunleye

She will receive the award for entrepreneurship at the gala on January 28th, 2023.

Activist Adebola Adefioye will receive the social justice award, for founding the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, which provides mentorship and leadership for Black women and youth.

Adebola very passionate about building authentic relationships with racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) children, families and communities and collaborating with them to reduce inequities, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve mental-health and wellness.

She holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Seneca College, Master’s in Child and Youth Care, from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and a Certificate in Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development from Coady Institute, Canada.

She is also a final semester student in a Graduate Certificate program in Mental Health Intervention (MHI).

In 2016, Adebola’s daughter was bullied because of her skin colour, this  inspired the activist to start her foundation.

Adebola Adefioye
Adebola Adefioye

Speaking  to CBC on how that situation impacted her daughter, Adebola had this to say; “By the time she got to Grade 5, she won the award for the most confident child in class because she had learned self-advocacy, she had learned how to be a leader, she had learned to say no to people.”

We are proud of these amazons, and celebrate them for adding value to humanity.

The Women of Rubies team  will be on ground to cover the award gala in Sudbury.

Related:

Nigerian Women In Canada are breaking boundaries, and making the motherland proud.  Being a  women’s advocate and new  Immigrant In Canada, the first thing I did was to check out women whose work and life would inspire me to dare to be different, and stay focused. I have celebrated some of these women for their work and global achievements on my platform as “Women of Rubies”, and others I followed their work closely.

These women have been able to break the barrier that prevents black women from reaching the top of their careers. They have been celebrated for their accomplishments, and recognized for changing narratives, and making room for other women to thrive through their various endeavors.

In no particular order, here is our “Part 1” Women of Rubies  list of 16  Nigerian women In Canada who are making us proud.

Adeola Olubamiji
Dr. Adeola Olubamiji
  1. Dr. Adeola Olubamiji

Adeola Deborah Olubamiji is a Nigerian-Canadian technologist who specializes in 3D printing  (also known as metal and plastic additive manufacturing). She became the first Black person to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2017 from  University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the chief consultant at D-Tech Centrix ,an education and career consulting company, located in Ontario Canada and Indiana USA.

Dr. Addy  is also  the Founder of STEMHub Foundation, a Canadian non-profit that empowers and teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to students and early career professionals. In addition, she seats on the board of Health Science & Innovation Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana as the Secretary of the board.

She  was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women In Canada. She is a multi-award winner and mentor to several young people.

2. Dr. Rita Orji

Rita Orji is a Nigerian-Canadian Computer Science Professor, a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology, and the Director of the Persuasive Computing Lab at Dalhousie University in Canada.

Rita  has contributed some amazing things to Canada, including founding and directing the Persuasive Computing Lab at Dalhousie, and conducting research on designing interactive technologies that empower people, improve lives and contribute to solving many societal problems. “As a professor, she conduct research, teach, supervise and mentor students, write grants and get involved in many community services.

Due to her passion for mentoring the next generation of youth and female tech leaders, promoting research excellence, equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM, Professor Rita  founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged Foundation, NGO, and she recently launched a YouTube channel, “Time with Prof. Rita.” She was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women In Canada.

Rita Orji
Dr. Rita Orji

3. Brenda Okorogba

Brenda Okorogba is an award-winning Service and Learning Experience Designer, Grant Writer, College and Career Readiness and Success Coach, Project Manager, and a Training Facilitator with 10 years of progressive experience ideating, designing, and facilitating outcome-based programming for diverse populations across industries, sectors, and geographies. Brenda is a strong advocate for equity in all its manifestations and is constantly looking for new ways to spark social change.

She is passionate about enhancing opportunities for women and girls, fostering employment growth, and increasing education in order to offer practical, quantifiable, and outcome-driven solutions that have an impact on women’s economic well-being.  Brenda’s activism is centered on socio-economic security, education and gender equity, and collective prosperity. In 2018, Brenda was selected as a young leader to join a team of 100 Gender Equity Advocates with the YWCA Canada who went to the Parliament of Canada to lobby for $75 Million.

She spoke to Manitoban MPs and Senators on pressing issues and the need to invest more in economic security, employment opportunities, access to quality education, housing and healthcare services for women and young girls across Manitoba. The Day on the Hill started off with a federal funding announcement totalling $1.25 Million from the former Minister of Status of Women, the Honorable Maryam Monsef .

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brenda raised $13K for the YWCA Canada using social media, as a way of supporting the organization to provide quality healthcare and shelter services to marginalized women across the country. Brenda took initiative and became a YWCA Ambassador to fundraise for essential services!

Brenda enjoys facilitating training on workforce development, labor market integration, career development, college readiness and success training, youth education and employment, and reskilling programs funded by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) partnering with Immigrant-serving Agencies (ISAs) that provide resettlement and broad-based services to newcomers and Government-assisted refugees (GARs) in Ontario.

Brenda currently facilitates a Government of Canada/IRCC funded workforce development program at World Skills Employment Centre, the “Empowering Visible Newcomer Women” program with specific sessions on personal branding and growth mindset, career readiness and transition.

Brenda has provided college and career readiness coaching to diverse students across the world who have successfully secured $80.4M in scholarships, bursaries, differential tuition fee waivers, fellowships, and graduate assistantships.

She wrote and launched a college financing resource as part of the AMEKETUNI (Let’s Fix Ours) Scholars Program by Momentswithbren which contains a list of various financial aid such as scholarships,  and career development grants worth $446B .

Brenda has been recognized for her selfless community advocacy and thought leadership as the: 2022 100 Most Accomplished Black Canadian Women awarded by Honorable Jean Augustine, Manitoba150 Honors Award (once-in-a-lifetime), 2022 Career Coach/Educator by TalentEgg Canada, 2020 Woman of Influence by Divas of Colour UK, 2019 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, 2019 Mayor Award by Volunteer Manitoba, 2019 & 2020 Top 9 Finalist Future Leaders of Manitoba, 2019 Youth Advocate Award by Universal Women’s Network Canada, 2019 Top 100 Black Women to Watch Out in Canada by CIBWE, 2019 Diana Award UK, 2014 Emerging Leader Award University of Manitoba, 2013 Congress of Black Women of Manitoba Scholarship Award, and many others. Brenda currently sits on the Board of Directors of social-impact driven Canadian Charitable organizations like the Students Commission of Canada, Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity, and the Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO).

She is also a  Grant Writer at STEMHub Foundation Canada.

Brenda Okorogba

4. Tracy Folorunsho-Barry

Tracy Folorunsho-Barry is a multi-award-winning career strategist, recruiter, Founder and CEO of GROW Women Leaders and GROW Foundation. During her migration to Canada from Nigeria, Barry faced struggles with integrating into the country. She lacked the proper guidance and support she needed as an immigrant. Barry also found that her struggles were common for other immigrant women in Canada and decided to take action after freeing herself from a limited lifestyle.

She took upon the initiative to start helping other women, especially immigrants, reach their full potential and access new opportunities regarding their careers. Since then, she has dedicated her career to helping thousands of women, especially immigrants, get hired and advance their career. 

In 2017, under GROW Foundation, Barry launched Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series where she began gathering stories from more than 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to achieve success in their careers and lives. 

Later in 2018, Barry founded GROW Women Leaders (GROW), a career leadership development and advancement platform designed to help women get hired and advance their careers. In 2021, she opened The GROW Space, a socially conscious 7000sq ft facility that houses Nurture café, lounge, co-working space and more. Proceeds from the facility go directly towards supporting women, especially immigrants, to get hired and advance their careers – the public is encouraged to use the facility to work and study in.

For her contributions and community involvement, she has been honored with various awards and recognitions such as; Top 100 Black Women to Watch In Canada, Top 6 Immigrant Women of Inspiration,  and a notable recognition by  Mayor Don Iveson and the City of Edmonton in 2020.

Tracy Folorunsho-Barry- Grow Women leaders
Tracy Folorunsho – Barry

5. Patricia Bebia Mawa 

After launching a successful career as a TV personality in Nigeria as the host of the show Lunch Date, Patricia Bebia Mawa relocated to Canada and essentially started her media career over from scratch. She’s now the executive vice president of the Afroglobal TV channel as well as host and producer of the long-running TV show, Planet Africa, which is broadcasted across Canada on OMNI TV and syndicated to Europe and Africa.

She is also the executive vice president and editorial director of Afroglobal parent Silvertrust Media, which she co-founded with her husband, Moses. Their media empire includes magazines, TV shows, awards, and an expanding online presence.

Listed in the Who’s Who in Black Canada, she is a recipient of the Toronto Police Community Service Award, the International Women Achievers Award, the Martin Luther King DreamKeeper Award, and a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Patricia Bebia Mawa
Patricia Bebia Mawa

 

6.  Ehi Ade-Mabo

For over 10 years, Ehi  has inspired and empowered men and women all ages and walks of life to rise above their challenges and be the best they can be. Whether you struggle with finding your sweet spot in your purpose, relationships, finances, brand and self esteem, or you just know life should be more exciting that it is now, you are not alone. Ehi Ade Mabo has continued to encourage and coach people of all ages to finding the zeal, power and Passion to rise above their current struggles, and live the life of their dreams.

Ehi Ade Mabo Is a life Coach, blogger, writer, speaker and author. She has impacted thousands all over the world  with her teaching and mentorship.

Ehi Ade-Mabo- Nigerian Women In Canada
Ehi Ade-Mabo

7. Adebola Adefioye

Adebola is a Child Development Practitioner. She holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Seneca College, Master’s in Child and Youth Care, from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and a Certificate in Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development from Coady Institute, Canada. She is a final semester student in a Graduate Certificate program in Mental Health Intervention (MHI). Adebola has worked with children, women and families in different settings (child care, school, shelter, crisis-line and community). Adebola is passionate about building authentic relationships with racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Person of Colour) children, families and communities and collaborating with them to reduce inequities, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve mental-health and wellness.

Adebola works for a provincial non-profit agency on a project that focuses on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on racialized mothers and educators in Ontario. The project will inform recommendations for feminist, child care, and family programs policies in Ontario, Canada.

She  is also actively involved in Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work. She offers training, workshops and public education programs to various organizations. She is the founder of the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization providing leadership, empowerment and mentorship programs to Black immigrant women and youth in Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario.

Adebola has won many awards.

Adebola Adefioye- Nigerian Women In Canada
Adebola Adefioye – Seneca

8. Ariyike Akinbobola

Ariyike Akinbobola is a Nigerian Author and Amazon Canada Best Selling Author, content creator, foreign trained Lawyer currently working as a Senior Business Immigration Analyst in Toronto. Her work experience spans over a decade in the Media, Entertainment, Consulting, Immigration and Not-for.Profit Industries. Through her entertainment Platform, Ariland Entertainment, she hosts Moving Abroad: Immigrant Success Stories, an immigrant talk show where she interviews Immigrants succeeding globally. She also showcases African culture, fashion, lifestyle and Immigrant experiences through storytelling.

Ariyike started creating content on her Youtube channel (Ariyike Akinbobola channel) in 2012 and she was among the first set of Youtubers recognized by Youtube at the Youtube stars event where 5 Youtubers were recognized in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a Professional MC and has successfully hosted events globally and she has also moderated sessions on Diversity and Inclusion, Kindness, Digital Media, Entertainment Law, Communications and TV Presenting.

Ariyike has a Certificate in Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice from Harvard X and she also coaches Immigrant families relocating abroad on expectations and how to navigate their new reality and she consults for aspiring authors who want to learn how to self publish their books on Amazon. Through her Ariyike Arise Initiative Africa, she has helped to fund the education of Children in disadvantaged communities in Africa. In 2020, they donated 1000 facemasks to People in disadvantaged communities in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. She believes the world would be a better place if everyone did more for others.

In 2021, Ariyike became the first winner of the Immigrant Leader award at the Universal Women’s Network Women of Inspiration Award. As an advocate for Female Genital Mutilation abandonment in Nigeria, she volunteered as a digital advocate for UNFPA / UNICEF and was recognized as the UNFPA / UNICEF Frown Award – Female Genital Mutilation Abandonment Advocate of the year amongst other recognitions.

Ariyike also volunteers as a Literacy Ambassador for Project 99A in Canada and a Mentor with the Canadian Multicultural Group. Her books, Beautifully Coloured and The Cost of our Lives, both Amazon Best selling books are available on Amazon. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, dancing, meeting new people and creating content on her YouTube channel. Ariyike is married with Children.

Ariyike Akinbobola- Nigerian Women In Canada
Ariyike Akinbobola

 

9.  Ejibola Adetokunbo Taiwo

Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo is an entrepreneur, an entrepreneurship consultant, a business coach, and an advocate for women entrepreneurs who is passionate about encouraging, empowering, and supporting women to use entrepreneurship as a tool for leadership and economic advancement.

She’s the CEO of Simply Ejibola Inc., the Founder and Principal Consultant at de Sedulous Women Leaders, and has also been the lead creator of several entrepreneurship initiatives like femImmiGRANTS, a grant specifically for BIPOC female entrepreneurs in Canada, the iiNTEGRATE NEXT program for newcomers in Canada, the iLaunchHERproduct, a program aimed at connecting women-owned businesses with big box retail stores in Canada, and the Rise Up Pitch Competition, a national grant program for Black Canadian women entrepreneurs.

Ejibola has been recognized for her work by several organizations like the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, Diversity Magazine Canada, 2022’s 100 Accomplished Black Women, and she is also one of our 2021 Top 25 Women of Influence Awards recipients.

Ejibola Adetokunbo Taiwo- Nigerian Women In Canada
Ejibola Adetokunbo Taiwo

10. Deborah Ojo 

Deborah Ojo is the founder and CEO  Deborahomes, A  multi million dollar real estate investor and an award winning real estate broker devoted to serving the needs of real estate buyers and sellers throughout the Greater Toronto Market . When she is not  investing into real estate, she is helping her client start or continue to achieve their financial freedom through Real estate.

Deborah is known for her honesty, highest level of client service and 100 % determination to help you achieve your goals no matter what.  Deborah has built an incredible network of fellow agents that makes Deborahomes a natural repertoire of dynamic qualities that set her apart and enable her to successfully procure the goals of the buyers and sellers she represents.
With over 10 years experience In the Real Estate sector, she has taught over 63 seminars and counting to minority communities on how to Own their own piece of real estate free of charge as a way to give back to those communities, and helping women who have passion for the business find their path and earn a living.
Deborah Ojo - Nigerian Women In Canada
Deborah Ojo

 

11. Dr. Onye Nnorom

Onyenyechukwu (Onye) Nnorom, family physician, specialist in public health and preventive medicine (born 27 February 1981 in MontrealQuebec). Nnorom is the associate director of the residency program in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She also leads the Black health curriculum at the university’s medical school. Her work addresses the health inequities that racialized and immigrant communities face.

Onye Nnorom’s work focuses on health equity and the impact of racism on health. In particular, she studies anti-Black racism as a driver of health inequities in Canada.

Since 2016, Nnorom has led the University of Toronto’s efforts to build education on these issues into its medical school curriculum. In February 2020, Nnorom was appointed the first ever equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lead of the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. She advises the department’s executive on policies that impact EDI for faculty, residents, students and staff.

Nnorom is the creator and host of the Race, Health & Happiness podcast. She launched the show in 2020 to help racialized people stay well, thrive and find joy. Its first season coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected Black and other racialized peoples. She was recently recognized as on the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian.

Dr. Onye Nnorom- Nigerian Women In Canada
Dr. Onye Nnorom

12. Jenny Okonkwo

Game changing community builder, founder of award winning Black Female Accountants Network An experienced business and finance leader, Jenny is passionate about helping women uncover their full potential in order to become their best professional selves and achieve their career goals. In 2016, a workplace representation gap led her to create Black Female Accountants Network (BFAN).

BFAN is an award winning volunteer non profit group that has helped newcomers to Canada reconnect with their professional careers, inspires and encourages future generations of female business leaders, creates professional and personal growth opportunities for local members.

In 2019 as a result of her work, Jenny was nominated and became a “Top 75” Finalist, Canadian Immigrant Awards, was recognized as one of the “Top 100” Black Women to Watch in Canada and received the “Be the Change” Award from Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.

Jenny also received formal recognition in 2019 from MP Omar Alghabra, in his previous capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification. Jenny is a member of the AICPA (Association of International Certified Professional Accountants) National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

Jenny Okonkwo- Nigerian Women In Canada
Jenny Okonkwo

 

13. Nnenna Uboma

Nnenna Uboma is the Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of Beyond Math. Nnenna is an Analytics Senior leader and has over 20 years of experience leading high performing analytical teams to develop industry edge solutions. Nnenna is known for her “Can do” attitude and ability to think out-of-the-box. Nnenna has grown passion for tutoring and coaching analytical professional over the past decade. She has mentored many successful professionals in Analytics Nnenna spends her spare time nurturing High School kids in Leadership and Entrepreneurship skills. She was recently recognized for her work at the 100 ABC

Nnenna Uboma- Nigerian Women In Canada
Nnenna Uboma

14. Janey Buzugbe

Janey is an energetic entrepreneur and tech partnerships leader who believes in living life by giving; and what she has to give is humanity at the intersection of business and technology. As of recently, she headed the Black Innovation Programs & Partnerships at the DMZ, providing leadership and support to Founders across 5 programs with resources and access to 30+ partners to help grow their ventures – but that is not all. She is the host of JaneyofCanada; a YouTube channel providing career & settlement advice for immigrants and also the Founder of Immiducation, a community-first Startup that supports over 17000+ immigrant professionals with career-readiness skills, a career network and access to careers in Tech.

Over the past decade, her tech career has span over the corporate, non-profit and startup worlds in digital marketing, program & product management, recruitment, and Tech Partnerships.
Janey holds an undergraduate degree in Information Technology, postgraduate certificates in Media and Account Management and a Master’s in Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Janey Buzugbe- Nigerian Women In Canada
Janey Buzugbe

15. Maryam Muritala

Maryam is  a Foreign trained lawyer with areas of specialization in Business , Technology , Copyright and Trademark Law, and Contract Management. She is also an  experienced Business Development Consultant.
She  has helped entrepreneurs across five continents launch successful and thriving businesses through  Canada Vendors, a Business Development and Advertising Company using digital marketing tools to give structured visibility to businesses across Canada and the diaspora.
At Canada Vendors, they offer Business Development Consultations and Solutions, Advertise brands using digital technology, connect service providers with prospective clients, and host Business Networking Events. Between 2020 and 2022 during the lockdown, we interviewed 255 Small businesses across various communities in Canada offering supports  successfully hosted BRAND EXPO  in 2021 and 2022
Canada Vendors  launched a mini-series on youtube in 2021 titled “THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY” spotlighting business owners across communities in Canada, so far we have interviewed entrepreneurs from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Alberta. The series is ongoing and they hope to spotlight more entrepreneurs across Canada.
Maryam Muritala- Nigerian Women in Canada
Maryam Muritala

16. Nifemi Fagbohun

Oluwanifemi Showole-Fagbohun is An Internationally trained Chemical and Polymer Engineer whose experience spans wide from Project Research Engineering, Project Management, Beauty Consultancy, Event planning, Business Coaching, Author, Customer Resolution Specialist , Health and Beauty Safety Advocate, Independent Executive Sales Consultant, and a lot more under her belt.
Nifemi fondly called ‘Niffy’ wears many hats as a Global Beauty Mogul, Beauty expert/consultant @niffysignature .  Founder and Business Coach @montrealvendors , Wardrobe Stylist @accessoriesbyniffy, An Independent Executive Sales Consultant, Wife and Mum to 3 Adorables.
Her love for health and safe beauty practices infused with her passion for women empowerment has led her to create a Makeup Brand called ‘Niffy Signature’ with her own line of Vegan and Cruelty-free Makeup Products.
She has a great penchant for paying attention to details and this earned her awards over the years : ‘Award of Excellence’ from the Nigerian Hair Show where she meticulously doubled as the official Makeup Artist for the Models and as one of the Judges. ‘Award of Recognition’ in Montreal where she was the official Makeup Artist for the ‘Walk of Hope for Mental Health’ event in 2018, ‘Community Personality Award’ from Canada vendors in 2020. ‘Award of Recognition’ in April, 2022 from the City of Saint Laurent Councillors, Montreal Community for her tremendous impact in championing and building the small business community in Montreal, (Quebec) along a slew of other notable mentions.
Oluwanifemi’s love for community building, adding value to lives and the need to ensure all small businesses feel recognized, loved and celebrated birthed the Montreal Vendors platform in Quebec.
She created the Montreal Vendors platform 10th April, 2020 with the desire to add value to her small business community at the onset of Covid when it was really tough for businesses. Her major focus is on Promoting all Small Businesses in diverse fields as we promote diversity in Montreal and all around the province of Quebec at large.
Nifemi being a Canadian Licenced Business Coach and also a Canadian Certified Executive Sales Consultant, both under the tutelage of St.Pius Career Centre under the English Montreal School Board, is using her knowledge to impact her small business community to the fullest of her capacity.
She’s presently a Nominee for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022.
Nifemi Fagbohun- Nigerian women in Canada
Nifemi Fagbohun
….It doesn’t end here.
The “Part 2″ of this list will be released soon. Do you know Nigerian women who should make our list of Inspiring Women In Canada? Kindly send their names, social media handles and link of their work to admin@womenofrubies.com with the subject: ” Nigerian Women in Canada “.
Nigerian Women In Canada
About the Writer
Esther ijewere Is a multi-award winning Social Activist, Journalist, Writer, Best-selling Author,  Host of the Youtube syndicated show;  #GettalkingwithEsther  and a certified PR expert with over 10 years of experience. Esther has spotlighted over 1000 women across the globe, Interviewed First ladies, A-list celebrities and giants of different industries.  She is the Editor-In-Chief of  Women of Rubies, and other development initiatives recognized globally. Follow her  on Linkedin,  Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Esther Ijewere- Women of Rubies
Esther Ijewere

 

 

Smart, compassionate, innovative and driven are few words that describe Canadian based Child Development Practitioner, Adebola Adefioye. She is very passionate about building authentic relationships with racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) children, families and communities and collaborating with them to reduce inequities, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve mental-health and wellness.

She holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Seneca College, Master’s in Child and Youth Care, from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and a Certificate in Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development from Coady Institute, Canada. She is also a final semester student in a Graduate Certificate program in Mental Health Intervention (MHI).

Adebola works for a provincial non-profit agency on a project that focuses on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on racialized mothers and educators in Ontario. A project that will inform recommendations for feminist, child care, and family programs policies in Ontario, Canada.

The passionate advocate is also  the founder of the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization providing leadership, empowerment and mentorship programs to Black immigrant women and youth in Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario.

Also Read: Personal Experience With Racism Inspired Me To Start Afro Women And Youth Foundation

Adebola Adefioye
Adebola Adefioye – Seneca College

Adebola has won many awards. She won nine different leadership, academic and community awards at Seneca College, the United Way Greater Toronto Black Leadership award in 2020, Ontario Premier’s Award in Recent Graduate Category in 2021 among others. Her strongest desire is to see more racialized women and youth stand up for themselves, participate in leadership positions, and support more people who look like them.

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere, and how she is using her skills and knowledge to help new immigrants stand up to racial discrimination.

Childhood Influence

I think my childhood contributed to what I am doing today. I learned a lot of things from my parents. Both of them worked very hard to provide for their children and my mom volunteered a lot at our local church and encouraged all her children to do the same. My late father was very hardworking. He had started working in one of the top banks in Nigeria before I was born and he retired as a senior officer after 28 years of service. My mom was a teacher. I learned hard work, honesty, and contentment from both of my parents.

Being A Certified Child Development Practitioner, And Working with Women And Families In Different Settings In Canada

I enjoy helping people in any way that I can. I started community development work in Nigeria and I thought I could do more of it in Canada so I registered a non-profit offering leadership, mentorship and empowerment programs to Black immigrant women and youth. We have recently added public education and training around Anti-Racism, Gender-Based Violence and Advocacy to our work.

My Passion for Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) And It’s Impact On Me As A Black Woman

Yes, I offer training on ABR and EDI. I think the work has enlightened me a lot more about the degree of social injustices we have around the world, how colonialism and capitalism continue to shape our lives daily. While the inequity issues persist, I am glad to be one of the people raising their voices against oppression and encouraging others to do so.

Also Read: The Skill Gap In The Black Community Inspired Me To Start Techavilly

Inspiration Behind Afro Women and Youth Foundation

My daughter’s school experience of Anti-Black Racism as a newcomer to Canada inspired the work I do at AWYF. I was amazed at how her teacher did not offer any support during the period. My husband and I provided her all the support and taught her strategies to self-advocate. She later developed confidence and started demonstrating leadership skills. At Grade 5, she won the award for the Most Confident child in her class and later won the Principal’s Leadership Award in Grade 8. I still wonder what would have happened if not for our intervention as parents and educators. My daughter’s experience led me to start the AWYF to help other people experiencing ABR.

Challenges 

It has been very challenging to access sustainable funding. I am so proud and grateful for the amazing team who have been volunteering their time at the AWYF since we started. The team will definitely do more if we had sustainable funding. While we continue to submit applications for multi-year program funding, we are extremely grateful for organizations like the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities, CEE Centre For Young Black Professionals, Seneca HELIX, Troop, City of Greater Sudbury, COSTI Immigrant Services, and Catherine Donnelly Foundation who have supported us in kind and with some funding.

 Winning Different Leadership, Academic And Community Awards At Seneca College, Canada

I worked very hard as a student at Seneca. My academics was a priority, but I also strengthened my leadership skills. I mentored other students, I was an Early Childhood Educator tutor at the Learning Centre, I started a Resilient Club for women, and I completed the Student Life Leadership program. I am constantly seeking opportunities for personal growth and development. I was nominated for some of those awards, and I got some because of my GPA and community work on campus. I have also recently won the Ontario Premier’s Award and Catherine Howe Award at Toronto Metropolitan University. The CHA award is for an outstanding Child and Youth Care Practitioner.

My Thoughts on The Profiling of Black Women and How They Can Be Supported

The profiling of Black women stems from the history of slavery, colonization, racial segregation, and marginalization.  One way to reduce the profiling of Black women is for advocates, women leaders, researchers, and educators to continue to research and uncover the inequities affecting Black and Indigenous women and girls, and demand accountability from the system.

Also Read: Black Women Need To Stop Waiting To Be Appreciated

Supporting Women in Nigeria With Seed Funds To Support Their Work And Families

The seed funds we raised from Nigerians here and provided in 2020 was a pilot project for our work in Nigeria. One of the things we identified was a need for stronger collaborations with existing organizations working on social issues that are similar to our work and willing to commit to an ongoing evaluation that identifies program outcomes. These lessons will shape our work in Nigeria in the future.

Coordinating Focus Groups for Women Whose Means Of Livelihood Was Affected Due To COVID19

Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) project is a province-wide project that seeks to build relationships with racialized mothers and educators, understand how the ongoing pandemic and racism affects them and collaborate with them to create program recommendations for policymakers across Ontario. It has been a huge learning process for everyone on the project team. We are all very excited about this project and some of the things we are hearing from the consultations is that people are happy that we have created a safe and brave space for them to share their experiences.

3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

My mom, Pastor Nike Adeyemi and Josephine Muhaya. These are all women who have continued to break barriers and create opportunities for other women through their work.

Also Read: 11 Tips to Cultivate a Happy and Healthy Relationship

Advice For a Woman on The Verge of Giving Up Due To Marginalization

I’ll advise that they hold on, continue to find inner-strengths, ask for help, focus on things that bring joy and practice gratitude. Most of the time, things will eventually get better if we don’t give up. I have been in that position, and I am happy I did not give up.

 My Work-Life Balance Routine

Relaxing with my family and weekend self-care routine.

Being a Woman Of Rubies

My passion to see other women’s lives improve and actions taken daily to see it become a reality.

You can connect with  Adebola via her social media platforms below;

LinkedIn:  Adebola Adefioye
Facebook: Adebola Taiwo Adefioye
Instagram @adebolaadefioye1
WhatsApp: +1 905-955-8667
Website: www.afrowyf.org
Email: adebola@afrowyf.org

 

Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a nonprofit committed to the empowerment and leadership development of vulnerable African women will be 1 in a few days and to celebrate their 1st year Anniversary, they will be extending some support to 10 women who have experienced/experiencing Gender-Based violence (GBV) in Lagos, Nigeria, by giving them soft business grant between 20-50k
Please note that only those who have officially reported their cases are eligible to apply.
Instagram Pages to follow; @afrowyf, @adebolaadefioye1, @grittyeducators
Image credit: ebony.com

There are so many Nigerians living in the diaspora making us proud, Adebola Adefioye is one of them. She is not only raising the flag high, but also empowering other women while at it.

She  is a proven resilient woman whose work with women and youth span over 10 years. She coordinated the “For Girls Only” program at The Real Woman Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria for some years. Aside from her natural interest in the social sector, she has also deployed professional services in the childcare sector. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Ontario and an alumna of Coady International Institute where she studied Advancing Women Leadership in Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding and Community Development.

Adebola is a Certified Speaker, Coach and Trainer with The John Maxwell Team and she founded Afro Women and Youth Foundation, an organization she started to support the holistic development of vulnerable African women, girls, and youth. This is where she deploys her advocacy strengths and leadership skills to deconstruct the enormous, socially constructed injustices in the society while empowering, mentoring, and developing leadership skills of marginalized populations.

Adebola is married with 3 adorable children. Her social entrepreneurship and educational commitment work got recognition recently as she was named the recipient for the 2020 HELIX Female Entrepreneurship Award and Walker Wood Foundation Early Childhood Educator Award at Seneca College, Ontario, Canada. She was also nominated as a Woman of Inspiration at Universal Women’s Network, Canada.

She is a professional member of the College of Early Childhood Education (CECE), Ontario, Family Support Institute of Ontario (FSIO) and Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario (AECEO) Canada.

Childhood Influence

Yes, growing up prepared me for what I am doing now. Growing up was good until things turned around when my father had to retire earlier than planned from his banking job in Nigeria because the bank wanted to recruit young graduates. Our family’s financial situation changed quickly because we are a polygamous family and the available funds were no longer enough for all. I had to drop out of the University of Ado-Ekiti and struggled a lot by myself after that event but all the experiences helped me to build resilience and now I can relate when I see young girls going through a difficult situation.


Inspiration behind  Afro Women and Youth foundation

I have always known that women and girls are very vulnerable, and as a new immigrant, I faced some difficulties. I experience subtle racism regularly and my daughter experienced it very hard from Grade 2-3 because she was the only black girl in class. I kept coaching her on how best to handle it. Eventually, she built enough confidence and she started speaking up whenever necessary. Last year, she won the award for Most Confident Child in grade 5. My personal experience and my daughter’s inspired me to start the Afro Women and Youth Foundation.  At AWYF, we currently run monthly empowerment events for marginalized African women, girls and youth in Toronto, Canada. Some of our past sessions include (The Resilient Woman, Be The Best, How to Handle Peer Pressure, Integration in Canada Positive Parenting Strategies etc).

 The journey been so far?

It has been very fulfilling. Helping others makes me and my team very happy. We just hope the people we are helping now will someday extend the love to other people.

Being the recipient  of the 2020 HELIX Female Entrepreneurship Award , and Several notable Awards in Canada

I felt very good. I worked very hard as a club leader, mentor, and tutor to other students at the college and also support new African immigrants in my community. I am very happy and thankful.

Challenges of being a Social Entrepreneur

Getting sustainable funds to implement my transformative ideas has been the most challenging part of my work. This is because we are a new nonprofit. I am very grateful for the individuals and organizations that currently support my work and very hopeful for more support and collaborations.

 3 Women Who Inspire you to be better and why?

My mother is my greatest inspiration. I watched her return to school after 6 children and moved herself out of dependency to becoming an independent woman. She has also faced many other challenges but she remains strong.

Pastor Adenike Adeyemi is another person I strongly admire and working at her organization (The Real Woman Foundation) for 4 years as the “For Girls Only” program coordinator further prepared me for the social developmental work I do today.

Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, the executive director of Field of Skills and Dreams, Lagos is another great inspiration to me. She employed me as Hat & Beads Trainer after I dropped out of the University and moved to Lagos from Ibadan. I watched her every day at work as she runs her business with strong principles.

Bridging the gap between my work in Canada and Nigeria

 We recently started virtual training that is open to women and youth living in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. We just concluded a Self-Care training for educators last month and people joined from Burundi and Nigeria. We also did another one for youth and all who attended both events were given cash gifts by a sponsor as COVID-19 relief.

AWYF will be celebrating the 1st anniversary in September and to mark the event, we will be launching an Interest-free small business loan for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) victims who have established small businesses. This is coming with the help of a sponsor who is interested in fighting GBV in Nigeria. This intervention program will be delivered in partnership with Attitude Development International (ADI) and only those who have officially reported their experience and have started their businesses will be eligible for the funds. These are things Nigerian women can benefit from.

 Being a Social Entrepreneur,  Research Assistant at Seneca College, a Mom and wife, and managing it all

I am a strong-willed person and I think multi-tasking is one of my gifts. I also have a very supportive husband who is equally a social entrepreneur and believes in women’s empowerment.

The pandemic has made a lot of Nigerian women vulnerable, What coping mechanism advice would you give to these women at a time like this.

 I would recommend regular breathing exercises. Every woman should regularly make a list of things they are thankful for as those can bring great joy in this difficult time. Also, it is important to hang out with good friends who make you happy. It could be a physical or virtual connection, but we all need that sense of connection at this time. Lastly, I’ll say, ask for help when you need it. I must also add that women should please speak out when experiencing any form of violence.

 Being  a Woman of Rubies?

I have had many negative experiences over the years and through mentorship, coaching and personal development, I have learned how to consistently bounce back and thrive in the face of adversity. Most importantly, helping others to do the same is what makes me a Woman of Rubies.

Speaking, Training, Mentoring and Coaching Services

You can contact Adebola if you need her to speak at your event or interested in her mentorship/coaching programs. She also provides Qualitative professional Early Childhood Educator training to schools, religious or any child-focused organizations.

Website: www.afrowyf.org

Instagram:@adebolaadefioye1

Facebook: Adebola Taiwo Adefioye

LinkedIn: Adebola Adefioye

WhatsApp:+1(905)955-8667