Ini Usanga – Founder
For over a decade, Ini has been a leading community and international advocate for human rights; violence against children, girls, young people and women, gender equality, and for those living in poverty.
She has been part of various organizations, having been featured in The Red Elephant Foundation, Girl’s Can’t What, Women of Rubies, to mention a few. She is very passionate about issues of social justice, reproductive rights, equality, and fairness.
Ini is a Family Violence expert, Gender-Based Violence expert, Girl Child activist, trainer, transformational and inspirational speaker, a self-development coach, entrepreneur, mentor, critical thinker, idea generator and philanthropist. She also has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including surveys.
Ini has been a victim of all forms of violence and attempted suicide; but now, she is an empowered woman who uses her voice to advocate for the rights of children, girls’, young people, and women who have given up hope due to an abusive experience, shame, and acceptance, as she had felt in the past.
She uses her extraordinary story to inspire and empower others in the campaign against violence to women, girls’, young people, and children.
Ini wants to see the protection of victims of abuse; particularly family and child abuse. She is determined to support children, young people, girls’ and women who, like her in the past, feel ashamed of their ordeal and have given up hope and the joy of life.
Like a force of nature and a magnet, Ini continues to show courage and determination through her abilities as a skilled representative, tirelessly fighting for the issues most important to children, young people, girls’ and women.
Ini has been honoured consistently for her humanitarian and philanthropic endeavours. In 2015, she was called a human rights champion by Amnesty International in Ireland and she has made extraordinary contributions in helping develop the lives of children, youths, girls’ and women. For a decade, Ini has served and continues as a voice for those who are afflicted by violence, poverty and other social exclusion in Ireland, Asia, and Africa.
Ini is well known for her supportive role to organizations and individuals that care for tortured, abused, and abandoned children in Nigeria, DRC Congo, Kenya, and Nepal. She believes every child deserves the right to an enjoyable childhood that is free from abuse, fear, oppression, and poverty. Each child has the right to live and grow with tender loving care. This, for Ini, is everyone’s responsibility.
Ini started a campaign to advocate against child, early, and forced marriage in Nigeria. You can support her campaign here. (Link to campaign)
Her continuous selfless contributions and compassionate effort in making sure victims of abuse are protected and free from every form of violence is an example of what true community service to humankind is.
Ini has been actively involved in working with individuals, local, national and international organizations, such as the Red Elephant Foundation-India, the Sharon Project UK, Cork Feminista-Ireland, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)-Mexico, Samrakshak Samuha Nepal (SASANE), Amani Children’s Home-Kenya, Mercy Orphanage Nigeria, and Government Agencies, including the Department of Justice in Ireland and the African Embassies in Ireland.
Ini is indeed an exemplary role model who uses her personal experience to inspire and give hope to others with similar experiences in Nigeria, Ireland and abroad. Her story has been aired on several international TV and radio stations, magazines and online platforms by organisations including AWID, and Girls Can’t What? in the USA to help bring hope to girls’, young people and women who experience abuse.
Ini holds a BSc degree in Public Health and Health Promotion and a Post Graduate Diploma in Co-operative Organisations, Food Marketing, and Rural Development from the University College Cork (UCC) in the Republic of Ireland. She also has additional training in Youth work, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), first aid, childcare, and Train the Trainer, among others.
She has worked with the Department of Health Promotion in Cork, and has engaged in advocacy on issues affecting children, young people, girls and women in Ireland and Africa. She has worked extensively to support international people and migrants in Ireland over the past decade.
Ini has a passion for enterprise. She established her first business at the age of 13 and her concern for hungry children made her use proceeds from her business to support them. Ini believes economic empowerment is one of the many keys to being independent. Ini is the founder and brain child of the prestigious Éiretraordinary African Woman Achievers (EAWA) Awards, African Ireland Business Association (AIBA), Africa Ireland Women Business and Development Organisation (AIWBADO), Ireland International Fashion and Beauty Pageant and Global Royalty Beauty Pageant.
Global Royal Beauty Pageant is a platform to raise awareness about a series of Family Violence including Forced Marriage, Child Sexual Abuse, Honour Based Violence, and Reproductive Abuse.
Ini’s voluntary service and active citizenship have been profoundly appreciated in a variety of settings and this has given her access to working actively with members of different cultures and nationalities in Ireland and abroad. Due to her active role in making significant and positive impact through participation and engagement in her community in Ireland, she became the very first African to be elected on the Cork County Council-Social Inclusion and Community Policy unit in Cork in 2015. Ini has received multiple awards from various organizations and businesses.
In 2014, Ini sponsored and organized the 1st seminar on Forced Marriage, Child Sexual Abuse, Honour Based Violence and Reproductive Abuse in Ireland. Through this accomplishment, the European Union in Brussels engaged her in a study about Forced Marriage in Europe with emphasis on Ireland.
Her indelible and relentless efforts on the issue of forced marriage are beginning to shift the perception and shine some light on the fact that forced marriage exists in Ireland. For victims to become survivors and even leaders, there needs to be an investment in service provisions for them. Very welcoming, in 2015, the Irish Government proposed a law making forced marriage a crime in Ireland.
Ini has been honoured consistently for her humanitarian and philanthropic endeavours. She is an internationally recognized and multi-awarded philanthropist, with citations from organisations and businesses including IKWRO (Iranian and Kurdistan Women Rights Organisation); Women4Africa Awards, Courage GF Awards, to mention a few.