You have quite the incredible journey… Share with us a highlight?
The highlight of my journey to date would have to be the work I am doing with the Aminata Foundation, which I founded after my near death experience giving birth to my daughter – Sarafina, in 2012. During birth in Australia, I had access to high-quality healthcare which saved my life and my daughter’s life. However in Sierra Leone, women would have died during this same experience due to lack of medical help. This compelled me to seek improvements for women in my country of birth.
The work I undertake with the Aminata Foundation fulfils me, provides me with a sense of purpose, lights my day and gives me a sense of gratitude.
BKFA’s mission is to ensure that all women around the world have access to a clean and safe birth. You founded Aminata Foundation, which supports pregnant mothers and women in Sierra Leone. Why is maternal health so important across the African continent?
Human rights start at birth, we don’t choose our country or our parents. Any mother giving birth or child born in Sierra Leone should have the same rights as a mother giving birth or a child born in Australia. Without equal rights at birth, we are already at a significant disadvantage. It is women who bring life into this world, and they should not be made to suffer.
What was the inspiration behind the book, a Rising Heart?
Through the book, I wanted to bring awareness to what happened in Sierra Leone. Awareness to a woman’s story where there was never any accountability – my story is relatable to every human being. I grew up with a loving family and a good education, but stuff happened along the way that changed the course of my life. We as humans can choose how we are remembered, how we respond to what happens in our life. My story is not a refugee story, it’s a human story. I want people to know that we don’t have to let our journey define us, we have a choice.
What is the best piece of advice you have received as a woman, and what would you pass onto other women?
My advice would be to listen to people and find out their story. Listen to what their needs are and don’t try to give an answer, just listen – we don’t need to fix everything. Also, embrace your journey. Embracing it is living it.
What is it that you hope to achieve in years to come?
Australia is now my home. I want the Australian community to know that you can still help causes at home, whilst supporting causes around the world. Look to support beyond Australia and make your impact global.
You can find out more about the Aminata Maternal Foundation, via their website.