Elmira I. Sellu is a missionary with United Methodist Women assigned as Regional Missionary with Women, Children and Youth. She is based in Sierra Leone serving as coordinator for the United Methodist Women's Leadership Development for Women's Programs in the West Africa Central Conference and the East Africa Annual Conference.
Mrs. Sellu describes her work, "I work with women and children in the East Africa Annual Conference, which comprises five countries: Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Sudan. I hold workshops/seminars on leadership development and on current issues that affect the lives of women and children, such as HIV/AIDS, women and children’s health, child survival and development, violence against women, the girl child in Africa, environmental issues and peace education. I also work in the area of poverty alleviation for women through the initiating of and the ensuring of effective management and sustainability of income generating projects. Networking and advocacy with other women’s organizations are also part of what I do."
A native of Sierra Leone, Elmira and her family were forced to leave their home country during the civil unrest in 1997 and fled to neighboring Guinea. Her own experiences during that time had an impact not only on her own life, but also on the women with whom she lived. She reflects, "As a refugee I was able to mobilize women refugees in Conakry, Guinea. Small-scale business enterprises were started and that changed the lives of many women in a strange land."
Of her work in Nairobi, she shares, "I have been able to cater for refugee school children living in Nairobi who otherwise would be out of school today. Also, during the practical session of one of my workshops we were able to detect three women who were living with breast cancer without knowing it. Treatment was given on time and danger averted."
Elmira has been coordinator of Leadership Development for Women in the East Africa Annual Conference since 1999 based in Nairobi, Kenya and more recently in Kampala, Uganda. Previously, she was coordinator for United Methodist Women in Sierra Leone from 1993-1999. She was associate Lay Leader for the Sierra Leone Annual Conference from 1996-1998 and was Lay Leader of King Memorial United Methodist Church (where she continues to hold church membership)in Freetown from 1988-1992. From 1988-1992, she served as secretary of the King Memorial United Methodist Women. She is currently the vice president of the West Africa Area of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women.
She earned a diploma in women's leadership in 1994 from the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Kitwe, Zambia and certification as a 'higher teacher' in 1975 from Milton Margai Teacher's College in Sierra Leone.
Elmira is married to Abraham Kai Sellu, regional office manager for the East and Central Africa Annual Conferences. They have three children: Wuyatta and Elmira, both adults, and Abraham, Jr. a college student.
Elmira Sellu is available for Covenant Relationship support in Tennessee Annual Conference.