Irivwegu Imade Ovuakpor saw the health issues facing rural communities in Africa and decided she wanted to do something about it. Her company Healthy Moms and Kids Africa spreads information about healthcare and wellness and works to bring real changes to communities facing inadequate healthcare, unsafe drinking water, and misinformation about health. Her Abuja, Nigeria-based social enterprise is dedicated to making Africa a healthier place, one person at a time.
Ovuakpor’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Africa as a continent has been categorized as a region of unhealthy living. People living in rural communities do not have access to good medical and healthcare services. Many children are malnourished. Women often do not have access to good antenatal care. In some regions there is an inadequate supply of safe drinking water. I believe information about health, fitness and wellness should be spread across Nigeria and other African countries to help make our continent healthier. These challenges inspired me to create a forum where the health of everyone is considered through health and wellness research, child survival techniques, women empowerment, fitness programs and information about health consultations. I believe that together we can make Africa healthier.
Inspiring others, providing help and solutions for the problems people are facing and achieving financial stability are my definitions of success. I also define success as the ability to inspire others and achieving personal growth and development.
One successful moment I had was making a difference in the lives of over 200 children living in a rural community in Northern Nigeria. I also discovered that some children in this rural community needed a healthcare centre. I wrote a proposal to establish a healthcare centre for children living in that community. It took quite an effort to complete the proposal which included building design, drugs and vaccines availability in the pharmacy section etc. The project is yet to be executed, but writing such proposal with the interest of these children in mind is success. You can achieve anything your mind can dream up.
Balancing work and life can be tedious. I try to mark out time to relax. Starting my kind of social enterprise can be challenging because many people might not really understand your motive. Many people think it is all about money making. I started Nutriclinic Ng but it was not functioning as it should because of the challenges of getting client to patronize the clinic. I knew that I wanted to get involved in the health and wellness of everyone. It took me sometime to realize what I really wanted. I had to strategize and came up with Healthy Moms and Kids Africa. Starting up Healthy Moms and Kids Africa was quite challenging. I have to carry out a lot of research on health to educate the public. Getting sponsors and partners is quite challenging but I hope to grow and not give up this time.