The coronavirus, having killed over 2,328,940 persons worldwide, in a seemingly endless battle to triumph against the well-being of humans, has forced so many to reinvent their lives and priorities. There have been heroes out there, who in their small way, have aided in salvaging the gruesome situation created by this pandemic. TheAfricanDream.net in its Heroes of Covid-19 series celebrates many of those who continually contribute to the efforts of preserving humanity while the world fights this pandemic, one such person is Maame Efua De-Heer.
In August 2020, Kematim Concepts was recognized for designing a device with which people could wash or sanitize their hands without touching the tap, soap or hand sanitizer case. This, as explained by the Team Lead – Mr. Innocent Ayodele, was to “avoid potential contamination and transfer of the virus.” In a similar tradition, the Heroes of Covid-19 committee has come across Maame Efua De-Heer, another hero (in this special case – a heroine) worthy of recognition for February, 2021.
De-Heer is a Canada-based Ghanaian graduated from the University of Toronto – Dalla Lana School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Science. She was one of 120 young Canadians (out of 1,000 applicants) selected as delegates for RBC’s Future Launch’s Fast Forward 2020 – Youth Summit.
Our February 2021 COVID-19 Heroine who is the first person to be recognized by TheAfricanDream.net in Canada is also founder of the Power of Love Foundation Canada, an entity established to support the underserved and marginalized populations. Her efforts in that regard won her the Award for Diaspora Achievement at the Africa Youth Awards in 2020.
De-Heer is recognized for her special efforts in fighting against the ramifications of a COVID-19 influenced world of lockdown; where her non-profit organizational intentions would have rather faced a hiatus, if not for her relentless determination to keep sailing despite the stumps. Rather than generalizing her efforts, De-Heer chose to narrow her focus on a particular demographic – not merely the woman but the single mother. That, she believed, will have the true trickle-down effect, opposed to the one often jeopardized by some African governments in a bid to be selfish when aid is received on behalf of their citizens.
Her decision to work with the Single Mother demographic is backed by arguments found in Humanitarian led International Conferences. One of which is the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (EARTH Summit) of 1992.
At the 1992 EARTH Summit held in Rio de Janeiro contributors argued; women were more likely to be affected by negative environmental impacts [which almost 2 decades down the line ended up including pandemics such as Covid-19] than men because of their relatively poor social and economic position which is usually intertwined with their domestic roles.” The situation of the single mother was a special case that required attention because of the absence of a supportive partner to aid in the parenting of vulnerable children involved. It was further argued that homes which were poor enough to lack food security and shelter were more likely to be headed by women (usually single-mothers).
Having secured funding from the City of Toronto, the Power of Love Foundation Canada financially supported Single Ghanaian mothers found in Etobicoke that needed assistance during this era of lockdown that has affected their economic and social securities.
In an interview with TheAfricanDream.net, De-Heer named her mother as her greatest inspiration and reason behind what she does. To that effect she disclosed that; “My mother! She is my biggest inspiration. Being raised by a Single Mother has taught me the important life lessons of resilience, persistence, determination and perseverance.”
When asked who else she would love to work with and why, De-Heer replied; “I have had the pleasure of working with the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, but look forward to working with diverse organizations that share similar missions, visions and values to my Organization; which is to support the underserved and marginalized populations.”
There are many others out there like Maame Efua De-Heer doing everyday things to positively impact their lives and communities and even sometimes people living in other continents. To all such persons we stand in awe of your amazing work and the selflessness with which you do it. For De-Heer, it is always a blessing to “be able to serve my community“.
Congratulations De-Heer, keep making the world a better place in your small way. Find her on Instagram as Maame.DeHeer.
Written by Oral Ofori