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Nigerian Woman Ijeoma Wins the 2023 Cheshire Woman of the Year Award

Ijeoma Ibijoke Jummai McDougall (née Iheme), a UK-based Nigerian woman, has earned the coveted Cheshire Woman Award for her great contributions to the lives of the less fortunate in Nigeria and the UK.

Ijeoma is the founder of The Kairos Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting underprivileged people all over the world by “returning hope to those who have lost it.”

Ijeoma’s organization helps victims of insurgency in Nigeria’s North Eastern region, where she was born. She offers apprenticeships to young people, assisting them in gaining essential skills and experience, preparing them to establish their own enterprises, and allowing them to make a meaningful impact.

She has also provided clean drinking water to over ten thousand households, renovated a maternity ward, fed an orphanage, and clothed street kids. Ijeoma has connected Nigerian children in need with families in the UK; who provided them with Christmas gifts. “These are just a few examples of the work she has done for those who are most in need,” the organizers of the Cheshire Award stated.

“I got a letter saying I was a nominee for the Cheshire Woman Award of the Year, I couldn’t believe it because I don’t know who nominated me, I don’t know why they nominated me. If I am honest with you, I thought it was a scam,” Ijeoma told The Guardian.

 “I just decided to go and felt it would be a nice day, I’d get to meet other women who are doing great things. Before I received the letter, I saw a lady on Facebook saying she had received a nomination from Cheshire Woman of the Year and I was so excited for her because she is a scientist who creates all these products that help with pain relief and I thought of course she’s going to win because I couldn’t think of a better person.”

 Ijeoma added, “When they started to read out, they gave two examples of things that I did, they said my name, and I started crying. Everybody who was asking me what I was nominated for, I told them I don’t know because it was obvious to others what they were nominated for.”

“When they started reading the examples it made me emotional because the main thing I was nominated for is the thing that I had forgotten, like a lady that I put on Facebook who’s been in the hospital and didn’t have food for herself and her children, and I just got people on Facebook to donate foods so that we could fill up her cupboard. To me, this is a thing you do to people to have something to eat..It is not something I did myself, I asked for help and people gathered the help. I don’t think I should be getting the credit,” she said.

For almost thirty-seven years, the Cheshire Woman Award has recognized remarkable women.Award nominees are not necessarily women in the spotlight, but rather varied women who were born, reside, or work in Cheshire and have accomplished amazing things, shown admirable courage, and had a significant impact on the community. Since 1985, almost 2,500 women have been nominated for the award.

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