Iya Bekondo is the Founder and CEO of The Iya Project Inc., a New Jersey Non-Profit Organization.
Iya Bekondo-Granatella is a kidney transplant recipient, and founder of The Iya Foundation Inc., a NJ 501c3 nonprofit that promotes kidney and organ donation awareness. After dealing with chronic kidney disease from age 7 as a result of nephrotic syndrome which later progressed to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, she was able to get a renal transplant 16 years later. Her transplant could not have been made possible without the help and outpour of support from her community and loved ones. As a result of their selflessness and generosity, she became the recipient of a lifesaving kidney from her mom, Rose. Full of gratitude and a new lease on life, Iya dedicated herself to serving humanity, one community at a time, through sensitization and awareness of kidney disease and organ donation nationally and globally. Iya is also an Ambassador for the American Association of Kidney Patients. In addition to Iya’s work as an avid kidney and health care advocate, she works as a Business Analyst.
Maureen Muke Epie is a Program Director of The Iya Foundation (TIF), LLC. Dr. Epie brings to the Iya Project her medical expertise and strong belief in a holistic approach in treating patients as a whole: their medical, psychological, emotional and even financial needs. Dr. Epie therefore is an ardent supporter of TIF’s mission to provide financial assistance to low-income individuals as well as provide educational programs to raise awareness on kidney disease. It is therefore only fitting that Dr. Epie champions all outreach and education initiatives for the TIF. Dr. Epie is a graduate of the American University of Antigua with a Doctor of Medicine (Honors) and is currently doing her residency in Internal Medicine in Flint, Michigan. Upon completion of her residency, Dr. Epie plans to pursue a fellowship in nephrology.
Mr. Gregory Orewa has over 5 years of experience in the financial service industry. He has worked for Morgan Stanley and Prudential Financial. Currently he is in the health care industry working as a Financial Accountant for Baptist Health Foundation. He received his MSc. & BSc (honors) in Accounting from Kean University in New-Jersey. Gregory Orewa is responsible for directing and managing project development from beginning to end and defining project scope, goals and deliverables that support organizational goals in collaboration with team members. He is also responsible for drafting and submitting budget proposals, making financial decisions and giving advice on how to allocate and spend funds on any given project. He is dedicated in giving back to the community and saving lives by assisting low income end stage renal disease patients (ESRD), by educating and creating awareness on kidney disease and organ donation.
Ms. Elangwe is a Lawyer and a Human Rights Defender with an ardent desire to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights. Ms. Elangwe has worked towards this goal for over 9 years, first while working with the United Nations in Cameroon and Rwanda; then while studying at Indiana University School of Law, where she was a member of the Immigration Clinic, providing pro bono immigration legal services to low-income immigrants in Indiana; also through her work with Catholic Charities in providing legal services to low-income immigrants in the Washington DC metropolitan area and New Orleans, LA; and finally as Students Services Coordinator for the Graduate School at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) where amongst other duties she ensures that students facing financial hardship and illnesses are provided with adequate support to see them through their educational journey.
After suffering a near fatal health scare herself in 2012, the importance of providing support to low-income individuals plagued by disease has become even more glaring and now very personal. Working for TIP is an extension of Ms. Elangwe’s desire to ensure that low income individuals are able to enjoy their basic human rights, in this case the right to health.
Ms. Elangwe is a graduate of University of Buea, Cameroon with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B., Honors), University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon with a Maitrise en Droit and Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis IN with a Master of Laws (LL.M., Cum Laude). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at UMES. Ms. Elangwe loves to sing, play scrabbles, watch soccer, socialize and travel.
Abdul Hakeem Imoro has over six years of accomplished experience as a Communications Specialist with keen interest in research and public policy. He serves as an advisor on the Media Committee of The Iya Foundation LLC. His role is to set policies, priorities, and goals for publicity, oversee all printing production and update web site and develop ideas to recruit key volunteer leadership and solicitors for the organization’s publicity projects.
He was awarded “The GSA Impact Fellowship Program” in 2013 to work with the US General Services Administration (GSA) as Communications Policy Analyst. He has also been involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of community policy programs.
Hakeem earned a Masters of Science degree in Public Policy from Drexel University, Philadelphia and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies from Kean University in New Jersey. He has successfully worked on legislative policies such as “Youth Courts” and the use of All-Terrain-Vehicles (ATV) in the City of Philadelphia. He worked as a newspaper and magazine reporter in West Africa, Ghana for five years in which he covered politics and also interviewed high profile personalities in Ghana. He also covered the United Nations (UN) as an intern with the Voice of America (VOA), New York bureau in 2009.
As an avid supporter of Manchester United and the Chicago Bull, he enjoys watching soccer and basketball. He loves walking and jogging.
Prince Henry Ihedike is a healthcare professional with over five years of experience currently working as a Service Coordinator at Clinton Pharmacy and Healthcare Center in Newark, New Jersey. With a passion for effective public health services, Prince was part of a leading team at the UMDNJ University Behavioral Healthcare, Child and Adolescent Services that improved the efficacy of ongoing programs, and played an instrumental role in winning grants and donations for the department.
It is this love for public health, the believe that effective health education and awareness programs can drastically reduce healthcare burden on the national economy, and an insight into the world of chronic kidney disease through the Founder of The Iya Project that sparked Prince’s interest and passion for educating and creating awareness of kidney disease.
Since its conception, Prince has been an ardent supporter of the Foundation and plays a vital role as the Foundation’s Special Projects Manager, where he assists in the writing of grants, coordinates awareness and fundraising events, and advises on public health education strategies; including community outreach.
Lilian Nangoh is very passionate about The Iya Foundation and its missions. Besides her full-time job as a Food Safety specialist, Lilian is committed to saving mankind through creating awareness on kidney diseases and organ transplant as well as raising funds to assist end stage renal disease patients with low incomes.
Ms. Nangoh is a graduate from North Dakota State University in 2006 and currently works with Schwan’s Food Company in Oklahoma. As a member of board of trustees, she functions as the Secretary General of The Iya Project Inc, a NJ Non-Profit Organization. She prepares and manages correspondence, reports and documents. She is also responsible for managing the flow of information both internally and externally.
Kiara Smith is a junior at Edison High School in New Jersey. Kiara is responsible for coordinating the Foundation’s social media content as well as community outreach and fundraising activities. Seeing first hand as her aunt – founder of the Iya Foundation, suffered from kidney failure and learning at a very young age the importance of organ donation when her grandmother became a donor to her aunt, changing her aunt’s life around; inspired Kiara to dedicate time in helping her community and the world to become aware of kidney disease and organ donation.
Besides school and working for the Iya Foundation, this dancer and model loves to bake and be creative in her spare time.