Monday, October 29, 2012


Sujitha, a niece of Bill Hess, (my friend and cat lover from Alaska  who raised life saving money for my cats neuter in 2009)  intends to take a trip to Kenya soon in honour of her late sister Sandy. Sandy's parting was particularly sad as she ended her own life after the tragic accident that claimed her husband's life. Moving on has not been easy  for Sujitha since Sandy's passing. One thing that has kept Sujitha going in the midst of turbulence emotions is the remebrance of the kindness of her sister to others. Her devotion to helping everyone. Sujitha has decided to make a trip to Kenya where she will be helping orphans with HIV infections at Nyumbani's children's home.

Dearest Friends,
I pray this email reaches as many as possible and I hope each one of you will take an action: either to donate or forward this to your family and friends. 
For everybody who knows me, you will easily get why I am doing this. For others - just trust the person who has forwarded this to you. He/she is definitely my friend and knows me well.  

Past: I have always been emotional and since my childhood I remember giving alms to everyone on the street. Maybe I picked this up from my sister who would have learned it from my mum. I remember not taking change from vegetable vendors on the street because I felt deeply for their poverty. When my Doctor aunt started living with us, I used to visit her clinic every evening and was deeply moved by her nature – how she helped her patients who could not afford to give her a mere 5 or 10 rupees. This was in the early 90's. 

Present: Things changed when I started my college and never took part in any volunteer services. My sister, on the other hand, devoted her life to helping others. She worked with many NGO's and her dream was to build an old age home. Then the accident happened. I lost my sister and brother-in-law. Then things changed even more. I started looking at her work and understood that it went deeper even than I had realized - she touched people’s lives in many different ways. She was born to serve – not only people, but creatures big and small. So many times she stopped to pick up cats and dogs hit by cars or trucks on the busy streets of Bangalore. She even broke taboo to rescue an electrocuted crow! This is how my sister was and if she were still alive I am sure she would be caring for a cat or dog she had recently rescued even now, at the very moment I type this. 

Future: The time has now come for me to help make my sister’s dreams come true. I am motivated – more so than I have ever been before. I am honored to announce that I have been accepted into a volunteer program at the Nyumbani Children's Home in Kenya. Please have a look at their website here:
This is where my heart belongs. This is what I want to do. As my sister always did, I want to help others. 
am currently raising funds to get me to Kenya and to help support the work I will be involved in at the children’s home. My sincere request to all of you is to please share this with your friends you trust. I have been asked to come down in early November* or anytime I am ready. I am ready now.  (New target date: April).
I know many of you are already doing things elsewhere and this might come as an unexpected expense. But please do spare whatever you can from your savings and transfer it to my account details below. A generous contribution of even 1000Rs will help greatly – about $18.00, but why not round it out to $20?

Below are some details I have taken from the website to help you understand the expenses we need for the future of Nyumbani children:  
As you might imagine, meeting the medical, educational and daily living needs of each child requires significant financial resources.  Each month it costs approximately $11,000 for general maintenance including salaries to operate the children’s home. Within the Nyumbani community, here are some of our monthly expenses:
• General costs to cover basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing) are  $250 per month for each child
• Medical attention for each child (e.g., general check ups, lab work, immunizations, sick visits) is  $30 per month for each child
• Medication, excluding ARV medications is $50 per month for each child 
• Educational needs (e.g., public school fees, books, uniforms) are approximately $99 per month for each child in Secondary School and $ 20 per month per child in Primary School.
• Cottage expenses (e.g., school supplies, cleaning materials, staff support) are approximately $225 per month ...

Once you have done this, rest assured that you have brought a smile to a kid’s face and touched his and her life in your own way, whereever you are , whoever you are.  You will make a difference. 
Thank You, 

She needs about £900 for this trip. To put a smile of the face of these orphans and to feel close to her sister whose act of kindness lives on. Bill has now opened a pay pal for her. Pls donate if you believe in putting a smile on the face of others... For the donation button and details kindly click

 Together we make the world a better place.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Honourable Chairman,
The leader of the Legislative and Hon. members of Akoko Edo Legislative Council,
Royal Fathers here present,
All other protocols duely observed.
My name is Priscilla Usiobaifo. I work with the BraveHeart Initiative for Youth & Women. I welcome you all to the commemoration of Nigeria’s 52nd Independence. 

I initiated the BraveHeart Initiative (BHI) at age 18 when I came to a cross road on the numerous challenges faced by young people. I needed a change and I was tired of waiting for the empty promises made by the older generation. Over the years BraveHeart Initiative have executed projects on various issues ranging from sensitization on Sexually Transmitted Infections such as Hiv/Aids, Gender based violence, Sexual abuse, maternal mortality, International, regional and national agreements, Skills trainings for economic empowerment, capacity building workshops amongst others.

In October 2009, BHI registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a youth led, youth focused community based NGO empowering and developing young people between the ages of 10 and 25 years through information and skills training to make informed choices, grow into self actualized adults capable of contributing towards a better society. Overall Goal of BraveHeart Initiative: To improve knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive rights among young people in Akoko Edo as a means of achieving gender equality

1.      To improve knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive rights among young people in Akoko Edo as a means of reducing teenage pregnancies by 20% in 5 years
2.      To promote community awareness on the rights of young people in order to reduce gender inequality in Akoko Edo.
3.      To facilitate the recovery of abused children, young persons and women from gender based violence.
4.      To partner with likeminded institutions and stakeholders to build the capacity of BHI.
5.      To empower young persons with skills and information to become active participants in development.
6.      To promote the practice of feminist principles among young women in Akoko Edo

Reproductive Health has been defined as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes”. Sexuality is defined as social expressions of one’s social and biological being through mannerism, mode of dressing, interactions patterns and physical intercourse.
Adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues such as unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS are important concern for youth arising from many factors including inadequate sexual health information, education and poor access to services. Many adolescents are sexually active but are often “extremely uninformed about their reproductive systems. This ignorance, more often than not, lead them to long term damage of their sexual and reproductive health or even death” (Madunagu, 1998:10)

Nigeria is one of the most youthful countries in Africa. According to recent statistics, Adolescent population makes up 22% of the general population in Nigeria. Approximately 35, 326, 000.
Nigeria’s population is estimated at 158, 423, 000. With about 42% of the population lacking improved drinking water resources, 68% of population without access to improved sanitation facilities and about 1, 700,000 of women (aged 15+) living with HIV.

We are at BraveHeart Initiative take cognizant that harmful traditional practices continue to rob young people of their rights to sexual and reproductive health, with girls and young women especially subject to such norms that expose them to sexual violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages; we also concerned that while our country has adopted several laws and policies to protect young people and provide them with services, such laws and policies are often contradictory, have loop holes and are not domesticated and implemented leading to discrimination and limited access to justice for young people.

Today, as we mark our Independence, I call on government and other related agencies to deliberately allocate funds for sexual and reproductive health programmes in line with regional and global commitments including the Abuja Declaration, the Maputo Programme of Action which calls for a minimum allocation of 15% of the national budget to health. Also to ensure evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education for in-and out of school young people through schools, communities, religious and cultural institutions.
I call on parents, communities, religious and traditional leaders to support young people to access and take up sexual and reproductive health information and services, commodities including HIV testing and counseling, contraceptives, Anti Retroviral Therapy and maternal health care. Prioritize the reform and removal of cultural practices and norms that threaten the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people including Child Rape, gender-based violence and other forms of sexual exploitation.

Thank you for your attention,
Priscilla Ikos Usiobaifo
Program Coordinator,
BraveHeart Initiative
My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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