Friday, January 19, 2018

Eden Tadesseib


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Her mission to rebrand remains firm and affirmative

Zuriel Oduwole1Can you remember all the amazing things you accomplished as a child? I bet you’d remember if some of those things were interviewing political leaders, speaking at international conferences, meeting former US president Bill Clinton or filming a documentary, right? Well for 11-year old Zuriel Oduwole, these are just some of the most notable things she can cross off of her bucket list.

Zuriel is an 11 year old American girl of Nigerian and Mauritian descent. She is currently in grade 8, and is working hard to accomplish her academic objectives. In an interview with a BBC Correspondent, she said “My education always comes first, no matter what”. She works very hard to balance her school projects with her extracurricular activities. During her free time, she says “She enjoys nothing more than to play her Nintendo Wii and board games with her family’

Zuriel made history as the youngest person ever to be interviewed by the popular and distinguished magazine, Forbes. Zuriel is more than just a girl with a dream. Zuriel Oduwole2Her motivation to create social change drives her to accomplish many worthy titles. Zuriel can be identified throughout the world as a remarkable youth activist, writer, interviewer, conference speaker and award-winning documentary/film maker. She has interviewed more than 10 current African Presidents. Zuriel is currently travelling the globe campaigning and raising awareness for her social cause ‘Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up’, where she inspires young girls to accomplish their mission.  Zuriel’s ‘Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up’ campaign is being used as a platform to showcase the influential work Zuriel is involved in around the globe.

Zuriel (which is Hebrew for ‘God is my Rock’) believes that paving the way, she will inspire many young girls to embark on a similar humanitarian journey. Zuriel Oduwole3As a young girl herself, she is concerned of the fact that not every young girl out there has the right to get an education or a chance to fulfill their dreams.

Publicized as the next Oprah Winfrey, Zuriel is committed to rebranding Africa by showing the positive things about the continent, and campaigning for girl’s education. Her mission to rebrand remains firm and affirmative: “When I watch the news, I find that most of the news about Africa was always negative, so I thought I could show something that was positive like a successful revolution”.

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Justice for Hanna

16-year old Hanna Lalango passed away on November 1st 2014, after five men kidnapped, tortured and brutally assaulted her in a gang rape far from her hometown. One of the five abusers is said to be married with a baby on the way.

On the day of her kidnapping, Hanna had complained about hot feeling well before leaving to school. Hanna supposedly left school around 4:00pm and got in to a minibus with her friend.

Little did she know that she was being ambushed by her classmate who she believed to be her friend all along. Her friend wanted vengeance for something Hanna had done to her. At this point, no one, not even Hanna’s parents can confirm what this was.

There were a couple of passengers already in the minibus when Hanna had entered with her friend. They allegedly were the kidnappers, the soon-to-be rapists – and her friend was the accomplice. When things started seeming suspicious for Hanna, she demanded to be let out of the minibus. Straightaway, the culprits threatened Hanna with a knife telling her to stay put.

The perpetrators took Hanna to one of the suspect’s house. There they raped her for, according to Hanna’s father, “at least five days” and held her captive for nearly 11 days.

2Nearly two weeks later, Hanna was found lying unconscious in an abandoned area near the outskirts of the city. The suspects had left her there to die. Random passers-by found her and immediately took her to the nearest hospital where she could seek medical help. From there on, Hanna was able to unite with her close family and friends.

Hanna’s family spent several days going back and forth between different referral hospitals waiting to be admitted. Hanna suffered from a number of injuries, one of them being fistula. She died 19 days after she was found.

Shortly after Hanna’s death, renowned Ethiopian TV host Seifu Fantahun sat down with Hanna’s father in a public interview broadcasted nationwide. The purpose of this interview was to clarify many assumptions being made to this story and to ask Hanna’s father many pending questions sought out by the general public. I have extracted a short script of the interview:

[Seifu]: Did the kidnappers have any unresolved issues with your family? Would there be any reason as to why they’d hurt your youngest daughter?

[Mr. Lalango]: I have never seen any of the kidnappers before in my life. They don’t know us and we don’t know them. After they kidnapped my Hanna from school, after they tortured her for days and left her in a secluded area…they eventually appeared in court which is when I saw them for the first time.

[Seifu]: So this whole rumour that they had something against your family was false?

[Mr. Lalango]: Absolutely. No one in our family has ever seen or heard of them before.

Before Hanna passed away, she is reportedly said to have identified three out of the five suspects from her hospital bed. The other two, excluding her friend are still missing.

The case was first reported at the Addis Ababa First Instance Court. Many concerned individuals came to show their support. Members of the Media (reporters, journalists etc.) and the Addis Ababa Women’s Association were also present

The 3 suspects were brought in by the police (2 are still missing). The judge allowed them to say a few words to the public before the case was officially postponed. All three suspects deemed that they were innocent and didn’t see why they were being accused of committing such a heinous crime. Of course, the public didn’t buy it. First off, these three suspects were the same men that Hanna confirmed of raping her. Secondary to that, in many cases which focus on sexual assault (i.e. rape, molestation, sexual harassment or groping), it is quite common for the abuser (i.e. the accused) to deny all the charges and claim that the victim had “asked for it” or “wanted it”.

Currently, the public is waiting for all five men to be brought to justice.

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"I created a resource mobilization project called Pencil Mountain that has delivered over half a million school resources to Ethiopian children," Hannah Godefa

As a child, have you ever been asked what you wanted to be in the future? Your answer most probably leaned towards ‘To be rich’ or ‘To be a pilot’ or ‘To be successful’ – all short yet very distinct dreams that we all aspire to fulfill.

This young girl was quite different.

You hear about people like her once in a blue moon.

What 16-year old Hannah Godefa wanted to do as a child was improve people’s lives by providing them with basic educational facilities… and indeed she did!

She believes that every child deserves the right to education and more than just believing, she campaigns.

Her most famous campaign ‘Pencil Mountain’ has delivered more than half a million books, pencils and school materials to children in rural Ethiopia. She has been featured on the Huffington post, Ethiopian Press, Global Post, the Guardian and the like.

Hannah has been appointed as UNICEF’s Youth Ambassador for Ethiopia as well as Canada for her remarkable efforts in charity work and various fundraising efforts. She is also been named Goodwill Ambassador of Human rights.

Hannah has met Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper and the Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. She is an idol to many including myself, and she continues to spread her humanitarian efforts into making this world a better place to live in.

You can contact Hannah Godefa directly on her Facebook page: Hannah Godefa

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“I believe we are all born with a special gift” – Nejat Abdella

In school they’ll tell you the only way you’ll be successful in life is though studying day-and-night and scoring high on exams, and although many people follow this principle, it isn’t entirely true. Look at people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, they dropped out of college to follow their dream and it turned out to be the million-dollar company they never imagined. This means there’s more to the equation than cramming books and pulling an all-nighter to write essays, right? Ms. Nejat Abella says ‘To be successful, you need something else other than knowledge: social skills’

Nejat Abdella is a young, inspiring, passionate Business Advisor for the United Nations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She went to high school at Sandford International School (Ethiopia) and later on after pursuing her IB Diploma Programme she got a Full Scholarship to attend Trent University. After finishing University, Nejat came back to Ethiopia to give back to the youth community that she believed to have so much potential. She started her own social enterprise called ‘JU90’ which places IB (International Baccalaureate) seniors in organizations that match their field of work interest. The students then undergo a 6-month internship with the organization learning and developing both personally and professionally. These skills help them in their future (e.g. university applications, career pathways).

 NejatAbdullahEstablished in 2013, JU90 combines projects and initiatives to harness  ones potential and social skills. JU90 believes that you perceive  development from within than from anywhere else. As development is  a  series of progression rather than a destination, JU90 contributes to  this  process by instilling positive changes. It fosters innovation and  entrepreneurial spirit to youth.

Schools are wonderful institutions that act as a fountain of knowledge for  everyone – yet, they often miss out on things that matter like happiness,  passion, commitment and so on. These are extraordinary qualities you pick up when you experience firsthand what the business environment is like.

JU90 has already opened doors for so many youths to explore their talent, discover life-changing opportunities and experience a truly meaningful time in their assigned placement organizations!



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