Upward African Woman Charity Event Review - Helping Girls In Improvished Countries

On May 9, 2015, at Serrano’s Restaurant in North Hollywood, the first annual fund raiser for the Upward African Woman was successfully held.  Guests not only from the States, but from Turkey, China and East India, attended as African and African-American music serenaded those present.


Upward African Women - Monalisa Okojie

The soft spoken Monalisa Okojie, an Ishan Princess from Equare, Imua in the Edo State of Nigeria, felt that she had to give something back to her people, especially the young uneducated  and exploited girls on the streets of Ghana.  Many of the women had been denied schooling because of their sex and others were too old to return to traditional school. 

So she developed the Upward African Woman.  Having been brought up in Lagos, she studied law and realized she could do more to help.


Upward African Women Board Members

Along with two to three others – a medical doctor, an actress and a motivational speaker – Monalisa travels two to three times a year to train the girls.  She will stay from four days to two weeks, depending on the needs of the villages that she visits.  The trips focus on education and empowering the women to their full potential.  “We prefer to teach them to fish rather than just give them the fish.”

Upward African Women


In the audience as well were  Annie Omanokoge, Nikki Rich, Megan Thomas, Shondra Avery, Gladys Uzoh, Jacqueline Aburine, Fassy Laual, Vicky Ohisbue, Nafisa Ayonnike, Nancy Adekayode as well as Joyce Giraud from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her queen of the universe, Arieis Ring.


Upward African Women - Band Zupa Vova

Steve Galindo performed as the master of ceremonies, as Amaka Ada Akudinobi welcomed us and Eumu Odete spoke while  Omatu  sang Nigerian songs for us and the hip hop band ZupaNova played for us.


Amaka Ada Akudinobi of Upward African Women

Actress Shondra Avery, who, herself grew up in South Central LA and progressed beyond it, is a big supporter of many causes especially helping sickle cell anemia. She stressed that "we don't own anything. It's all on loan to us from God."


Upward African Women - Monalisa and Shrondra Avery

Megan Thomas  quoted Muhammad Ali who said, "The service you give to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth."  She, herself, had mentored a nine-year-old girl. She hadn't thought she was giving anything of substance to the child, but as the years passed, the young girl became a beautician with her own shop. She credited Megan with giving her the knowledge and self-esteem necessary to get ahead.  "If it wasn't for you taking this time, I wouldn't have gone this far." Megan urged those present to open their hearts if not their wallets to help those less fortunate than us.


Upward African Women - Singer Omatu

Supporters of the organization and the evening included Cheesecake Factory; King’s restaurant in Calabasas; IHOP Woodland Hills; Chill’s Restaurants; Sprouts Woodland Hills; Pavillions Woodland hills; Trader Joe’s Woodland hills; Red Lobster  Woodland Hills;  Olive Garden Woodland Hills, Albertsons Grocery Calabasas, TGIF Friday’s Woodland Hills; BJ's Restaurants, Woodland Hills; and HYASA.


Other sponsors included De La Paz, Above Zombies, ZupaNova, Annex Pharmacy, Dr. Otto Hospice, Omatu, and Nehita Jewelry.


Upward African Women - Joyce G

A new word game, LetterJAM, was given to those who donated. Developed by Michigan lawyer and mentor Greg Yu, whose company is AlphaBound, is a committed supporter, he also has provided a number of games to the Nigerian students who are part of UAW.  The game, which promotes education and fun learning with workbooks, spelling and vocabulary activity cards, will launch shortly.  

For more information about the 501c3 group Upward African Women go to their web site.








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