Brandy Galmon

New Orleans Daughter Continues to be a Bridge Over Troubled Water in Ghana

Glenda Bell Data News Weekly Contributor

Brandy Galmon has been a registered nurse for 20 years, specializing in patient advocacy and juvenile justice. These experiences led her in 2023 to create Shola International 504. She successfully held her Inaugural Music Festival in Accra, Ghana, aimed at raising awareness of maternal health disparities and introducing the Dream of Shola’s House… a fully functioning transitional home for young mothers. “Empowering young women can help break the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of their families and communities.”

Ms. Galmon, affectionately known as “Shola,” headlined the heartfelt Groove Festival with internationally acclaimed poet and priestess Sunni Patterson, New Orleans artist Paco Troxclair (“Duffy”), the self-proclaimed King of Orisabeats, Oba Ogunlano, and several other local Ghanaian talents. Day one of the festivities began with a night of intimate performances as all artist united to share their voices and music with each. Day two began with the foundation’s members shopping at local markets to gather items for the donation of rice, toiletries, baby food, diapers, and clothing to over 100 pregnant women in Hope Village. As a show of appreciation, the young women paraded the village while singing “Aseda”, which means “Grateful”!

“We were invited to join and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, says Galmon.” Later that day, the members hurried to Odinas Place to close out the festival with the harmony of New Orleans live music and poetry. The gathering lasted deep into the night as attendees participated in panel discussions and sing- along. Paco was definitely a fan favorite! The night ended with a candle light visual for mothers that felt ending their life was their only recourse as they could not afford to care for their child. A Registered Nurse by trade but humanitarian at heart, Brandy vows to stay committed to helping young women who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

The Groove Festival gave birth to the launch of Tender Hearts Foundation, dedicated to supporting women in Ghana. The foundation’s mission is simple: Empower Her! Tender Hearts Foundation, an extension of SI504, conducted its first outreach project of 2024 on May 28th, globally recognized as World Menstrual Hygiene Day. The “Graceful Flow” Outreach Project, in collaboration with Nkansah’s Foundation, aimed to empower young women in health and menstrual hygiene at Tinkong SDA Basic School in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

“Graceful Flow” raised awareness and challenged taboos that prevent young women from reaching their full potential. The day included educational workshops and awareness sessions for both young women and men, providing vital information on menstrual hygiene, proper disposal of menstrual waste, good hygiene practices during menstruation, and the importance of regular check-ups. A local midwife demonstrated the creation of reusable pads and the correct use of sanitary cups. Free sanitary pads and other hygiene products were also distributed to ensure young women have access to affordable and sustainable hygiene solutions.

As September approaches, the foundation is in preparation for a fundraiser to support the 2nd Annual Festival in Ghana affectionately titled Harmony in Motherhood. “I thought we’d give it a touch of jazz this year and bring along two or three homegrown female artists, “says the New Orleans native. Alongside the music, will be interactive workshops, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with experts. Additionally, informational materials and resources on maternal health and well-being will be offered, alongside health screenings and consultations for expectant mothers.

This year’s multi-day event will also highlight the first Empower Her Widow’s Outreach. Widowed at the tender age of 19 while pregnant with twins, Brandy felt it necessary to acknowledge and provide solace to women affected in the same way. With the strong belief that out of calamity comes cause, the Tender Hearts founder plans to provide emotional support and counseling sessions for widows to cope with grief and loss. There will also be a distribution of essential items like food, clothing, and household necessities to widows in need.

The goal of the Tender Hearts Foundation is to hold this festival annually and expand gradually. Empower as many women as we can. When asked her purpose in life, Brandy believes her assignment from God is to go forth and be a blessing to humanity. “It is very important that we remember to do good by people and although heaven is the goal, there’s nothing wrong with giving people a little heaven on earth.”

“Women’s wellness fuels the nation. Empower her health, empower transformation.” – Brandy Galmon

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