My Hero for the Int'l Women's Day 2011 is Bridget Anyafulu. She is the Executive Director and founder of the Int'l Centre For Women Empowerment and Child Development (ICWECD), a non-governmental organisation committed to empowering women and saving the lives of pregnant women and newborns.
From the first day I met her, I was won over by her honesty and simplicity. Through ICWECD, Barr Anyafulu offers pro-bono legal aid to women and young girls who cannot afford legal aid. She takes in young pregnant girls abandoned by their parents and relatives off the streets, takes them for regular antenatal care and provides for them until they give birth then reconciles them with their families. She also provides for widows and is paying school fees for so many orphans and vulnerable children.
Bridget Anyafulu is the only woman I know who will stop her car anywhere on the streets to intervene in a tussle when a young woman is involved, she uses her last penny to ensure that no one around her goes hungry. She is the one to call if you find yourself in any sort of crises at any time, day or night and you need a speedy response. Her staff are her family and she takes their worries as her own.
"My hero" is never afraid to challenge the government and she does so frequently at every opportunity she gets while praising them for their achievements. She has represented Nigeria and Delta State in many National and International Forums and has organised many programmes and outreach activities to campaign against maternal and child mortality, malaria and other health issues.
She is a woman of integrity and a role model for youths. She is consistent and generous even in lack and she is a strong advocate for women's rights and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. She was recently nominated for an award of excellence by a non-governmental organisation and will receive that award on the International Women's Day in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.
She achieves all these feats in spite of funding challenges and remains undaunted and focussed. She is indeed my hero and I'm honored to know her.