[EVENT] 4th Annual Earth Uprising: Rebirthing The Planet Earth Day Fest & Flea Market April 21
What: “Africa’s Future in African Hands” International speaking tour featuring Nurse Midwife Mary Koroma from Sierra Leone, West Africa
When/Where: 1st, 9am-5pm at the Fourth Annual Earth Uprising Fest & Flea in Clark Park, 43rd & Chester Ave, West Philadelphia;
Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30 pm at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut Street, Center City Philadelphia
From April 21st – 25th, African midwife Mary Koroma will visit Philadelphia to share her heroic story of triumph over infant and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. Nurse Mary is the leader of the Sierra Leone (West Africa) branch of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP).
As featured speaker in the “Africa’s Future in African Hands” tour, Koroma aims to promote awareness of and support for wellness and economic development programs in Africa. Sierra Leone has the world’s highest rate of maternal mortality with 1 in 8 women at risk of dying during childbirth. Sierra Leone also has one of the highest global rates of infant mortality with 123 of every 1000 babies not surviving to the age of one.
Under Nurse Mary’s leadership, AAPDEP Sierra Leone provides expectant mothers with skilled care through a number of grassroots projects. She founded the AAPDEP-WIND Health and Birth Clinic, where over two hundred patients are treated each month. AAPDEP also provides training and certification for “traditional birth attendants”, relied on by African women who are unable to access costly and distant hospitals.
Nurse Mary has spearheaded projects to raise resources to sustain the clinic while meeting the needs of the community, including four multi-acre vegetable farms, a community fishing project, a vocational institute and a nursery school.
Koroma is traveling throughout the U.S. to share her experience of community led development, where African people identify their own needs and work together to create solutions, a very different model from that of charity organizations that are often criticized for fostering dependency.
According to tour organizer Camilla Hippolyte, “Despite the great barriers to health care faced by Sierra Leone’s people, this is not a tour emphasizing charity and hopelessness.
“Nurse Mary’s work demonstrates how African people in Sierra Leone, and beyond, have organized in their own interest to provide quality health care and economic development for their communities. Rather than waiting for charities or the government to implement band-aid projects at their whim, the people of Sierra Leone, under the leadership of AAPDEP and Nurse Mary, have exhibited true self-determination by coming together to create their own programs to combat the deaths of mothers and babies in their community.”
Nurse Mary Koroma will be the featured speaker at the Saturday, April 21st “Earth Uprising: Rebirthing the Planet – Oppressed Peoples and the Planet Must Be Free!” — 4th Annual Earth Day Fest & Flea Market, an all day free festival in Clark Park with speakers, music, food, vendors and information booths. Free workshops will be held on such topics as social and environmental justice, community gardening and many aspects of building a sustainable community. The Food Trust weekly farmers market will be open and there will be activities for children. The flea market offers crafts, clothing, records, jewelry, ethnic arts and crafts, collectibles, great food from West Philly’s popular food trucks and carts including the brand new vegetarian Kung Fu Hoagies, and recycled goods of all kinds.
Other speakers include representatives from the Green Party of Philadelphia, Occupy Philly and Protecting Our Waters; Pam Africa, the leader of the Free Mumia Coalition; the African People’s Solidarity Committee, and more. Featuring live music, dance and performances from the Gold Coast Buccaneers Drill Team of West Philly, Plum Dragoness & the Elements, African drumming and dance, soulful singing from Tina, bluesy folk from Yoni Gordon (from NYC), and Revolutionary Poetry by Rasheed Bey. Also featuring workshops on organic gardening, urban farming & community agriculture and sustainability with The Food Trust, University City High School student gardeners, and other local experts.
The Festival is a benefit for the Uhuru Movement’s black-community led programs for sustainable economic self-reliance and development throughout the U.S. and the world, including the Sierra Leone Infant and Maternal Health Project that Nurse Mary Koroma leads.
The Community event will take place on Tuesday, April 24th at 6:30pm at the First Unitarian Church at 2125 Chestnut Street in Center City. It’s free and open to the public, who will have the opportunity to contribute skills or resources to the expansion of the Sierra Leone clinic. AAPDEP is actively recruiting scientists, engineers and volunteers from all fields to help develop their international projects focusing on renewable energy electrification, rainwater harvesting, well-building, water purification, ecological sanitation, farming and community health workers training.