A Graduate of Business Administration (International Business) at Bells University Ota, Ogun State (Bachelors’), the ICMA Centre Henley Business School, University of Reading UK (Masters’ Degree) and a professional certificate from Fashion Institute Malaysia. Hauwa Ojeifo still has more to her than meets those qualifications. Without batting an eyelid, it will be right to describe her as a fashion designer, a life, mind and mental coach and professionally, a financial analyst. But over and above that, the 25 year old indigene of Edo state, strikes the chords heroes’ strike when she struts her catwalk on the streets of Nigeria; Hauwa’s desire is to end the stigma associated with mental disorders especially in Nigeria.
Hauwa has had a life that is a mix of ‘a little bit of both’; a great and a normal life yet, a turbulent and abnormal life. In 2015, she was diagnosed with bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder. But facing this issue all on her own without any major support to help her pull through was what eventually Hauwa’s motivation became. Hauwa was motivated to establish the ‘She Writes Women’ movement in April 2016, which was intended to serve as a channel through which she could express herself and help other mental health problems. The She Writes Women movement aims at helping and supporting women suffering from mental disorders. In July 2016, the movement successfully created a helpline that functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hauwa Ojeifo: The ‘She Writes Woman’
In laymen’s terms, the ‘She Writes Woman’ is a platform founded by Hauwa Ojeifo, which aims to raise awareness about mental illnesses in Nigeria, and give people who battle with these issues a voice. She shares her struggles with depression and suicidal inclinations, while also providing solutions for others in a similar boat. In order to strengthen her resolve and commitment to these process, Hauwa has partnered with some organizations like Wiki loves women in order to reach more women and also create awareness about mental health problems. At the same time, trying to end the stigma associated with mental disorder in Nigeria.
The motivation and the driving force for Hauwa, is her being a direct party of such an experience and a primary ‘victim of the circumstance’, as well as, the prejudices surrounding mentally challenged people. Having had firsthand experiences of these then, has positioned Hauwa to aim at being and speaking as a voice for women with mental health problems. Her movement does a lot, which ranges from providing monthly support for mental patients, providing therapy, and help from counsellors, coaches and psychiatrist and also pay visits to abandoned patients of psychiatric hospitals.
Recently her effort to change lives and provide help was recognized by the Queen of England (alongside two other Young Nigerians) and for this, she was a recipient of the Queens Young Leaders award, and interestingly, she was the only female Nigerian. Historically then, she has fallen into the category of the recipients of the first-ever Queen’s Young Leaders award.
Besides the She Writes Women Movement, Hauwa also owns the Mariam Moussa creation, a fashion enterprise which she started in the year 2010.
We celebrate our everyday hero for her significant contributions; not just to those suffering and being stigmatized because of their mental challenges, but also for the entirety of Nigeria and humanity. Little drops of water fills the pool; little acts of kindness can remarkably, positively impact humanity and the world. Hauwa gives us a template to follow! Our Everyday Hero, Hauwa Ojeifo.
Featured image source: Face2Face Africa