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International Women’s Day celebrates women all over the world, highlighting women’s achievements in all professional fields and aspects of society. In doing so, the day raises awareness against bias and supports a gender-equal world. 

After taking its first steps towards rebuilding after an eleven year-long civil war, Sierra Leone was overwhelmed with the devastating Ebola outbreak which resulted in almost 4000 deaths and left over 12,000 children orphaned. 

The consequences for children in Sierra Leone continue to be dire, with young girls the ones that suffer the most with no one to care for them. Young girls were too often subjected to rape, forced into marriage and abandoned.

Mabinty (left) and Mary (right), both teenagers, were forced to leave their family homes and commence a life on the streets of Freetown after each was discovered to be pregnant.

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Although not an uncommon occurrence in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, there are little to no support structures in place for young girls in these situations. With little hope for their own futures, the girls’ focus is on the health and safety of their unborn babies. 

For Mabinty and Mary, hope is found at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre - a comprehensive maternity hospital that provides free healthcare to pregnant women and children along with skills and training to help women take control of their financial future after the birth of their baby. 

The Aminata Maternal Foundation helps fund the Aberdeen Women’s Centre and provides support to pregnant young women in vulnerable circumstances. At the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, professional health practitioners help the girls to restore their dignity and start planning for their future. 

Prior to coming to Aberdeen Women’s Centre, the future for Mabinty and Mary was bleak and frightening. Now with healthy, newborn babies, Mabinty and Mary are earning income-generating skills to become financially independent and have begun, for the first time in a long time, to dream of a better future.  Mabinty plans to one day become a doctor and hopes that her son will become a nurse.

The Aminata Maternal Foundation believes that all women should be allowed to deliver a baby in safety. We believe that teenage girls should be given an opportunity to dream big and build a plan for their future. We believe that each one among us has the power to transform lives for an equal and enabled world.

If you support these dreams, this International Women’s Day takes a step towards a more equal world and give to the Aminata Maternal Foundation. Making healthcare equal for women in Sierra Leone. #EachForEqual

Find out how you can continue to support more women and their babies future in Sierra Leone.

Do you want to hear more about Mary and Mabinty? 

READ THEIR STORIES

Blessing

March 5, 2020

On 9th January 2020, Blessing a 16-year-old girl delivered a beautiful baby girl. However, her story is one of sadness and shows the engrained misinformation around sexual and gender-based violence and the age of consent in Sierra Leone. Blessing from the slum area of Dwarzak in Freetown was happily attending school and studying hard, living […]

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Mabinty

March 5, 2020

Mabinty Conteh grew up in a village with her mother and father until her father abandoned the family when she was eight years old. When Mabinty was sixteen, a woman from Freetown came to her village on business and promised Mabinty and her mother a better life and a better education for Mabinty. After a […]

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Mary

March 5, 2020

Eighteen-year-old Mary Sesay was living with her older sister in Aberdeen when she became pregnant. Soon after she learned this she was told to leave her home because the space was too small for both mother and child. At this point, the father of her unborn baby became emotionally and physically abusive to Mary. Now […]

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Zainab (Aged 16)

May 24, 2018

We heard of Zainab before our trip to Sierra Leone in September 2016.  She was 15 years old and 37 weeks pregnant. She lives in one of the districts of Port Loko with her partner’s family. Six weeks later, when we arrived in Sierra Leone, Zainab had yet to go into labour, and had not […]

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Jakia (Aged 27)

May 24, 2018

We came across Jakia when we visited the Kroo Bay slum in Sierra Leone Freetown.  Jakia came running to us because she had heard that a midwife from the Aberdeen Women’s Centre was visiting. Jakia was five months pregnant, having lost her first two precious children.  Kroo is often described as the worst place in […]

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Zainab (Aged 37)

May 24, 2018

Zainab was brought to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre for fistula repair surgery by Aberdeen Women’s Centre outreach nurses, from her remote village in Moyamba District. She had been suffering with fistula for a couple of years. She explained to us when she went into labour her family was unable to take her to hospital and […]

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"It is important for me to support ovarian cancer simply because it is a woman issue. I realise that anything that affects any woman will affect me too. Women issues are not talked about and I personally feel like there is more noise then action. Also as a woman of colour we find it difficult to talk about diseases. Where I come from, in Sierra Leone West Africa, there is absolutely no knowledge, research or cures for any type of cancers. So again, any women issues, I make my issues.⁠

Since the beginning of time, any issues or concerns that are about women's bodies, feel like taboos. Women even find it difficult to talk to each other. We as women also have to invest in our courses, especially when it comes to our wellbeing."⁠

— author, mother and former refugee turned CEO @aminata_conteh_biger on the talk with @camillaandmarc to support ground-breaking research for an early detection test ❤️❤️

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed too late. Improved early detection, just as treatment, is key in the fight against the disease for more women than ever surviving it. To donate now, please follow the link: https://ovaries-talk-about-them.raisely.com/.

Photo: Our fierce advocate for women @aminata_conteh_biger along with her children Serafina and Matissee.
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The power of storytelling is truly unmatched. In the podcast by BroadTalk, our incredible CEO @aminata_conteh_biger spoke about her kidnapping and proved her bravery that predominated as a then-18-year-old shines through to this day.

However, sex slavery and rape are not all that define a person. "I didn't want to be pitied, or for people to help me because they knew my story" (Aminata during the BroadTalk Podcast).

Sharing experiences through discourse is vital to speaking out against human rights issues globally. Unfortunately, the way society receives the story can depend on the ethnicity of the storyteller. We continue to ask ourselves why (in 2021 especially) does the validity of a story become devalued on the basis of one’s appearance? We must appreciate the vulnerability it takes to open up about one's experiences, the good and the not-so-good, but simultaneously respect that it is their story to tell - another compelling notion explored by Amii in the podcast.

Have you listened to the podcast yet? Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or online on the BroadAgenda website

#broadtalk #genderequality #aminatamaternalfoundation #storytelling #humanrights #podcast #rapeawareness
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Aminata’s story. When one of the vicious rebel snatches her in the arms of her beloved father during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Now she has rebuilt herself. And this has nothing to do with luck but a strong personality & moral strength to create then a charity - The Aminata Maternal Foundation - which helps women and their children be born in Amii's country of origin.
Now that she has learned to fly again, a new angel contributes to improving the world. To read her book, Rising Heart, and contribute to the cause: https://www.aminata.co/ (also available as an audiobook)
Illustration by @thenakedsloth ♥️
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A choice is the greatest thing humanity has been gifted with. Occassionally choices can be morally challenging, but it is important to stand up for what is right - especially when we advocate for the rights of others. The #internationalwomensday2021 theme focalises exactly upon this notion. "From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge" (IWD, via the official IWD website). You can help us #choosetochallenge as we continue to support all women, mothers and their babies in Sierra Leone, to create long-lasting positive change in their lives. Together as a team we can choose to challenge the gender parity surrounding women's autonomy and enable them to make their own decisions regarding their access to healthcare.

#internationalwomensday #IWD2021#genderquality #womensrights #womenempowerment #womensday #sierraleone #amf
#aminatamaternalfoundation #choosetochallenge
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Here are some lovely women from our trip to Aberdeen Women's Centre in Sierra Leone before COVID-19. Everyone has their own story to tell that is shaped by their cultural, social and physical context. At AMF during March we would like to continue highlighting how women's experiences are an on-going narrative. We should never stop celebrating the success of women just because International Women's Day is over!

#internationalwomensday #IWD2021#genderquality #womensrights #womenempowerment #womensday #sierraleone #amf
#aminatamaternalfoundation #choosetochallenge
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