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Women of Hope aid Nigerian schoolgirls

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Protestors make their feeling known

AFTER HEARING that 200 plus schoolgirls had been kidnapped while at school in Nigeria, earlier this year, mother of four, and committed Christian Yvonne Bruce felt she had to do something. She organised the recording of charity single which is was officially released at a special launch event recently.

Entitled Women of Hope, the song, was written by backing singer to the stars Michelle John. Everyone donated their services for free – studio owner Paul Hardcastle, Chris Cameron the producer and the 60 women singing on the track who include female gospel group The Reapers Choir, Natalie Phillips and Adelaide McKenzie.

Even 70s soul singer Linda Lewis was moved to take part after seeing details of the recording posted her support on Facebook.

Bruce explained: “Linda saw the post on Facebook. Because Michelle had worked with Eric Clapton, Mary J Blige etc, her Facebook posting of the project got a wider musical audience. Linda Lewis didn’t confirm she was coming. She just turned up with lots and food and drink, it was amazing.”

It’s evident being a mother moved Bruce to do something for the kidnapped schoolgirls. She explained: “I’m a Sky News freak, and I tend to fall asleep with Sky news on. I remember one Saturday night I woke out of my sleep and kept hearing about the kidnapped Nigerian school girls. I sat up on my bed and became tearful, because I had three daughters, and I had a flashback of my daughters going to school, or university and not coming home.

KIDKNAPPED: The Nigerian schoolgirls

"I then in-boxed some people saying we have to do something.”
One of the people who responded to the many messages Bruce sent out was Michelle John, who although on tour stated she wanted to be part of the project, and offered a song she had written to be recorded. The rest as they say is history.

The single is already getting airplay on both local and national radio stations, and it’s received a good response. Bruce said: “People are finding it inspiring and commenting on the quality of the production. They think it’s a really good quality track for a charity single.”

The money raised from Women of Hope will go towards helping girls and young women kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Bruce explained: “We’ve partnered with an organisation called Young And Active Nigeria who have representative here, and we’re putting together a rehabilitative programme for the girls who have escaped already, which will involve counselling and just buying in services they would not normally be privy to.”

Last month, the Nigerian government announced it had brokered a deal with Boko Haram to release the kidnapped schoolgirls. Bruce shared her doubts about this, noting that it was the government which had made the announcement not Boko Haram. Furthermore, a few days after the announcement was made, some more women and children were kidnapped.

The launch of the Women of Hope single was also used to launch KODA (Keeping Our Dreams Alive) a voluntary organisation Yvonne’s founded alongside Catherine Labinjo which will run outreach programmes to assist young women globally to have the right to an education and to maximise their full potential.

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