Hauwa Ojeifo, the founder of Nigerian charity She Writes Woman has been honoured this week by the Queen for her work on bringing mental health to the front line in Nigeria. The charity is the first women only mental illness charity with a 24hr helpline- the first in the country, providing a safe place and support for women going through depression.
Launched in 2014, the Queen’s Young Leaders Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. This year’s awards are the final recipients of the award.
She Writes Woman was borne out of a need to address the lack of understanding and stigma associated with mental illness and the acknowledgement of the existence of the condition. Twenty Five year old Hauwa, who founded the charity in 2015, has herself experienced what it feels like to hit rock bottom and pick yourself back up again. Following a diagnosis of bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder in December 2015, she set out to make sense of her diagnosis, seeking support groups but could not find any. She needed a crisis helpline whilst plagued with suicidal thoughts, paranoia and delusions, but didn’t find any. To make sure others didn’t have to go through this alone. she founded her own mental health support charity, which has grown from strength to strength.
A thrilled Hauwa joined a cohort including other inspirational youths from across the common wealth, all of whom have been selected for their wonderful contributions to the advancement of their home countries. Hauwa’s story is a lesson on never giving up hope even when all seems lost. Look for that light at the end of the tunnel.
We wish her every luck with this amazing venture!
RARE MOMENTS. Starting off the week remembering what happened right after this picture. Yet another not-random and incredibly profound moment. . At dinner a couple of days ago with former UK Prime Minister and current Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Sir John Major, I'm pictured with the Secretary-General of The Commonwealth of Nations (@commonwealth_sec), Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC and the moment went like this – . Secretary-General: My Nigerian Sister, you're going to do great things. . Me: (in my usual smiley unsure way) Really? Maybe. . Secretary-General: (In a moment of straight face and matter-of-fact) You'll see. . Me: (dawns on me) oh wow. ____ Today, I am grateful for the discernment of strangers, coaches, leaders who lift me up, teachers and mentors who told me I would be great as early as 12 years. . These moments are transformative. In this moment, without a shadow of a doubt, with the help of 'my Nigerian sister', I know I will do great things. . RARE MOMENTS. #MondayMotivation 👭💛 . P.s. We're both carrying MADE IN NIGERIA handbags 🇳🇬 #QueensYoungLeaders