In commemoration of the 2021 Martin Luther King Day 2021, the A.D. King Foundation, a US-based nonprofit, with a mission to promote youth empowerment development and non-violent social change strategies as a way of life throughout the world, recently awarded the African Luther King Heroes Awards to recognize and honour 10 extraordinary and outstanding Nigerians in honour of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The awardees were carefully selected based on their courage, leadership, their work as agents of change, for investments in youths and enterprise development and have also shown tangible result from their community-oriented work, emulating Dr King in leadership and philosophy.
The announcement was made during the virtual maiden edition of the African Luther King Summit held on Friday, January 29, 2021, with Naomi Barber Luther King and Melinda Barrow, Founder, 6th Region Global Chamber of Commerce and Aisha Yesufu, Human Rights Activist in attendance.
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, vision, and commitment to public service and civil rights, Raquel Kasham Daniel, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation was awarded for her exceptional contribution working in marginalized communities in Nigeria focusing on education for children and sexual & reproductive health for adolescent girls.
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She is also the co-founder of Nzuriaiki.com, an online platform designed to showcase volunteer opportunities in Nigeria, the author of FLOW; girls guide to menstruation and “There Is A New Virus in Town” a coronavirus book for children.
Through her nonprofit, she has been involved in projects aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable through the COVID-19 Food Relief Program which donated food items to over 3,000 families, distributed over 5,000 copies of the COVID-19 book and 1,500 free sanitary pads to women and girls in a bid to fight period poverty in this pandemic.
Omotola Fawunmi, a Social Justice Advocate and Founder is Rebirth Hub Africa was awarded for her service to youths, especially women and girls in low-income communities.
She connects them to resources, opportunities, and also leadership development pathways for economic and social prosperity.
Omotola also works to end modern slavery through by rescuing, returning, and rehabilitating victims of modern slavery across Africa from the Middle East. Since 2019 her organization has safely returned over 500 ladies from Lebanon, Oman, Cote-d’Ivoire, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Iraq, Gambia, Kenya back home.
Owolabi Williams, a Boys Development Advocate, Entrepreneur, Founder and President of Boys Lead Foundation was awarded for his selfless service through equipping and empowering boys and young men of colour to transform our world, by being productive citizens. He mentors young boys and teaches about the role of fathers in the lives of their sons. Through his Foundation, he also runs leadership clubs for boys in schools and communities in Nigeria, Canada and the United States focusing on Social-Emotional Learning, Life Skills, Entrepreneurial Initiatives, and Juvenile Reintegration.
Oludare Akinlaja, an Educator, Development Consultant and ManagingPartner of Oludare Akinlaja Research and Development Company was awarded for developing the skill level of the African youths to drive the productivity and prosperity of the continent.
He has been the forefront of driving quality education and lifelong learning through the setup of Yadaversity, a school using a multidisciplinary approach to train the youths of Africa to develop the continent.
He is the author of “The Leadership Revolution”, passionate about Africa and insists that the continent is filled with people that can drive its transformation.
Others are; Olusola Owonikoko, programs director, Project Enable; Mobolaji Ogunlende, founder of Real Act of Kindness Foundation; Aisha Yesufu, Human Rights Activists; Wale Ajani, Tech Entrepreneur and CEO, Entrepreneurship & Leadership Business Academy; Charles O’Tudor, Public Speaker and Principal Consultant of ADSTRAT Branding, and Adebunmi Akinbo, Secretary, Association for Information and Communication Technology on Local Content (ICTLOCA).
“Specifically, we wanted people who have made contributions in the areas of promoting peace, education, improving communities in Africa and have demonstrated leadership and volunteerism like Dr Martin Luther King Jr. himself,” says Babs Onabanjo, executive director, of A.D. King Foundation Atlanta.
Stephen Oguntoyinbo, executive director of Alarinka Communications, and partner with A.D. King Foundation stated that the goal of the award is to encourage more young Nigerians to participate in community building.
Each year, the organization will recognize individuals who demonstrate King’s spirit and legacy through their dedication and contributions in Africa and these 10 awardees are representative of the plethora of young people who devote time and energy to improve the lives of others and who are beacons of light within their communities.