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Francesca Raoelison – Founder and EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Originally from Madagascar, Francesca transferred from the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to Brown University. She previously studied Psychology and is currently pursuing a BA in Sociology, Organizational track studies and Entrepreneurship. For the past two years, her work as a Sexual Assault Peer Educator allowed her to impact more than a thousand students on her campus. Through classroom visits, workshops and interactive experiences, she presented material on sexual assault and consent, alcohol and substance abuse, healthy relationships and domestic violence to students. Since then, Francesca founded Omena and is committed to increasing abuse awareness in Madagascar’s educational system, especially around emotional abuse through a preventive program that will teach the next generation about emotional awareness, emotional intelligence, self-esteem, healthy relationships, respectful communication, and body safety. Francesca brings her knowledge and experience, as both a survivor of abuse and an educator, to help build healthier communities through a trauma-informed practice. She enjoys outside activities and traveling new places. In her free time she likes reading and singing or planning next road trips with friends/family.
Hoby Razafindramaka – Management Team Hoby grew up between Madagascar and Benin. She then moved to France to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Civilizations. To complete her Bachelor’s, she spent a few months in London, England doing an internship in the food service industry where she got her first experience in Management. After graduating with a double degree of M. A. in International Relations and Diplomacy, she has been focused on doing volunteer work, first with Today Movement and now with Omena. She hopes to help others with her own experience dealing with mental illness and emotional abuse. She is now back in Madagascar, awaiting new career prospects. In addition to her dedication to mental health, Hoby also deeply cares about the environment and the ongoing climate crisis. With 20 countries on her counter, she hopes to be able to sustainably travel to even more countries. Hoby likes to teach herself new things and loves crafting. She loves winding down by going on walks with her dog, while discovering new places.
Irintsoa Rakotonindrina – Project Management Irintsoa grew up and lived in Madagascar her entire life before moving to Rwanda for her studies. She is now pursuing a bachelor degree in Global Challenges with a focus on Education. With a passion for the world of education since the early age of 15, she has volunteered and interned within organizations that share her values and her vision for the future of education in Madagascar and on the African continent. Before joining Omena, Irintsoa was a peer counselor at her university and got introduced to the world of mental wellness. That position allowed her to combine her passion for education and for mental health as she started to facilitate workshops within her university. Later on, she discovered Omena and saw in the movement an opportunity to learn and impact at the same time. Since she joined Omena, she started her healing journey and got the chance to work in project management in order to give back to the community.
Mifaly Andriamady – Programming Team Mifaly is currently finishing her undergraduate studies in International Development at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her thirst for knowledge and seeing the interconnection between global and local issues keep her list of passions and interests almost endless, however, she is keeping development work, women and youth empowerment in mind, as she continues to figure out her purposes and place in this world. She discovered Omena along her own journey of reflection and self-healing from emotional abuse, and has thouroughly enjoyed being part of the community since joining the organization. Mifaly is an avid reader of self-empowerment, healing and biography books. During her free time, as an attempt to embrace being a multipotentialite, she enjoys singing with her ukulele, dancing or doing some creative writing and reflections on life. Originally from Madagascar and having grown up in other countries like Morocco and Zambia, she loves connecting with other people and learning about their culture. And, she constantly misses the peaceful African sunset.
McKenzie Isaac – Programming Team Kenzie recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in sociology and minored in Latino Studies and data science. Her greatest aspiration is to develop a community health education model that is more culturally competent, narrative-driven, and widely accessible. Much of her research has focused on the ways that built and social environments (re)produce health inequities in black and brown communities. She hopes to dedicate her career to working alongside these same communities to design educational initiatives to not only raise awareness about these inequities, but propose and execute evidence-based, community-informed, and sustainable interventions to actively combat them.
Fy Raelison – Translation Team Fy is located in Canada. She a is a translation graduate from the University of Sherbrooke with a sheer interest in communication and literature.
Mialy Razafintsalama – Social Media Team Despite her degree in Tourism, Mialy works in the communication field. She likes traveling, crafting, eating and taking pictures.
Cathy Li – Tech Team Cathy lives in Madagascar. She is a developer. She is also one of the administrators of the Google developer’s Group Antananarivo community, and a WTM (Women Techmakers) Ambassador Antananarivo. She is self-taught, and she likes to share her knowledge with those who need it. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading books, and writing (slam) poetry. She sometimes goes on stage with other slammers. Metal music is her go to, especially when she wants to concentrate on her work.
Benita Dederichs – Digital Marketing/Outreach Team Benita loves all things creative. She recently completed her M.Phil. in Film Studies and wants to follow her passion for research. At Omena she is part of the Digital Marketing and Outreach Teams. She enjoys painting in watercolor, contemporary dance, and analoge black-and-white photography. Watching figure skating always calms her down.
Kate Harrison – Digital Marketing/Outreach/Research Kate is a senior in college studying international relations. Her academic interests include political science, the Middle East, conflict studies, and economic development. In both her personal and professional lives, Kate is passionate about advancing gender and economic equality, as well as other forms of social justice. Currently, Kate works in the communications and development fields, and most of her experience is in working for nonprofits. Kate currently lives in Vermont and enjoys taking long walks with her dog, Chase.
Kanto Rabemananjara – Research Team Kanto is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical/Community Psychology program at the George Washington University in Washington DC. She’s originally from Madagascar and lived on and off in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area since she moved to the US in 2008. She finished her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Georgetown University, did a 2 year post-bac Research Assistant position at Brown University, and recently got her Masters degree in Psychological Science at The Catholic University of America. She’s interested in evidence-based practices that help prevent or reduce the negative effects of early adversities (traumatic experiences, physical, sexual and emotional abuse) and current stressors on maternal and child mental and physical health. She also is now doing research on the perspectives of Kenyan community volunteers and providers on mental health services for pregnant and postpartum women who are at risk for depression. She hopes to help develop and enhance cultural adaptation of evidence-based preventative interventions for perinatal mental health conditions among underserved populations in local and international settings, with a particular focus on developing countries. When not working or studying, she likes to watch Netflix, read a good mystery book, travel or go on road trips with her husband, or spend time with her family and friends.
Onitiana Razafimanantsoa – Research Team Onitiana is a Psychologist, located in France. She just graduate this year and she is excited to have Omena as the first ogranization she is joining to help out.
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