In a world where people see sickle cell people as weak, Judith Ojonugwa Matthew is changing this narrative one action at a time. At the age of 5, Judith lost her elder sister to sickle cell anemia and this was one of the major events that made her start her changemaking journey. Being a sickle cell carrier herself, Judith found it easy to relate with the problems faced by Sickle cell carriers and she decided to start Judith Ojonugwa Sickle Cell Foundation (AKA JOSCEF).
JOSCEF raises awareness about sickle cell disease, provides counselling for people living with sickle cell anemia, provides warriors(the name JOSCEF calls sickle cell carriers and we love it!) with drugs and all medical assistance, sponsors indigent youths in education and social works, discover hidden talents among warriors and empower them in JOSCEF’s skill acquisition centre and more amazing things. The 26 years old changemaker started her education journey at LEA Primary School Lugbe, Abuja, then graduated and went to Bishop Delisle College in Lokoja, Kogi State. To further her education, she went to Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, where she had my National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND).
For someone who sometimes depends on a walking aid to move from place to place as a result of the “sickling” complications of battling Avascular necrosis (AVN), Judith is creating a strong support system through her foundation that holds the hands of fellow warriors as they navigate life. She is building a community of fellow warriors that are there for each other at all times.
Aside from creating magic with her foundation, Judith works as a social media Influencer, content/Video creator, events manager, photographer, blogger, fashion designer and life coach. She is also the founder of Abacha in Kogi, a food vendor that offers Igbo dishes in Nigeria’s Kogi state and Nugwa clothiers, a clothing brand. She hopes to partner with Nigerian actress and producer, Funke Akindele on a short sickle cell movie so as to increase the reach of her awareness and penetrate into more grassroots communities.
We wanted her to leave us with some words for young people who want to drive change in their communities and she left us with these words we’ll never stop loving: “the change you seek is within you, you can be anything you want to be, embrace the collective and go for the goal. Do you. Be you.”
She is open to collaborations and if you want to collaborate with her or her organization, you can reach her on Instagram and Twitter @sicklemotivator or contact her via mail firstname.lastname@example.org.