Meet the Princess who’s literally ‘Coming to America’ and learn more about her mission to “Rise Above Terror.”
Tell us about your humanitarianism and what motivates you.
I firmly believe that we are all created for a purpose. Each with his or her “calling”. Most people go through life not knowing what their purpose is, not knowing what truly gives them fulfillment and peace; that’s why despite having “everything” they are never truly happy.
Fortunately for me, I discovered my purpose is to be an instrument in God’s hands and help people in 2003 when I became a humanitarian. My family and childhood friends are not surprised by my dedication to humanity because they all saw it in me long before I recognized it. I have always been sympathy and sensitive to the plight of others. It comes naturally to me.
What is Rise Above Terror and what it’s objective and goals are?
Terrorism is an issue of concern for every country. Africa is not exempt from terrorist attacks. Since 2002, Africa’s deadliest terrorist group, Boko Haram has displaced millions of innocent men, women and children and left tens of thousands dead.
This led to the creation of Empower54’s Rise Above Terror campaign that focuses on using empowerment and educational programs to rehabilitate survivors of Boko Haram attacks living in refugee camps in North Eastern Nigeria.
Since February 2015, we commenced rehabilitating hundreds of women and children in refugee camps in North East Nigeria by empowering the women with monies to start businesses, created schools at the refugee camps for the children and rebuilding schools destroyed by Boko Haram.
We aim at empowering the women to become self-sufficient in order to fend for them and their children. Provide opportunities for skills acquisition for those that lack any revenue generating skills. Encourage and promote education for both boys and girls in North East Nigeria and provide safe learning environment for the children.
When and why did you decide to begin to help Boko Haram victims when the world seemed to move on and forget about them?
I live primarily in Abuja, Nigeria and I know first hand that till date, many of us still live in fear of suicide attacks by Boko Haram. Long before Empower54 got involved with rehabilitating IDP women and children, we all agreed that those IDPs could be any of us at any point in time. No one knows when and where these terrorists will strike. This is evident in terrorist attacks all over the world.
When the world moves on and forgets survivors of terrorism, it shows great irresponsibility on all of us, because it means we have become highly desensitized to the harsh reality that we could be these people at any point in time.
In late 2014, decided to evaluate what was being done to help the survivors of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria and discovered nothing beyond relief (donation of foods, buckets, mattresses, etc) were being given to them. That was very disturbing because those donations are great, but they wont help these victims rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society.
If anything, it was also making many of them become dependant on living in the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, which is a great danger as the Nigerian government cannot afford to financially sustain permanent IDP camps all over the North East.
In January 2015, we commenced our Rise Above Terror campaign which empowers the women to become self –sufficient through trade and the children through education.
Tell us about your upcoming fundraiser event in Atlanta.
Our upcoming charity gala on Saturday April 30th 2016 at the Besharat Gallery, is the maiden edition of our annual art charity gala. We intend holding one every year in Atlanta.
This maiden edition on April 30th is focused on raising funds through the auction of stunning African arts, we plan to raise funds to continue our Rise Above Terror campaign that establishes schools in IDP camps and rebuilding schools destroyed by Boko Haram in North East Nigeria.
We will be auctioning stunning African Paintings and breathtaking handicrafts representing the Kings, Queens, traditions, and rich history of the legendary ancient Benin Kingdom (Edo State, Nigeria)
Stunning paintings by Nigerian painters El-Dragg Leonard Okwoju, Damola Adepoju, Bimbo Adenugba, Abdulrazaq Ahmed, Shonibare Olatunbosun, Stanley Anyanwu and Tega Akpokoma will be auctioned to support to this cause.
Some of our partners are The City of Atlanta, Desmond & Leah Tutu Foundation, Borno State Government (Nigeria), Coca-Cola, Andrew Young Foundation, Africa Atlanta, Besharat Gallery, Nigeria High Consulate (Atlanta), Body Enhancement Ltd.
Where can people donate?
For people that wish to attend the event, there are two categories of tickets. The VIP Exclusive, which was for $100 but that, is sold out. We still have VIP tickets for $50 available for sale on our event brite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/empower54s-annual-african-art-charity-gala-tickets-21475332297
People that can’t attend can view all the pieces and bid online http://empower54.org/auction.php. For people that wish to support us via donations, they can visit our website, www.empower54 and donate via different mediums available there and stay updated on our activities by following us on the following social media avenues: