Mama Africa, andja (heroine), tsen (fearless), ayoka (the one who brings the good day). These are some expressions for the woman who decided to become a mother of many in the Black Continent and touched the hearts of unfortunate people who without her own love and care, would not live today dreaming of tomorrow.
Mero Kececioglu, Consul General of Ivory Coast in Greece, founding president of “Greek Action in Africa”, and Mama of Africa for 30 years. She has given herself fully to the entire cause, with funds many times, the projects she undertook to avoid bureaucratic procedures and the obstacles that delayed her work.
She’s the woman who raised the Greek flag in the depths of Africa, faced and defied danger, ignored diseases, fought guerrilla fighters while spreading her. work to 12 African countries: Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Togo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Mali, Chad, Rwanda and Nigeria where hospitals were equipped and implemented development programmes.
She never forgets Greece and supports organizations as much as she can and institutions in need such as SOS Children’s Villages Greece, The Smile of the Child, and The Arch of the World.
She has received honorary distinctions from country governments, the United Nations, Red Cross, Rotary, and Lions of many countries. In Greece, she’s been honored with the Silver Cross of the Order of the Phoenix and the Wisdom Prize from the Delphic Ideal.
The First Female Tribe Chief
It’s difficult to survive there, unless they feel you are their own person, one of them, because that’s the only way they can trust you, she tells us. In 1991, the people of Ivory Coast expressed their worship, she was proclaimed Tribe Chief of the AGNI BINI, which is rare for a woman let alone a white woman. With this capacity, she is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female Tribe Chief.
The First Mission to Africa
A research project, a post about a UN volunteer mission in the Ivory Coast was the occasion for her beginning. On July 1978, she arrived in the Black Continent. Her first contact was with lepers to whom she had to offer her services. As she said “an inner voice armed me with courage” and that alone motivated her to think of ways to help more. This first mission was the cornerstone for the establishment of the organization Greek Action of Africa.
The project “Dangerous Missions”
In 1978, she visited Ivory Coast again with pharmaceutical material and financed the local leprosarium, built entertainment halls and bought dugouts with machines for lepers to fish and secure food.
In 1983, she carried out four shipments in the city of Touba with medicine, installed the first dental clinic and inaugurates a wing at the local hospital under the name “Hellas” where she installed the first Greek flag. In 1985 in the city Grand Bassam equipped the dormitories in the local orphanage, giving once more, the name Hellas.
Consulate of Ivory Coast
In 1987 the Ivory Coast government honored her action and appointed her the Consul of their country in Greece. In 1989, as an official diplomatic representative, she continued her activity and took over the local hospital under her auspices, donated a tractor, a water pump, and implemented the first development program with the help of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture employing 70 women farmers.
In 1992, she founded and installed the first maternity hospital and a dental clinic in the city of Odienne while implementing an agricultural development programme with 100 female farmers.
In 1994, she continues to lead the medicine shipments, pushed the use of surgeries, maternity hospitals, and donated mobile surgery units to war zones.
In 1998, she organized an event in Greece with the Greek High school to raise money and create the first Greek library in the city of Kouassi Datekro while at the same time she founded the first Greek school in the city of Toukouzou where 600 children study and learn the Greek language. In the same year, she organized “Greek Week” in the city of Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, where the inhabitants had the opportunity to get to know the Greek way of life. Accompanying her, the President of the Greek Red Cross.
In 1999, she founded a special hospital where 400 children suffered from a disease called “Ulcer of Bouroulis”, a type of mutated leprosy that weakens the muscular and nervous system and the only treatment is amputation.
In 2000, she promised special medicinal products for the recovery of 100 lepers while she contributed to the completion of the computer equipment of Abidjan University with the contribution of EOMEXX.
In 2002, DAD ES Salaam in Tanzania started an orphanage for children whose parents died of AIDS and who are carriers themselves.
In 2003, she organized charity events in the major capitals of the world, money was all donated to medicine for patients with AIDS in Africa.
She was supported by Demis Roussos, Nana Moushouri, Gina Lolobritzita, Nikos Aliagas, UNAIDS President Peter Riot, the President of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Jacques Diouf, Jeremy Irons and the fashion designer Pierre Cardin.
From 2004 to 2007, she established an orphanage in Ivory Coast under the name “Hellas-Thessaloniki” in order to become an intercultural channel between the two countries, built a hospital in Benesuif in Egypt, established an agricultural school for 180 students trained in fish farming, agriculture, and inaugurated a primary school in the town of Guiglo that was destroyed in the civil war. Arriving in 2020, she still maintains the orphanage, a project of great importance.
The New Goals
The projects she eagerly wants to complete are the construction of a new school and another drinking water well with drinking water, valuable projects that require financial support from permanent sponsors who will contribute their construction.
As for her, if she lived her life again from the beginning, she would again dedicate it to the people, who worships her as a deity who fights for the helpless, the ones wronged by life who are born with the sole purpose of dying.