In 2006, three charismatic African men got together and decided to do their part to help make the world a better place. Matthew Mensah, Obaro Ibru and Femi Amure [United Nations WFP, Coordinator for Africa, Stop Hunger Division] chose fashion as the vehicle for change by launching “Catwalk the World Fashion for the Food” Campaign. The campaign is the first global United Nations campaign to be created and launched in Africa.
The campaign aimed at halving the world’s hungry children by 2015 is a high profile off shoot of “Walk the World” which is WFP’s annual world wide walk for Stop Child Hunger across all time zones.
Significant, is the method the trio have used in helping make the world a better place. They have “killed two birds with one stone” figuratively speaking by creating a high profile platform to showcase the largely ignored urban, explosive and very cosmpolitan African fashion industry and its designers to African and Western consumers. Indeed designers like Deola Sagoe, Kofi Ansah, Tina Atiemo, David Tlale, Stoned Cherrie are among the brilliant designers that have helped pull the elites and national and international media, under one roof, to donate and give visibility to a charitable cause.
On November 26th, 2007, in Paris, and exactly a year and a half since the launch of the first event in Lagos, Nigeria, the handsome trio with impeccable style sense and BIG hearts were honored for their humanitarian work in Paris at the 21st annual World Quality Commitment Awards.
Ladybrille salutes each one of you. What follows is a little synopsis/bio based on my observations of these individuals in Nigeria and/or Ghana and a video footage of the launch in Nigeria so you readers get to know more about them.
Meet the “Catwalk the World” Trio
Obaro Ibru can best be described as tall, dark and handsome with a commanding presence. He also happens to be the son of Nigeria’s billionaire, Olorogun Michael Ibru, which in simple terms means, he is filthy rich. Nevertheless, Ibru is not fazed by the glamour and flamboyance that comes with his wealth. He appears to understand that you can not be truly fulfilled, regardless of your achievements and wealth status, unless you help the less fortunate around you.
As Chairman & Co-founder of the Catwalk the World fashion for Food Campaign, Ibru has been instrumental both hands on as well as providing financial resources to help the campaign grow and operate smoothly. Spending time with Obaro and Hirut Ibru [his wife seen in picture above], last year in Ghana, I was surprised with the intense energy, passion and work he put into getting the event to operate smoothly to the point where he worked himself to being quite sick. [Sorry to break the macho image Obaro :)]. Alongside Ibru, is his gorgeous Ethiopian wife Hirut Ibru who I also personally witnessed work quite hard on the logistics of getting a show like “Catwalk the World- Ghana” off the ground.
Mathew Mensah is funny, witty, passionate, intense and has a serious commitment to children across the globe and especially to the children of Africa. The half Ghanian/ [Danish]/French mix is the public relations guru behind the “Catwalk the World” campaign. [He is also the Founder and CEO of the Catwalk the World campaign]. From African celebrities like Actor Ramsey Noah, Actress Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde to America’s Damon Dash and London’s Ozwald Boateng, Mensah never stops asking and attracting celebrities and non-celebrities to be a part of the cause he feels so passionate about.
While I was in Ghana covering “Catwalk the World, Ghana,” Mensah finally had a little down time , after the show, for a heart to heart about his intense passion for helping the less fortunate, especially children. Mensah told me a compelling story on how he was a promoter in London doing the big promotions when big names such as Usher, among other Hollywood and London’s celebs, performed in London. However, one day, it hit him, through the life experiences he was going through that a big part of his purpose on earth was about giving back and helping those that are less fortunate than he was, especially children. Since then, he has not stopped pushing and mobilizing people to help the world’s hungry children and particularly Africa’s. He has also been involved in peace campaigns in Sierra leone, Liberia and campaigns against AIDS in South Africa, among others.
Femi Amure is dynamic, intelligent and has a very sharp style sense. Not quite as tall as Ibru or Mensah, nevertheless, Amure’s charisma and unique swagger commands attention when he walks into a room. Currently the United Nation’s WFP Cordinator For Africa – Stop Hunger Division, Amure has been highly involved in the operations and logistics of pulling off “Catwalk the World” shows. He is highly interested in stragetgic alliances with “governments, organizations, communities, corporations, schools e.t.c. [a]cross the continent, with the objective of having events in every single country in Africa that are inclusive to all.” Like Ibru, Amure has also recruited his wife [seen above to Amure’s right] who also works for the United Nation’s WFP to be a part of helping with the [campaign}.
CONGRATULATIONS FELLAS. Ladybrille salutes you!
To read more about the organization, click here
[In January, New Year’s eve Catwalk the World will be doing a special event for orphans and other underpriviliged Children in Sierra Leone].
Meanwhile, for the USA readers, mark your calendars, come March 2008, “Catwalk the World” will be hosting a Charity event in Los Angeles, California