Radiant Health Woman of Action: Morenike Olaosebikan

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Published: November 3, 2014


Getting to Zero

When Morenike Olaosebikan contracted tuberculosis just over ten years ago, the thirty one year old didn’t realize it would lead to a new passion. A pharmacist with an eye for fashion design, she was treated in Nigeria, at a treatment facility also serving HIV-positive and AIDS patients. While receiving chemotherapy for her illness, Olaosebikan saw that many TB patients had also been diagnosed with HIV. It was then that Olaosebikan says she confronted AIDS in Nigeria, “not as an abstract, foreign concept,” but as the reality of fathers, mothers, pregnant women, and babies fighting for their lives.

In 2006, Olaosebikan launched Ribbon Rouge in Edmonton, an annual celebration combining her favorite things: fashion, art and live music, all benefitting organizations that combat HIV/AIDs throughout the world. Today, Ribbon Rouge has raised and donated more than $32,000 (CAD) to nonprofits such as The Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Joint United Nations AIDS Program to expand treatment and promote education.

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Olaosebikan wants to see the global rate of new HIV infections hit the zero mark. Such a feat might seem insurmountable in the face of heartbreaking statistics—Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS estimates 70,000 newborns are infected with HIV each year. But Olaosebikan says the key to major change is education. That, and being willing to begin. “Take the first, smallest, most logical step towards solving the problem,” she encourages others. “Use what you have.”

Learn more at www.ribbonrouge.com

RELATED: Anything But Ordinary – Radiant Health Women of Action

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