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100 Women: Meet Semhar Araia, an Eritrean-American On a Mission to Mobilize African Women

Get familiar with the woman championing community building throughout the diaspora.

Semhar Araia has made it her life's work ro support the aspirations of African women throughout the diaspora.

As the founder of DAWN—Diaspora African Women's Network and the head of Diaspora Partnerships at UNICEF USA, the Eritrean-American is working to create opportunities for women to realize their potential as future leaders and community builders.


She's dedicated to diaspora engagement—a deeply rooted passion that stems from her experience being raised by Eritrean immigrants in New York City.

She has an encouraging message for fellow second-generation immigrants:

"We are a gift and an asset to both cultures, to both countries," she says. "There are so many examples of women who celebrate both, who don't pit one against the other, who don't need to be more African than American or more American than Africa. I think there's a way to be both and to celebrate that."

Watch the video below to learn more about the social activist, and check out or full OkayAfrica 100 Women list here.

This article appears as part of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2018—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. Throughout March, we will be publishing a series of profiles, videos, interviews and feature stories on these inspirational women. Click here to see the entire list of 2018 honorees.

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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.

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Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.