In October this year, Tiffany Amber, a Nigerian timeless and iconic fashion label unveils her “Meet Nigeria’s Women of Vision” campaign to celebrate 15 years of being the foremost fashion brand in Africa with outstanding global recognition. In partnership with Diamond Woman, an initiative of Diamond Bank, the campaign is designed specifically for women, by women, providing women with financial, business and lifestyle advice, helping them to achieve their aspirations.
A number of outstanding women are on this list of “Nigerian’s Women of Vision”. The 15 selected women have been strategically involved in social change, achieving success and power in their career path. They are unstoppable, bold, high-reaching and fearless; they grab life by the balls, they are not your typical everyday women. These women are testimonies to the force of the human spirit when committed to a definite purpose. Ola Orekunrin is one of the selected 15.
Dr. Ola Orekunrin, a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians is the founder of “Flying Doctors Nigeria”, the first air ambulance service in West Africa. Born and bred in the UK, Ola studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of York after which she was awarded the Japanese MEXT scholarship to further her studies in Tokyo, Japan. She then returned to Europe after graduation and worked for ten years with the National Health Service, United Kingdom as a helicopter pilot with specialized training in aviation medicine. She was surely destined for bigger things and promising career in medicine in the UK, but something changed – something that made a difference in Nigeria, and in the whole of West Africa.
She was quoted to have been inspired by a Paul Rusesabagina (played by Don Cheadle) quote in “Hotel Rwanda” a 2004 historical drama film based on real life events in Rwanda during the spring of 1994. “There will be no rescue, no intervention for us. We can only save ourselves. Many of you know influential people abroad, you must call these people. You must tell them what will happen to us… say goodbye. But when you say goodbye, say it as if you are reaching through the phone and holding their hand. Let them know that if they let go of that hand, you will die. We must shame them into sending help.”
So when she lost her 12-year-old sister who was travelling in Nigeria at the time due to the fact that a suitable medical facility that could treat her would not be activated in time to save her, she knew she had to do something, and she did. Dr. Ola quit her job, gave up her political dreams, sold her car and house in the UK and traveled with a one-way ticket to Lagos.
Today, Dr. Ola Orekunrin is saving hundreds of lives across the West African region by rendering medical evacuation services, remote site clinic management, First Aid training and other medical solutions. She has received several awards recognizing her role in shaping the future or Nigeria and Africa as a whole. In 2013, the World Economic Forum recognized Dr. Orekunrin’s achievements by naming her amongst its prestigious Young Global Leaders Class of 2013, a group it describes as the best of today’s leaders under the age of 40.
About the author: Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at www.chrisbamidele.wordpress.com and tweets @Chrisbamidele. He currently lives in Lagos.