The netWORKING Mentorship Project is supported by the brilliance of diverse African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) young women across the Greater Toronto Area. Our tribe of leaders support our initiative through planning, advising, and facilitating programming for young Black women.
netWORKING Project Coordinator
Amma Gyamfowa is a Ghanaian-Canadian, feminist, creative, and social justice advocate. Engaged in the field of social work for last 7 years, her work has been rooted in supporting women and queer-centered organizations within the Greater Toronto Area. More specifically, her work has been embedded in supporting young women, survivors of violence, and addressing reproductive and sexual health rights/education. Amma holds a Master of Social Work and is extremely passionate about documenting diverse stories of Blackness, through dialogue, art, and poetry. Currently, she works for Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (CHC) as the Program Coordinator of netWORKING: A Young Black Women’s Mentorship Project.
Advisory Committee Member
Apefa Adjivon is the Founder and Executive Director of the Pearl Project. Moving to Canada as a refugee with her family at a young age, she had the opportunity to experience life in both the western world and the developing world. Recognizing the difference in the treatment of women in Canada and her home Sierra Leone, she dedicated her life to improving the lives of individuals in developing countries and women internationally. Apefa has advocated for children’s and women’s rights through Plan International and Because I am A Girl and was selected to represent Canada as a Youth Delegate to the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, working on SDG #5: Gender Equality. At the U.N., she pitched the Pearl Project in the Social Venture Challenge. Out of thousands of delegates from around the world, The Pearl Project won! Apefa was then selected by the United Nations and British Council to receive social enterprise training and was the youngest selected of hundreds to present her start-up, the Pearl Project, at the Youth Innovation Summit on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Advisory Committee Member
Jillisa Brown, Confidence Coach helps change the lives of beautiful souls that strive for excellence. She is on her way to the top and she’s taking you with her! Jillisa provides group coaching sessions, and 1-on-1 services that help women find and exude their inner confidence. Born in Toronto to Jamaican parents, Jillisa Brown identifies as an Afro-Jamaican-Canadian youth leader who is passionate about empowering her peers. Growing up, Jillisa struggled with social anxiety and was often seen as the “silent child”. Though silent, her intelligence and passion for learning pushed Jillisa to express herself through writing. Through the early years of high school Jillisa was subject to cyber bulling which led to depression, and suicidal thoughts that she hid from her family and friends. At the young age of 19, Jillisa made the decision to have a baby with the belief that this would make her “more loved” by her high school boyfriend at the time. Once the baby was born, she quickly learned the truth about love, relationships and the impacts parenthood has on a young adult’s life. Jillisa uses her own, personal life experience to shed light, and provide the necessary tools required to achieve excellence under all of life’s circumstances.In 2015, Jillisa embarked on a journey to exuding self-confidence. Now that she is a Master of Confidence, she spends her time guiding and supporting youth and millennials in building and maintaining their own confidence. Jillisa Brown’s organization Beautify My Soul has been built upon the need for a Coming of Age program within the Black community.
Support & Engagement Volunteer
Hi,, Nnoo, Saanu, Hello Kweens! My name is Amanda Chinemelu and I work as a research assistant at the Centre for Urban Health Studies at St Michael’s hospital and own a digital health and wellness business. I’m also a community-based researcher who is committed to the improvement of the sexual and mental health conditions of young black girls. I recently graduated from U of T and hope to eventually become a naturopathic doctor and an educator. I am very passionate about a lot of things and one of them is to work with a group of powerful Black women in our community to ensure that young Black women see themselves in spaces that we are denied access. I am very excited be a part of this amazing program, to be able to work with a team of black women professionals and young black women makes me excited to wake up everyday!
Advisory Committee Member
My name is Asiyah Jabari, born in Markham until I was 9 and raised in Whitby Ontario into a large family with 4 brothers and my 2 parents. I now live in Scarborough to pursue a university level education at Seneca College in Business Administration Entrepreneurship as a Degree Program. In High School I knew that I wanted to study business because the sky is the limit in a business field and I knew that I had the spirit of an entrepreneur, although then I wanted to be a salon owner. The decision to go to Seneca after much comparison with Centennial’s paid co-op was a hard one but I now recently entered my sixth semester of Business Administration Entrepreneurship at Seneca where I currently am President of Seneca’s West Indian and African Association(SWIAA) for the third year in a row.My dream is to be a highly successful event planner putting together absolutely any kind of events from concerts, weddings, conferences and fundraisers. Currently I do many gatherings for myself and SWIAAto gain experience and a reputation. My passion would be having events and gatherings as I love seeing the plan come to life and watch all those in attendance have a good time. I hope to build of team of predominantly black staff: photographers, caterers and DJs so we can all work together and make money in our community. My passions of having a good time, bringing people together and watching my plans come out accordingly are all major keys to knowing that I will be eager and happy about my career choice because everyday I would be doing what I love.
Advisory Committee Member
I’m very happy to be part of the Youth Advisory Committee here at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands for our new mentorship initiative! It makes me proud to work alongside women for an organization that makes such a great and fortifying impact on so many minority/racialized women here in the city of Toronto. I am a part of the demographic who this organization caters to, as I am a black, African woman living in Toronto. Coming from an immigrant background and being of the 1st generation, there are various challenges and barriers that hindered me from opportunities afforded to others from more privileged backgrounds. Being the first person in my family to pursue higher education at the post secondary level alone is deemed a feat for me because of these types of opportunities not being afforded to my family previously. I also come from a home with a background of depression and mental health as the oldest child where these medical terms were once never understood. I’ve had to do a lot of learning, and adapting given my circumstances, but I’m so grateful for my path in life thus far. I completed a social sciences degree at the University of Toronto, and have been working in Finance for the latter part of my 20’s. I enjoy being a part of community; to bring about ideas and change, cultivate relationships, and most importantly spark inspiration for others and myself. With all that being said, I am currently in a transitional space on my vocational trajectory. I’m very passionate about mental health, psychology, and law. As a result, I will be challenging myself in the upcoming year to acquire new skills and add educational requirements to my resume in order to be a candidate in those said fields. Its been challenging finding mentors along the way for career and life, all while navigating being a black women due to the lack of being equipped with the tools and resources. This is why I have always been an advocate and campaigner for closing in on the gap for social and spatial inequalities at large. I believe mentorship is an imperative and beneficial relationship that every individual should have the opportunity to be awarded with. In my leisure time, I enjoy engaging with community at events, am a social activist, promote enterprise and creativity, and I believe in enriching my life through travel.
Advisory Committee Member
Fatima Hirsi is a strong believer in people-centred advocacy that works with people and communities to define their needs and drive towards positive outcomes. Fatima is an active and tenacious young leader with more than five years of experience in engaging hundreds children and youth, particularly from underserved communities, to bolster their educational, social, health, and employment outcomes. She hopes to continue her work in improving the social determinants of health for marginalized populations in Canada. Through her role as a member of the Youth Advisory Committee for Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, she hopes to contribute meaningfully to the health and wellness of young Black women in Toronto and create spaces where people can envision and achieve their academic and professional dreams.
Hey hey! My name is Sophia Ali and I’m currently a 4th year Biochemistry undergrad at YorkU. I’m planning on pursuing further education and a career in public health, as I’m a firm believer that healthcare is a human right and that everyone should have access to it. I hope to some day become an epidemiologist and be able to provide information and medical resources to underprivileged communities across the world. As a young black woman I understand there are a lot obstacles to overcome, in order to get closer to my dream. Which is why I’m ecstatic to be apart of this group of black women excellence ! This space where black women are able to uplift one another and share their experiences is truly amazing , and I’m excited to help and watch it grow!! “