City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Nehita Jewelry Designer
Monalisa Okojie is the mother of 3, a businesswoman and designer of Nehita fine jewelry. About five years ago, she brought together a group of professionals in the fields of Medicine, Law, Education, Entertainment and Technology to create a Board of Directors who would commit to helping women and girls in Africa lead sustainable lives. The organization she founded, Upward African Women (UAW) participates in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Healthcare Program. Their agenda is to educate youth about Africa, explore its history and culture plus initiate a dialogue about women becoming more independent. To date, the organization supports two schools directly benefiting women and children in Nigeria and Ghana. She provides other services to feed and clothes the students in the school she’s owns since 2008 in a remote village of Mombasa, Kenya.
Although she has worked very hard to expand her jewelry design business, Monalisa remains quite passionate about educating our youth. Her group continues to speak to our youth about bullying, our teens about maintaining good study habits and our community about the detrimental effects of substance abuse. She makes it clear that any one of these issues can contribute to delinquency thereby having a negative impact on a student’s development. The UAW provides counselors to mentor college bound teens and these efforts have proven a successful way to foster higher education.