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Zainab (Aged 16)

Outreach midwife Bernadette reassures Zainab

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 been seen by a doctor. Local practice is to wait till labour commences before seeking medical, and even then assistance is usually not sought.  At 43 weeks, this seemed a dangerous option for the young Zainab.

We visited Zainab’s village, together with Aberdeen Women’s Centre midwife Bernadette, and asked for permission from her community to take Zainab to AWC in Freetown.  After two days of negotiations with three villages, we were finally given permission to take Zainab and her sister in law to AWC in Freetown.

Zainab, delivered her baby boy the following day via c-section and she and her healthy baby were returned to her family and community.

The wonderful news is that now everyone in Zainab’s village knows, and importantly, trusts the work of the Aberdeen Women Centre.

Zainab is featured in our SBS Dateline documentary. Please go to this link to watch the full documentary of Daughter of Sierra Leone.

Behind every woman at AWC is a story as compelling as those of the 2 Zainabs and Jakia, and they are the reason we have partnered with Freedom From Fistula and Aberdeen Women’s Centre to ensure their health and safety.

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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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