Mina Bilkis (full name: Yasmine Bilkis Ibrahim) coaches, trains and helps individuals, institutions and brands in Communications + Content Creation, Business Strategy and Personal Development.
Mina is the Founder + Director of an adolescent safe space for girls called Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone and is also the Founder of the social enterprise Ori from Sierra Leone. From February 2019 - March 2021 Mina co-produced and co-hosted the podcast Y Square POD.
Mina has been recognized for her work by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust (QCT) in 2019 and is a QCT Scholar and presented at One Young World in London, United Kingdom, a Tedx Speaker (2018) and is an African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) Alumna (2020).
Born and raised in Normal, Illinois, USA, Mina graduated from Fourah Bay College (FBC) - University of Sierra Leone (USL) and holds a Division I bachelor's degree in French with a certificate in Global Health from College of Medical Allied and Health Sciences (COMAHS) - University of Sierra Leone (USL).
Mina is a professional troublemaker as she is always shaking tables when necessary (and sometimes when not), she is unapologetically feminist and the self-appointed ambassador of the Salone Jollof Lives Matter Movement. #SaloneJollofLivesMatter
Teacher turned Entrepreneur
When Mina returned to Sierra Leone in 2014 right before the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, she tutored and taught at various schools in Freetown. It wasn't until 2016, Mina decided to embrace entrepreneurship and pursue it full-time. From 2016-2019 Mina taught and trained Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and International NGO (INGO) staff in French and Krio (our lingua franca) and translated documents from English-French/French-English and Krio-English/English-Krio.
Digital Storytelling + Content Creation Takeover
However, Mina's passion for digital storytelling and content creation consumed her and she decided to pursue podcasting and communication projects in 2019.
In 2018, Mina met fellow digital creator Yasmin Metz-Johnson and Y Square POD was formed in January 2019. Y Square POD is a podcast and content creation collective by two young women who returned to Sierra Leone from the diaspora and share their experiences of living and working in Sierra Leone from a millennial lens. The podcast has produced 40 episodes and was featured in two international documentaries; Why Are So Many British Millennials Starting A New Life In Africa? by Jannine Battis and in Michaela Guzy's of Oh The People You Meet's documentary on world renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall.
With Mina's love for talking, she had the privilege of being a Tedx Speaker in 2018 at the TedxYouth@Kingtom in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Mina has also been invited to speak at international conferences in Kenya, Ireland and Nigeria in the areas of digital inclusion, feminism and global health.
Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights Advocate
With the stark spike of 14,000+ girls falling pregnant during the 9 month school closure caused by Ebola, when Mina founded Girl Up in 2016 she made Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) her focal concern. Mina is an Alumna of the African Women Leadership Institute (AWLI) (2020) by Akina Mama wa Afrika, a co-founding member of People's Alliance for Reproductive Health & Advocacy (PARHA) (2017) and a member of Sierra Leone Girls Adolescent Network (SAGN) (2016).
Mina is passionate about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) as many young women and girls do not have access to sanitary pads due to accessibility and/or affordability and resort to cloth or other unsanitary materials for menstrual management. In the process to alleviate period poverty and the stigma of menstruation in Sierra Leone, Mina works to distribute free monthly pads to members of Girl Up and commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) on May 28 annually and hosts workshop on MHM and engages in pad distribution drives.
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise on community feminist and social movements, communications and business strategy.
If you are interested in having me at your next event or collaborating, let's talk.