Meet Female Bikers Saving hundreds of Lives in Nigeria

Health ambassadors providing free cervical and breast cancer screening

2
209
Kelly Jumbo, Jeminat Olumegbon, Kene Okafor, Jo Isiorho; members of the Female Bikers Initiative (FBI), during an awareness ride in Lagos, Nigeria in 2017. Photo credit: Nnenna Samuila/Female Bikers Initiative to Thomson Reuters Foundation

Meet the Female Bikers Saving hundreds of Lives today in Nigeria! The sight of the D’Angels, an all-female biker group on the streets of Nigeria attracted the attention of onlookers in amazement. What began as a fun activity for these Nigerian Female Bikers taking advantage of the attention that they received, developed into a noble cause: Saving hundreds of lives by creating awareness and providing free cervical and breast cancer screening to ordinary Nigerians.

“What touched us most was the women. Some asked if the bikes really belonged to us. Some asked if they could sit on our bikes. We decided to use the opportunity to do something to touch women’s lives.”

Nnenna Samuila, 39, D’Angels co-founder told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone call conversation. Samuila, Kelly Jumbo, Jeminat Olumegbon, Kene Okafor and Jo Isiorho created the Female Bikers Initiative (FBI) and have since inspired several others like the Amazon Motorcycle Club in Lagos, Nigeria to join the initiative.

In a country where access to good proper healthcare is quite a challenge for many, the female bikers have been able to provide free cervical and breast cancer screening to over 500 women and are targeting to save at least 5,000 women. The World Health Organization estimates that 50,000 out of the 100,000 annual cancer deaths in Nigeria are caused by Breast and cervical cancer. However, this mortality rate can be greatly reduced by screening, early detection, and early treatment.

An oncologist and executive director of Sebeccly Cancer Care Centre, Dr. Omolola Salako partnered with the Nigerian female bikers (FBI) since last year to create awareness of the need for screening. Her charity provides free cancer screening services and raises funds to treat cancer patients. These services will be available for free every Thursday all year round, thanks to the partnership. This year, the team will be raising awareness for an entire week riding through the streets, going to schools, malls, public places talking to women and distributing fliers mainly in Lagos, Nigeria.

Women Shaping Africa

They have afforded 2 mastectomies with the funds they were able to raise last year and are hoping that this year will be better. Additionally, the team through a scheme tagged Beyond Limits is also passionate about encouraging the girl-child to fulfill her potential beyond societal expectations of marriage and babies. They invite female motivational speakers and mentors in science, technology, and innovation to inspire young girls in school and the community.

After being rejected by all-male bikers groups in Lagos on a gender basis, 2009, Samuila and Jeminat formed their own Female Bikers group, the FBI. Their turning point came in 2010 after they took on a 617Km 2-day ride from Lagos to Port Harcourt city to attend a bikers event. This earned them new respect from the male riders, some of whom now take part in the screening awareness programs themselves. In 2015, Jeminat took on an even bigger challenge riding 20,000 km through eight West African countries in 30 days to raise funds for children in orphanages.

Even though these Female Bikers are focusing on reaching every woman in Lagos, they have plans of extending their initiative to other parts of Nigeria and are also receiving invitations from fellow female bikers across West Africa. “It’s so painful to hear that so many people are dying from the disease when it can be prevented.” Said Samuila.

The Nigerian Female Bikers Initiative (FBI) went against the odds of gender bias. I hope we find great inspiration in this. Think about everything you do for fun. Do you know, that activity can be turned around to a noble cause that will positively change someone’s life? Make a life smile today! You can effortlessly give joy while having fun! #Rewordit.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Little acts of charity go a long way, very touching story and a great inspiration, the author paints a vivid picture of the real-life situation and how simple activities can be turned into opportunities and benefit the community and society at large

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

1 × four =