Author

Ruby Girls Nigeria

Browsing

There is no force greater than a woman determined to live a fulfilled life, and make a difference while at it. Oluwatoyin Fadairo is a goal-oriented woman full of passion. for humanity and affinity for change. TSD, as she is fondly called by friends, is a successful entrepreneur that also doubles as a philanthropist whose focus is on vulnerable women and children in the society.

With her creativity and innovative ideas, she has been able to create a niche for herself on social media, and this has landed her a number of ambassadorial and brand promotion roles with reputable brands and businesses across the world.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo is the Director of Operations for TSDXclusive, the home of quality bespoke footwear for men, and shoes for women and children. Oluwatoyin has successfully created a platform for children and women experiencing any form of abuse or human right violation, to seek and get necessary help and intervention.

Being a philanthropist, TSD is the founder of The Unbroken Women Initiative (TUWI), a non-profit organization that caters for women and children with psychological, emotional, and financial needs.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo  shares her inspiring story with  Women of Rubies.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo
Oluwatoyin Fadairo
Childhood Influence

Growing up was fun. I grew up in a relatively comfortable family, as my parents tried their utmost best to provide us with the necessities of life and my siblings and I attended some the best schools around. However, we were taught not to close our eyes to the needs of the people around us, as there are rewards for givers.

In our neighborhood, we had folks who were struggling to cater for their kids, my parents especially my mum always assisted in her own little way and I learnt this from her. I made up my mind at the early stage to ensure I am always there for people, in my own little way.

Read Also: Before You Judge Another Single Mom

Inspiration Behind The Unbroken Welfare Initiative

The empathy for women who suffered all kinds of abuses in marriages. The trauma some of them experienced when they lost their spouse, seeing children, who ought to be in school doing menial jobs at the earliest stage of their lives, etc, motivated me to start The Unbroken Welfare initiative (TUWI).

The Journey So Far

Frankly speaking, it has been very challenging. This type of vision requires a lot of resources – human, financial and a host of others to sustain it and make desired impact in the lives of the target population.
A lot of financial resources are required to meet up with the ever mounting financial requests.

You will be amazed to see the number of requests that get to our table on daily basis, like financial assistance to sort medical bills, school fees, accommodations, etc. Many people believe, for you to set up this kind of NGO, the finances are there and you must be able to respond to all, immediately these requests are presented.

They are ignorant of the fact that the organisation runs on the little gains from personal businesses and goodwill of friends and family that key into TUWI’s vision.

Another major challenge we face is that people are skeptical of sharing their burdens with us. Many are reluctant to share their experiences due to societal discriminations, as well as pressure to keep quiet, especially those in abusive marriages/relationships.

Also, for every platform, there are people, who are not genuinely in need but cook up stories, to the extent of ‘cooking up’ fake medical reports in a bid to get funds from us. We also need volunteers, especially professionals, to assist in attending to diverse issues.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo

How My Work Inspire Other Women

I have seen a lot of women coming out to express themselves freely about challenges they are going through. People have walked up to me, to speak of their desire to touch lives in their communities, because they appreciate what we are doing. This gives us at TUWI, a lot of joy and push to do more.

Read Also: I Was Sexually Abused At 8, It Took Me 22 Years To Open Up

 Other Projects and Activities

I started my business years ago (sales of interior décor). I am now also into sales of fashion items mostly shoes and many others….brand influencing, social media adverts and campaigns for brands/businesses and brand ambassadorship (I am presently the face of two brands).

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

Getting to meet new people, helping small businesses grow as I also supply items in wholesales…I have a number of people who get items from me through what we call the dropshipping system, this makes it possible for people to start and run businesses without having to worry about capital
The most satisfying aspect of my job is the running of TUWI, knowing that at least I get to touch lives positively in my own little way

Oluwatoyin Fadairo

 3 women who inspire me and why 

My mum, Chimamanda Adichie and Olamide Ogidan Odeseye(Larmmy)

To People Who Judge Women Who Walk Out Of Abusive Relationships

Stop pushing people down the death valley. Life has no recovery key and we cannot continue to encourage people to keep enduring torments. If we only put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we will be less judgmental.
Then we need to let people especially this new generation know marriage is not a do or die affair, its supposed to be a journey between partners not a war zone.

How  To support women in abusive relationships

As a society, we need to stop stigmatizing single people and single parents. This has prevented many from walking away from unproductive and abusive relationship.

We need to encourage women in abusive relationship to speak up and also provide them with therapy to enable them heal, as abusive relationship leaves people with a huge scar and takes so many things away – joy, self-esteem, vision and so many other things.

Read Also: I Was Suicidal After My Marriage Broke Up

What Makes Me a Woman of Rubies

In the adventure of life, I have been through a lot of fire and storms. I have not given the fire the power to burn me nor subjected myself to be blown away by the storm. Rather, I have allowed the experiences to shape me into a woman of dignity, industry, influence, vision and respect.

No matter the challenges or the obstacles that come my way, I have chosen to live through them and to be inspired by them.

Watch: How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

My life is a proof that God exists, I am evidence that He is indeed faithful and so gracious. There are days I feel like my life is not all together, other days, I feel like wonder woman but I have learnt to be in charge, in both situations. Rubies are beautiful, they are formed under severe heat and pressure.

The heat of life refines me, the pressure of life strengthens me.

 If I Could Speak To A Young Person Who Is On The Verge Of Giving Up

Quitters never win. No situation is common to a man and no challenge has ever come to stay, as long as one does not surrender to it. Never stop dreaming. Everyone being celebrated today, would tell you they were at the point of given up, at some time but they turned things around by realizing that, giving up would not result in change of fortune, they re-assessed where they were, where they ought to be, understand what was needed to move from where they were to be where they ought to be, resolved to give it all their all, connected with people who can lift up their spirits and assist them in their life journey.

Life is full of ups and downs but never give up.

You can follow Oluwatoyin Fadairo On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to know more about her work.

Camille Williams-Taylor has worked in the Canadian education sector for over thirty years, from Winnipeg to Montreal, with the better part of her career spent in schools and education systems in Ontario.

She is an innovative leader and an accomplished learner who cultivates an environment that embraces creativity, critical thinking and high expectations for learners and staff. Earlier in her career, Camille promoted Black student success through volunteering in programs with the Canadian Alliance for Black Educators  and Parkdale Project Read.

Read Also: 16 Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

A graduate of the University of Manitoba and McGill University, Camille is currently serving as the Director of Education for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board which is a district of 147 schools and over 75,000 students. Her previous experiences in education include roles at the Ministry of Education, York University’s Faculty of Education and at a number of school districts including Durham, Toronto and Peel.

Camille Williams-Taylor

Her leadership capabilities have evolved through time and experience. In the last three decades, she has been a classroom teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a Ministry of Education student achievement officer and a Faculty of Education course director.

Camille Williams-Taylor has also shaped system structures to improve school experiences for Black students along with other equity deserving/ equity-seeking groups. She was also a key collaborator in the development of the inclusive design framework that has been used by several school districts to systematically advance anti-racist and anti-oppression work in schools, classrooms and departments.

Read Also: I Started Immiducation To Give Immigrant Professionals Access To Careers In Tech

She is also a wife and the mother of three daughters. She believes learning happens everywhere, in school, in the community, at home and in families. In every one of her roles she has learned from students, staff, and community leaders and partners.

Camille was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women 

Rachael Onyemairo believes that if a child is not trained to be a problem solver, they’ll grow up to become the problem themselves. In 2021, she founded The IDEA Moment with Rachael,  highly transforming Academy for kids and teenagers

At TIM, Rachael works with a team of very passionate individuals and together, they directly involve children from various African countries in the discovery of their own potentials, equipping them with diverse skills, knowledge and matchless exposures they need to solve problems innovatively and in so doing thrive anywhere they find themselves in today’s dynamic world. In the last 18months, she and her team have trained about 50 kids and teens from 5 Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria out of 6, including African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, etc.

Read Also: 16 Inspiring Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

Rachael is the Director of the fast emerging business empire known as INNOVATORS iSPACE. She’s an internationally published Author who authored the bestseller, “WHY THE YOU?” with three books in works.

Rachael is passionate about curbing the high rate of Africa’s unemployment. Consequently, she has helped thousands of young people discover their purposes, develop through relevant trainings like STEM and others, what they have discovered and deploy them to solving high paying problems outstandingly. She sees all these as a way of promoting SDGs 1, 8 and 9.

In her burning passion to effect socioeconomic change among the Africans, she founded INNOVATIVE MINDS VISION AFRICA, an online community committed to training the minds and empowering the hands of enthusiastic Africans both young and old, across the continent, to enable them create jobs for themselves and others through problem solving approaches and skills that meet global standards.

To arm these Africans with the 21st century problem solving skills, in March and May, 2020, Rachael led her organization to collaborate with a tech-based company known as Pintle Solutions to train over 800 people from 23 countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, etc. on Mobile Apps Development.

In her bid to curb immigration and emigration crimes among Africans, on May 20, 2020, Rachael organized a Travel Abroad Clarity Session, where a UK based immigration and emigration expert, Mr. Robert E. Robert spoke to people from 23 countries 17 of which are Africa. This Clarity Session was held in her online community, “INNOVATIVE MINDS VISION AFRICA.” She ensured that the members learned the legitimate, safer and easier ways to travel abroad.

In July 2019, she also led her organization to partner with a STEM certified, multiply patented inventor, who is also a Harvard trained Research Director, Science Medicine Research Institute, Dallas Texas, USA, Prof. Alphonsus N. Ekwerike, to train young people from various African countries on STEMIE.  She also trained 50 corps members In Imo state.

She has helped over 3,000 young people start and run edupreneurship, fashionpreneurship, infomerce, book authorship and sales and lots more.

In November 2020, Girlotherapy & Nspired4Life Women’s Empowerment Network, USA recognized and profiled her in its “Lessons in Groundbreaking,” a book project celebrating 16 amazing women globally who forged their way to success, despite challenges.

Rachel Onyemairo has touched lives and impacted many through her initiatives. She shares her story with Women of Rubies

Childhood Influence

Yes; my childhood prepared me for what I’m doing now. I came from a broken home. After my parents divorced, I lived with many families as a House Help/Nanny. Consequently, I went through various kinds of domestic and emotional abuses. However, after living with these families, I returned home. Unfortunately, I entered into a new kind of hardship and vulnerability.

Seeing how hard life was, I vowed that I would lead a life that folks would see and be encouraged and that my existence would provide encouragement and hope for other suffering children in the society. I didn’t quite understand how all of that was going to happen, but from the day I took that decision, I tagged myself an “Embodiment of Encouragement.”

Meanwhile, even before my parents divorced, my siblings and I performed very well in school. Unfortunately, no other aspects of our lives were developed nor equipped, yet my parents believed that they raised champions. They didn’t know that we followed other kids to indulge in all kinds of mischief. In fact, this was the case with many families in our community then. Consequently, some children became addicted to porn, alcoholism, drugs and other forms of waywardness, to the extent that some parents lost complete control over their kids. So, all these experiences growing up piled up as a burden in my heart towards African children.

Inspiration Behind The IDEA Moment With Rachael Academy And INNOVATORS iSPACE

In addition to my childhood experiences, coordinating children in some churches since 2013 till date and having served as a classroom teacher at some point in my life, I observed that neither the family, church nor the traditional school system is intentionally developing and equipping children with adequate skills they need to thrive in today’s dynamic society. I also observed that the reason many children fall for drug addiction, porn, alcoholism and other forms of waywardness is because a lot of attention is paid to their brain, leaving their mind unattended to.

I also saw that many of these children are merely enrolled in school to obtain certificates and get jobs in the future, not necessarily to learn how to solve problems in the society. It was obvious that nobody really understood that if a child is not trained to be a problem solver, they’ll grow up to become the problem themselves.

Therefore, in my bid to change this ugly narrative, I founded The IDEA Moment with Rachael Academy and through it, my team and I have been reaching out to children and training them through their parents. Interestingly, between January 2021 and September 2022, we’ve been able to train as well as rehabilitate over 43 children (kids and teenagers), equipping them with diverse skills, knowledge and matchless exposures that they need to thrive in today’s dynamic world.

Rachael Onyemairo.

Today, some of them have become Authors, Repairers of different electrical appliances, Spoken Word Artists, Monogrammers in training, Amazon Self Publishers and lots more.

What inspired me to found INNOVATOR iSPACE was that I have intelligent and multitalented siblings, yet my family wallowed in abject poverty, to the point that I dropped out of high school at some point, because of hardship. It was that excruciating. I would say that each of us was born with enviable talents, yet we suffered in poverty. Even after we had graduated from college, things never changed. Meanwhile, each of my siblings was not only hardworking but very passionate, when it comes to making impacts.

However, because none of us had discovered themselves as well as their specific life’s purpose at the time, nor knew how to innovate buyable solutions that could tackle people’s problems satisfactorily nor knew how to monetize numerous impacts that we were making here and there, our multi talents rather turned into confusion and frustration.

Simply put, we did not know how to identify the particular area where our peculiar potentials were suitable to solve problems innovatively. Over time, I began to do everything possible to discover my purpose in life. I furthered to develop all I have discovered about myself; then, I began to deploy them to solving high paying problems.

Eventually, I became the one helping my siblings to do same. So, INNOVATORS iSPACE was birthed as a platform through which other industry experts and I help talented folks as well as entrepreneurs to discover themselves, get clarity about their purposes, build businesses around such purposes, reposition their mindsets to achieve global relevance and innovate their way above the tides of market competitions.

What Motivated Me To Train And Help  Over 3000 Youths To Chase Their Dreams And Goals

What motivates me is the rate of poverty in Africa. Like Ebenezer Osuji once said, an idle youth is a devil’s tool. It’s therefore obvious that the incapacitation and idleness orchestrated by poverty is the major reason African youths are cheaply used by politicians as a destructive tool. I believe that to end poverty in Africa, jobs need to be created for Africans and no one will create these jobs better than Africans themselves. Since Africa as a continent is rich in problems, we need to approach this job creation as an opportunity to solve problems. But, I quite understand that problem solving can only be effective if the problem solvers themselves are trained to do so expertly. Seeing that a lot of African youths are talented but still need some level of training so that their talents can be honed and turned to skills, equally motivates me to rise and fill the gap.

These are what motivates my team and I to train the minds and empower the hands of Africans, so they can gainfully employ themselves and others through solving problems with skills and approaches that meet global standards.

Read Also: My Dream Is For Every State In Nigeria To Have Facilities For Special Needs Kids

The Journey So Far

It has been full of high and low, unlearning, learning and relearning moments.

The high moments are filled with the testimonies of transformations which we get from the children we train as well as their parents almost on daily basis. These testimonies uplift our spirits and are truly heartwarming, to say the least. In fact, they keep spurring us to do more. Low moments come because some parents still think that whatever that comes through the internet is fake.

Therefore, at times, we expend a lot of resources before they give us access to their wards. At other times, it’s inadequate resources with which to continue reaching and training more kids and teenagers. These resources include funds, training devices like laptops, training software, etc. Unlearning, learning and relearning moments come because as we encounter children from both familiar and unfamiliar geographical areas and ideologies, we quickly learn and relearn what truly works in each area that we’re to train children from.

Challenges

The biggest challenge we face is insufficient resources, especially funds. Truth is, a lot of human, intellectual and technological resources are required to really get some of the kids and teenagers adequately rehabilitated and others just equipped. Unfortunately, the families of the children who truly need these services are usually not buoyant enough to sponsor these trainings. To overcome this particular challenge, we’ve begun to create some self sustaining systems within the Academy. This is to ensure that lack of funds doesn’t prevent us from providing these most needed transformations to African children.

Impact Of My Work Across Africa

I’ve been immensely impacted training children from different countries across the African continent. First, every child comes from a family. So, access to one child in any state or country means access to one family in that state or country. Therefore, imparting these kids and teenagers has given me the opportunity to learn how the family system works across various states of Nigeria as well as other countries of Africa.

This work has trained me to become that leader who constantly defies ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and other social boundaries, all to reach and train African children. Honesty, I now appreciate the concept of diversity, equity and inclusion much more than ever. I’ve also learnt more ethical approaches to handling privacy information and confidentialities, especially as regards families and their children.

Other Projects And Activities 

Apart from “The IDEA Moment with Rachael Academy,” I’m the Founder of “Innovative Minds Vision Africa”- a highly innovative online community, where I head a team of very passionate individuals who train the minds and empower the hands of young people to be able to achieve similar goal of being able to gainfully employ themselves and others through solving problems with skills and approaches that meet global standards.

Here, I initiate and supervise collaborations with industry experts as well as other entities to help the community members discover their potentials and develop what they’ve discovered through STEM, Digital Marketing, Programming and acquisition of various Entrepreneurial skills, what they’ve discovered about themselves.

I’m also an internationally published Author, a wife as well as a mum. Other activities you could catch me passionately engage in include: public speaking, reading, creative writing, book editing and several volunteer roles. As hobbies, I enjoy strolling, listening to God’s word, cool music as well as hanging out with my family.

What I Enjoy most About My Job

What I enjoy most about my job is the testimonies of our transformational impacts, which regularly pour in. Another interesting part of my work is the opportunity it gives me to be part of these children’s transformational stories. Seeing how the ones we rescued from suicide, addictions, etc. are now growing in sanity and soundness and becoming who God made them to be, always leaves me fulfilled. Yet another part that makes my day is watching how these kids and teenagers seize every moment to warmly show their parents and siblings love. And, family members reuniting in this manner gladdens my heart so deeply, because this is part of the people-skills that we teach them in the Academy.

3 Women Who Inspire You And Why

Grace Ihejiamaizu greatly inspires me. She’s a Nigerian Social Entrepreneur, Educator and Mandela Washington Fellow working to promote quality education and empower the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. Grace is the Founder of iKapture Networks, a center for youth development that provides afterschool education and services to students and out-of-school youths in Nigeria, using creative learning methods and ICT and has trained over 3000 young people.

She’s the woman that founded OpportunityDesk.org, which is the largest online platform that shares relevant opportunities for youth across the world. In 2015, she coached a team of young girls to develop a mobile app to solve a problem in their community. The group, Team Charis, represented Africa at the Technovation World Pitch in San Francisco where they emerged global winners. Her passion and dedication to the development of youths inspires me in no small measure. Leader Grace, as I fondly call her, has been named one of Google’s 12 Brightest Young Minds in 2011 and a Global Changemaker in 2012. She was one of the Honorees for the prestigious Future Awards Africa Young Person of the Year Prize in 2013 and in 2016, became a Mandela Washington Fellow of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Seeing this power woman inspires me to always roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Another woman that deeply inspires me is Rabi Egunjobi, Founder & CEO of iCore Naturals Company, Texas USA. iCore Naturals is a hair products company which combine science, sophistication and elements of the Earth to give the hair what it needs most: strength, moisture and growth. Rabi is a Health Care Provider registered in the U. S. She’s the brain behind Rcore Home Health Care, a health provider established in Sugar Land, Texas specializing in Home Health. Rabi combines godliness, successful marriage and earthly relevance in a manner I admire so much. Looking at her inspires me to keep following God uncompromisingly while living out my dreams fully.

Next is Esther Ijewere. Esther is a Nigerian Advocate, Author, women and girl child’s rights Activist and a Columnist for The Guardian. She is a key member of Walk Against Rape, an advocacy initiative created to assist rape victims and seek justice. She’s the brain behind Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children. I’m inspired by the amount of resources she expends on philanthropy, especially building women’s lives and careers.

In her usual use of social media to promote social good, she hosts Get Talking with Esther, an online talk-show (Tweetchat) aimed at helping people find their voice and communicate their thoughts through words and in so doing, promote positivity on social media. I particularly admire how she educates, informs, inspires and motivates Nigerian and African women in general to be the best they can be and contribute positively towards nation building. Above all, I love the way she professionally beams light on women’s works, giving them global visibility through her weekly column in the The GUARDIAN newspaper and www.womenofrubies.com.

Looking at Esther, I deeply understand what Amy Leigh Mercree meant when he said that kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light, because that is exactly what her kindness does for African women. Esther’s life really inspires me to truly live for others.

Being a Writer, Public Speaker, Advocate and Coach and Managing It All

Well, let me say here that I’m a multipotentialite. This means that I’ve multiple talents and skills. Good enough, God doesn’t give one an assignment without giving one the equivalent grace to fulfill it. So, God’s grace aids me a lot in carrying out these assignments.  Another of my secret is captured in Confucius’s words: “Choose a job you love and you will not have to work any day in your life.” Truth is, all these that I do are my hobbies. Therefore, I passionately enjoy doing them. Besides, I’ve the most supportive family in the whole wide world. My husband’s support towards my dreams and career is second to none.

Another thing is, I’m that leader who goes out of her way to ensure that everyone working with her realizes their dream doing so. Good enough, my team members go to any length to reciprocate that. From Nigeria, Togo and Poland where they’re, these team members heartily work so hard to support our work in so many incredible ways. Believe me; these are the reasons I’m able to wear those many caps successfully.

What  We Can  Do Better As a Society To Educate The Youths On The Importance Of Learning Income Generating Skills, Especially Those Currently At Home Due To The ASUU Strike

Families should start reorienting their youths that the main essence of schooling is not job security but knowledge acquisition. Therefore, almost the amount of resources expanded in making these young people persevere in Nigeria’s hectic educational system, should equally be expanded right now in making them to persevere in first, discovering themselves and then, acquisition of skills that align with what they’ve discovered about themselves.

We as a society should also give due attention to these youths’ behaviours and character building not just on money generating skills, because character is the only currency that can sustain them where skills are going to take them to.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Advocacy and Development Sector  

It’s the way our society recognizes and rewards riches over resourcefulness. I will reoriente young people to build themselves into persons of value and then begin to offer value in exchange for money.

Looking at the way a lot of young people entangle themselves in “Yahoo quick money” and other internet frauds and how their lives and future are cut short in these menaces, you’ll agree with me that this particular awareness is timely. Until young people accept the “no value, no money” philosophy, they’ll keep mortgaging their future for today’s vanity.

Similarly, I’ll raise advocacy against “result over diligence.” I’ll advocate that from the family, we need to start recognizing and rewarding children for the amount of efforts they put in while trying to achieve any kind of success and not just for achieving the said success.

Being a Woman Of Rubies

Women of Rubies are a women of substance, women of value. They’re exceptional women inspiring hope and transformation in the world. Interestingly, I drip both value and substance. By rescuing some children who were in the verge of committing suicide, reconciling those who were trying to run away from home, rehabilitating some who already caught up in addictions and more, I’ve inspired hope and transformation in African children as well as their families. So, I’m a woman of Rubies.

As nurturers by nature, women of Rubies profitably nurture their God-given potentials and in so doing, make the world a better place. This is exactly what I do in TIM with Rachael Academy. I nurture the potentials of African children, transforming them into sane, sound and innovative problem solvers.

Like Esther Ijewere and other women of Rubies do, I spread kindness everywhere I go and I hope to do more. As a woman of Rubies, I’m here to do the unthinkable and to change narratives in my generation and for the generations to come.

To A  Young Person Who Is On The Verge Of Giving up

Well, I don’t know if any young person can be at the verge of giving up as much as I’ve been. For instance, I’ve considered suicide at some point in my life, because of too many frustrations I’ve faced. One reason I never did was, I remembered that committing suicide is committing murder and I already know that no murderer can make it to God’s kingdom. One time like that, I seriously considered giving up all these big dreams and quietly settle for a life of ordinariness, like many of my mates.

But then, I thought of what would happen to millions of young people who’re coming behind, who would have drawn hope and reassurance from the story of how I pulled through myself.

So, what I began doing was take my eyes off the frustrations while I keep thinking, writing and talking about the kind of future I desire to have. And, this has been super hope sustaining for me. Therefore, I would tell such a young person to close their eyes to other forces of limitation all around them and create the very future they want to have, in their minds. Then, fix their gaze on that future they’ve created for themselves. Like the Bible says in Hebrews 12:2 that seeing the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, they should allow themselves to be obsessed by what the future holds for them and then persevere.

Ever remember that failure is a meritorious feedback obtainable only by those who dare to make attempts. Interestingly, just a single open door can erase all the many failures of the past. Next time life wants you to give up, realize that you really should pull out your last drop of strength and push up.

 

Yakubu Oyiza Hope is an Akwa Ibom based indigene of Kogi state. A fashion designer, certified chef and human trafficking advocate. She is the founder of LUNA foundation, a foundation that’s solely focused on repatriating and reintegrating trapped victims of human trafficking.

Presently, the organisation consists of 182 survivors, which  includes, 9 newborn babies, 8 pregnant women, 120 female and 45 male, She works with  a team of 18 volunteers who support her organisation.

Oyiza Yakubu shares her inspiring story with us in this exclusive interview.  

Yakubu Oyiza Hope

Childhood Influence

As a child, I loved humanitarian works, from a distance, I loved seeing getting the desired help and this made me volunteer for an organization in 2010, immediately after my secondary school.

I volunteered with the salvation army, Nigeria ( HIV/AIDS) department and we would travel across the country for sensitization campaigns. My mum was very supportive of me even when I was so young, after that, I volunteered with Daughters of charity, St Vincent de Paul, where I go to different villages to run HIV test and later became an adherence counselor for HIV positive patients.

Inspiration Behind Luna Foundation

LUNA foundation wasn’t really my goal in the first place, all I wanted was for people to know what was going on to migrants in Libya, I started using my platform to share not until I came across relatives of missing persons in Libya, then it occurred to me that I could use my experience to bring a group of volunteers together to search from missing persons, get them out of traffickers grip and restore hope to the family.

Read Also: My Wish Is For Nigeria To Have Facilities For Special Needs Children

The Journey So Far

The journey has been stressful and fruitful as well, there are days I want to run away and leave everything behind but when I look at the results so far, I want to do more. We presently have 2 camps in Libya housing 182 individuals and a total of 36 is expected to join us anytime soon, we have also been able to provide answers to 49 relatives about their missing ones. We are currently looking at working in Ghana, and Egypt as well.

Being At The Forefront Of Reintegrating Trapped Victims Of Human Trafficking

Working with the victim has shown me that life is deep and people are stronger than what I give credit for, it has taught me to be holistic and always think on my feet which is one of my greatest strength.

For victims who have relatives they can trust, we encourage them to stay with the relatives and only share their stories when they feel it’s right, we also encourage them to share their story after undergoing psychology evaluation, this is to prevent them from having a breakdown due to the harsh judgement from the world.

Challenges

As the lead founder, it’s extremely scary because traffickers sees me as threats and they try to frustrate my efforts. I have to be extremely security conscious, provide answers, exposed to different gory images and videos, it takes extra grace to keep on.

Oyiza Yakubu

How We Run The foundation

For now, we don’t have sponsors. We just collaborated with an Italian partner and we got mattresses from them for the new born babies at the camp.

Read Also: How Chioma Ogamba Is Helping People Achieve Their Immigration Dream To Canada

My Work-Life-Balance Routine As a Single Mother
Been a single mother to a 5 year old plus work is stressful but I work with time daily, I have effectively build a time table I work with and with the physical support of my brother, it helps in relieving me on my tired days.

What  Government Should Put In Place To End  human trafficking 
I believe the government should intensify awareness campaigns to villages and educate our local religious leaders, those are the more vulnerable people to the gimmicks of traffickers.

One Thing I Wish To Do To Make The World A Better Place

Hmmm, I would ensure every woman has the POWER to say NO and I would make sure such Power is respected. For children, I would just ensure they live as children without the burden of serving the adults.

Oyiza Hope

 

Being A Woman Of Rubies

I am a woman of ruby because I have turned my pain to purpose, I have turned my lemon to wine. While I was brutally sexually assaulted and stabbed, I have made the decision to use that experience to ensure no woman has to go through that again just because she wants to make ends meet. I am a woman of rubies because through my pain, I have seen purpose.

 For Young Women Who Aspire To Be Where I Am 

Nothing will come easy but keep holding on, don’t joke with any opportunity around you, it will come handy in future.

Oyiza Yakubu

3 women Who Inspire Me and Why
My late mother, Olufunmilayo. She was everything a woman should be, I have always admired her strength and whenever I am stuck, I would say, what will my mother do. Elder Olabisi-Ajai, without even knowing me, she gave me a platform to grow on.

Read Also: Women Of Rubies Was Born Out Of My Passion For Humanity

 If I  Could Address The United Nation Assembly On issues Affecting The Society
I would talk about human trafficking because it’s a menace that brings about other menace like Drug peddling, forced slavery, organ trafficking, sex trafficking etc. If we can uproot the root, the branches will wither.

Follow Oyiza Yakubu on Facebook to know more about her work.

 

  Sarah Adeola Odunsi is a Psychologist, a Professional Chef and an entrepreneur, who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from The Prestigious University of Ibadan, Oyo State.  She got certified as a Chef and Culinary Instructor from The Culinary Place, Lagos.

Adeola, popularly called Chef D is the Head Chef of OnePot Catering Services, located in Ikeja, Lagos, her food business excellently handles both indoor and outdoor catering services, with over four years top-notch experience in the food business, she has mastered the art of using the best recipes to create signature meals, talk about creativity at its peak.

She has well-crafted food menus comprising of both local and continental dishes geared towards not just satisfying cravings but also meeting the nutritional needs of both young and old.
Her skillset has given her the opportunity to work with some top chefs in the Food Industry, and they include Chef Giggles, Chef Navhi, Chef Fregz, amongst others. She was featured on Wake-Up Nigeria (an early morning show) on TVC a couple of times.

Chef D is a great teacher, she has trained over 600 individuals trying to start up food businesses through her classes which holds both online and offline.

Her exemplary culinary skills and uniqueness in the food business earned her a nomination at the 2020 “25 Under 25” Award in the Foods and Drinks Category.

Adeola, strongly believes in charity and as such a bit of her proceeds is extended to charitable causes at different times. She is a proud member of Ace5, an organization that cares for the need of the less privileged in Oyo and Lagos State and she was a two-time Finance Team Lead with the organization.
When she is not in the kitchen cooking, Adeola enjoys shopping for new recipes and new kitchen utensils.
She shares her Ruby Girl Story with the team.
1. Tell us about your childhood, Sarah. What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was fun and exciting. I grew up in a big family with cousins, uncles and aunts around me. And my Grandma to pamper me.
2. Describe what a good delicacy means to you.
A good delicacy to me is appealing from just looking at it, flavorful and palate pleasing when eaten.
3. What fueled your interest in catering and when did you decide to pursue a career in it?
I  always wanted people to eat good and nourishing food.  I’ve always been that child you will find in the kitchen, even when l didn’t understand what people were cooking, l would just stay, watch and try to learn.
I grew up with that energy to always desire more knowledge about food and cooking. I wanted to go to a culinary school right after secondary school but my mum was like hell no. My parents said “you go to the university first and then we talk about culinary school afterwards.” In 2019, l officially started my culinary journey.
4. An ingredient you can’t do without?
Salt
5. What are the challenges young food entrepreneurs face and is there any specific one you encountered?
The food industry is big and it keeps growing, l think the biggest challenge is finding your niche in the food industry and growing your client base.
6. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Rukayat Momoh (chef Giggles) – She’s my mentor, was my tutor in culinary school. She currently runs the fastest growing culinary school in Nigeria and keeps breaking barriers.

Ife Durosimi-Etti – She’s the founder of Herconomy, passionate about women and youth. She connects women to each other while bringing jobs, grants and fellowship opportunities our way.

Ife Agoro- She’s the brain behind ‘Diary of a Naija Girl’, what drew me to her was her story-telling skills which were always motivating.  Her page to me is a place where women can be heard, seen, understood and valued.

7. Which services does One Pot Catering Services offer?
Our services range from event catering, breakfast catering, food bowls, lunch packs, food boxes, food trays and trainings.

8. You were recently nominated at the 2020 “25 under 25.” How did that feel?
It was surreal. Even though l didn’t win, the feeling of being nominated was amazing. It made me feel and know that l was doing something right.

9. When did you decide to become a chef?

I decided I was going to be a Chef after I finished my secondary education but l couldn’t attend a culinary academy until the completion of my undergraduate studies.

10. What is your signature dish?
  I won’t say l have a signature dish just yet but l alter some dishes by introducing African flavors.

11. What is your favourite rice dish and least favourite to prepare?

My favorite rice dish to prepare has to be Oriental rice (Asian cuisine). I really don’t have a least favorite at the moment. At a time (years ago) it used to be Jollof rice but after many practice and trainings l got a hang of it.

12. How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors—it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”
-Wolfgang Puck

13. Name the three kitchen tools you can’t do without?

A gas burner, pan and knife.

14. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In 5years, l hope to have expanded my business beyond what it is at the moment, in terms of the services we offer and also reaching new clients.

I hope to be people’s number 1 choice when it comes to delivering not just delicious but also nutritional meals.

15. If you are given the opportunity to address a group of young girls setting out to make a career in culinary arts, what will be your advice to them?

Hurdles and challenges will definitely come but you have to stay focused because you will overcome in no time. Most especially do not fear failure and mistakes because you will fail a lot of times. Failing only means you are getting closer to success because failure is part of success. So when you fail, pull yourself together and try again.

Adelaja Oluwademilade is a graduate of English from the prestigious Covenant University. She’s a Teacher, A certified Early Childhood Educator and an SDG Youth Advocate for SDG 4 (Quality Education).

Oluwademilade is a Volunteer at Street2School Initiative, an NGO aimed at providing Quality Education to out-of-school children in Lagos Nigeria. She has a strong passion for kids in marginalized communities. She believes every child should have access to education irrespective of their socio-economic background.

Overtime, Oluwademilade has also developed interest in advocacy to end period poverty in Nigeria by working with an NGO named Royal Gem Initiative. The initiative provides sexual health education and sanitary pads to girls in low-income communities so they can menstruate in a more healthy way.

Currently, Oluwademilade is a Lagos State SDG Youth Ambassador. And a member of the UNESCO SDG4 Youth Network. She loves children and youths and her greatest desire is to train up young people to become transformative leaders in the society.

She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood, Demilade. What was growing up like for you?

Growing up was pretty interesting to me. I’m the second child of three children; so being the middle child, I didn’t have much going on with me. Growing up for me was basically; going to school, attending Sunday School, going to church and having extra lessons at home because I wasn’t so good for Maths lol.

2. As a certified Early Childhood Educator Advocate, what informed your passion to teach? And what do you think should be put in place to make early learning fun and impacting?

I would say my passion to teach is a God-given passion. I never imagined doing anything relating to education talk more of teaching, it was in my final semester in school I got the calling. Also, my mum is an educator so I think I got a part of it from her.

To make learning fun and impactful, teachers themselves must love their job because when a teacher doesn’t like teaching it will affect the students’ performance. Also, teachers should make use of learning aids like flashcards, videos, pictures etc because children learn by seeing and doing not just talking in the classroom. This will also help students remember what they were taught in class.

3. What motivated you to become a Sustainable Development Goal Advocate?

We live in a world where there is so much gap between the elites and the marginalized, and the only way to bridge this gap is to provide sustainable means of livelihood. This requires a collective effort and not just the responsibility of the government, So, I decided to take the lead and contribute my quota towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

4. ‎As a Youth Advocate for quality education, what’s your take on “School na Scam”?

Hmmmm…. I don’t think school is a scam and I’m not saying this because I’m an advocate for quality education. Everyone has different passions and goals, and sometimes these passions are not related to what is being taught in school and that is okay. However, we must understand that the fact that one does not practice what they were taught in school in their workplace or make money with it, doesn’t make education less important. Truth is, education is what makes the difference in a person so, whether you learn in school or not, you still need the education to become better at whatever you decide to do. Education has and is still opening doors of opportunity for people who desire it. School is NOT a scam.

5. ‎What are the challenges you have encountered as a youth advocate?

– Funding: So many things to be done yet few resources are available.

– Getting more young people to participate in Youth advocacy.

– Socio-economic Inequality: There is a huge gap between you the rich and the marginalized in Nigeria. Trying to bridge this gap is challenging due to the economy of Nigeria.

– Overpopulation: A lot of people, especially in rural areas keep having children they cannot cater for. The children are increasing in their numbers however there are no resources to take care of them.

6. An accessory you can’t leave home without?

Earrings

7. What’s your take on volunteering, most youths would rather stay idle than take up an unpaid job?

Volunteering gives you an avenue to be the change you desire to see in your community and the world at large. So if you have the opportunity to volunteer, please I beg you; do it wholeheartedly because, at the end of the day, it’s not about the money and assets one would acquire, but the impact one would have made and the lives one have touched.

8. ‎An unpopular random fact about you.

I cannot multi-task. I can do only one thing at a time.

9. ‎ If you were to contest Nigeria’s presidency, what is the major change you will present in your manifesto?

While I acknowledge that there are other areas to look into, I believe that quality education is one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria. I will strive for free basic education for all children and introduce educational reforms that will target reducing the number of out of school children in Nigeria. Also, I would look into the issue of overpopulation in the country by introducing a two-child policy. I know some people may not be in support of this but that’s the only effective way to reduce overpopulation and ensure equal allocation of resources in the country.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

I) My mum (Mrs Abosede Adelaja): Her Strength, Her Resilience and Work Ethic.

ii) Jumoke Adenowo – I love her passion for raising godly women and her style.

iii) Jackie Aina – I love how she talks about setting boundaries and how she teaches young girls to be self-confident.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In 5 years, I will have completed my Master’s degree in Education and I hope to be doing work that contributes to transformational change in the Nigerian educational system.

12. If you were allowed to address a group of young girls just setting out in their career, what will be your advice to them?

Be open to learning. Be kind to yourself if you make mistakes. Don’t be in a hurry to “blow”. Settle down and learn the skills you need to thrive. You can do great things from a small place.

Lydia Eseoghene Okojie is an Entrepreneur who holds a BSC. Ed in Accounting education. Being raised as a Christian and a lover of God, She is a worker in the church serving God in the Choir department as a Praise leader and the media unit.

As a Youth in the Church, She supports the ministry of Jesus Christ in her best way. Having gathered experience in Events planning , red carpet hosting and Experiential marketing as a HAWKER, she now coordinate Event Staffs She founded her own company.
Lydia Okojie Tv, this is a company that trains and provides professional individuals on skills regarding to hosting, Red carpet and becoming masters of ceremonies.  Lydia okojie cakes and event and she holds certificate of training in Catering services.

As a beauty queen, Current MISS ECOWAS NIGERIA 2021. she began her modelling career in 2016 after winning Miss Photogenic, then Edo state Next Top Model, then Miss Motivational in 2018, she made her way into Entertainment industry, where she’s now into content creation( skit making).

She believes in giving and impacting lives and this has made her to be known as a humanitarian, this gives her so much joy.

 She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood, Lydia. What was growing up like for you?

The part I enjoyed more in my childhood is falling in love with God at a young age. I spent most of my time being in God’s presence, attending choir rehearsal and my parents were very supportive. I think it is what they wanted because they would prefer that I go to church rather than visiting anyone both in good and worse times.

One thing I learnt from my parents while growing up was the attitude of “giving and caring for others.” I can recall how my mum would cook and give to our neighbors each time there’s harvest in the church and plenty rice was shared my mum would share it among the neighbours.

This happened during my childhood and I adapted, I could recall sharing my foodstuff with friends in school that didn’t have and sometimes giving out cash in my little way.

2. ‎Have you always had a flair for catering and modelling from a young age?

I love good food, I love to cook and being the eldest child I’ve learnt the skill of making nice meals for my younger ones. I learnt baking and catering after graduating from school.

There are no specific requirements though, the question is, is modeling your passion? If yes that means you have these qualities: intelligent, smart,bold, beautiful, self confident and lastly you need to trust God for the process and put him first.

3. What motivated the launch of Lydia Okojie Tv?

Well, I got passion to always be in front of camera, interviewing notable people and guest, I love hosting shows.
The feelings were true that I couldn’t resist it. As a reigning beauty queen, I knew I can do a lot using LYDIA OKOJIE TV platform.

4. ‎How was your decision to pursue modelling and aspiration as a Beauty Queen received by your close contacts?

It was quite interesting but only few persons associated themselves with me because of my family financial status most of my classmate saw me hawking in the market and sometimes won’t want to talk to me. I began hawking while I was in primary school.

(Smiles) Yes, my family is my biggest fan, and few friends, my dad & mum have always supported me as long as I don’t make them regret it, at the earliest had no contacts, I had no sponsor but I had God.

5. ‎What are the challenges young entrepreneurs in the fashion, modeling & entertainment world face and is there any specific one you encountered?

There are so many challenges that if you aren’t strong enough and determined in your career you could give up easily so, I’ll advise that whatever the challenge may encounter stay strong, focused, seek and accept positive counsel, believe in yourself and pray.

Some of the challenges I’m facing as an entrepreneur are:
Mental stress: Being a young entrepreneur and managing a growing business is hardwork. It is not really easy coping financially and employing people to relieve you stress of managing social media, attending to people calling for enquiries, graphic designing, etc so do all these myself…Yes, I do everything myself for now and it’s really stressful you know.

Office space: This is a major challenge that I really need to sort as soon as possible because it’s affecting my business growth. Most people appreciate you more and feel safer to do business with you when they are able to meet you at a physical place that is comfortable and not just online meeting.

6. An accessory you can’t leave home without?

(Smiles) My wrist watch.

7. ‎What are the services Lydia Okojie Tv provides?

Rendering of hosting events, providing of well trained professional models for brands, video shoot and adverts.
Providing of well trained Event Staff i.e Ushers, Bouncers, cartoon characters, interview session with kids on the street sharing their experiences interview session with mentors and coaches.

Handling of experiential marketing for brands for creating awareness and increase in sales making.

8. ‎An unpopular random fact about you.

I love having a pretty hair do and makeup on but I seldomly have them because I would prefer to look my simple way.

9. ‎ If you were to contest for Nigeria’s presidency, what is the major change you will present in your manifesto?

Ensure that those who hawk for their parents
are given scholarships from primary to university.

Those street kids who can’t read nor write will be taught a skill and empowered.

Women will take lead role in government position and make decisions. I could make women become governors in each state of Nigeria.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mrs Florence Okojie, that’s my mom.
She is a virtuous woman, if you meet my mom you can’t help but call her mother because she will treat you like her own child. She is a mother that every child would want to have, shes so strong, shes independent, she’s beautiful in every aspect. I love you mum.

Second woman that inspires me is Mrs Oprah Winfrey, her story tells alot about me and my background. She is kind. She makes ugly memories beautiful, you will appreciate Oprah Winfrey in your life, I admire her so much she’s my mentor, she manages her roles excellently, I hope to meet her soon.

The third woman that inspires me is a famous Mitchelle Obama. I love her for her simplicity and support she gave her husband right from the time they met.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

(Laughs) In the next five years, I see myself fulfilled.

12. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young girls just setting out in their modelling career, what will be your advice to them?

My advise to them is they should not be desperate, be patient with yourself, always tell yourself you’re beautiful and you will succeed, learn a skill if you’re not schooled even if you’re, they should ask to learn more (seek counsel) don’t cut corners take one step at a time, seek God first in everything, be a good woman for yourself, your society and your generation unborn.

 

Winifred Njoaguani, host of The Word of Wini Podcast.  She is an experienced customer relations officer, a communication media creative, an audio, visual and text content creator. She is passionate about equity and females all over the world, creating content for female-based platforms like The Girl Power media and has attended several global leadership trainings.

She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood, Winifred. What was growing up like for you?

I had an amazing childhood, I must say. I’m the first child of four kids so I have always had the responsibility of looking out for and taking care of my younger ones. I grew up in a Christian home that upholds values and morals, my mother is a disciplinarian and she would never allow anything go wrong under her watch or give room for any of her kids misbehave.

However, as strict as my mother was, she taught me to always talk to her about everything, even though I was going to get in trouble for it. I shared a close-knitted bond with my family, including my cousins, and we have maintained that till date

At school, my sibings and I have always excelled and made our parents proud. I was always the one selected to handle several leadership positions; class prefect, head girl, social prefect even being leader of cultural dance groups, school choir, etc

Growing up was a mixture of discipline, education, family love and leadership for me.

2. Have you or people around you always known that you would be this passionate about equity and females?

In my family, we always represent fairness in every situation and regardless of things like gender, age, tribe, etc
I’ve always been passionate about females, people who know me well know that you cannot come near my sisters or my female friends, I will bite you (laughs). I remember one time in Secondary School when I was made class prefect by my class teacher and then someone made a side comment that it should have been a boy. I didn’t understand why and it didn’t make sense to me.

One time a male classmate hit me, I hit him back and we broke into a fight, my class teacher gave reasons I shouldn’t be fighting in school; It was morally wrong, I agreed to that, I was a Prefect, I agreed to that, I was a girl, now this confused me. He said a guy can hit back because he’s supposed to man up but a girl should run crying to the staff room. It didn’t make sense.

One other time, during sports activities, we were playing tug of war, girls vs boys and girls won, a teacher said to the boys, “you’re not ashamed, you let girls win you” that didn’t make sense as well!
So, yes, I had always known.

3. One accessory you can’t leave home without?

I barely wear jewelleries so I’d say my glasses. I could have said my phone but it could be an emergency and at that time I just want to see where I’m running to properly.

4. Judging by your years of practice in the Customer relation office, what have you noticed most organizations and institutions are lacking in regards to customer relations? Any suggestions on how they can improve?

I think that would be the speed at which they attend to even the smallest of issues and some unnecessary protocols I see in some places. It’s easy, as much as you can, reduce the difference in time between when a customer laid an issue to when that issue is being resolved and make the entire experience less stressful and more simplified for customers. Also, there are times when customer service personnels are helpless, maybe it’s a management policy that they really cannot do anything about asides from trying to pacify the customer. As much as feedback from external customers matter, institutions should take feedback from their internal customers (staff, etc) seriously as well, listen to them and try to make their own service experience better.

5. You specialise in creating female-based contents, how do you source for your content ideas? And any major lessons or tips?

My ideas spring from personal experiences, experiences from people around me, societal norms that I’m uncomfortable with and some relatable social media trends. However, one must be very careful not to spill too much personal information or mention names especially in stories that are sensitive and always seek permission before sharing a person’s experience.

6. What inspired the birth of your podcast, “The Word of Wini Podcast”?

My Podcast was birthed out of my love for radio and I think the media generally. When I was in Secondary School, I started a magazine project, I can’t remember what I wanted to name the magazine but it was female and child based, it wasn’t published because I couldn’t get anyone to sponsor it financially. I also tried out a YouTube channel in 2017, *La Déesse TV* La Déesse is French for *The Goddess* and it was really promising. In fact, I recently ran into a proposal I put together for my first guest on the channel and I was so impressed, I wish I had gone ahead with that project. In my University days, I waltzed into the radio life and I enjoyed talking on air, I always looked forward to going into the studio for my radio shows, coming out and hearing people talk about how good I was.

I couldn’t continue with radio because of my 9-5 job but a lot of people kept encouraging me to go back to being creative and sharing my views, so in 2020, I created The Word of Wini Podcast and it is slowly becoming my identity.

7. To many Feminism means not being submissive, proud, rude and wanting to be in control, what’s your take on feminism?

I don’t like it when people refer to me as a feminist because of the controversies surrounding that term and how people have been defining it recently. Regardless of your gender, you should be humble and take cognisance of the next person’s feelings at all times, I really don’t like the way they use that word submission *na so so submission, shey we get assignment?*

Feminism for me is, what is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. Feminism is absolute respect for the rights of a female; fairness and equity and not placing her below the radar.

So, if you’re telling a woman to be submissive to her husband, be sure to tell a man to be submissive to his wife. Now if you have a problem with that school of thought then it means you think that being submissive is a sign of weakness and it’s for women alone.

Feminism is acknowledging that if a woman wants she can remain unmarried till she attains a certain age, she can aspire to build a house before getting married if that’s what she desires, her favorite colour can be black and she doesn’t have to learn to cook just because she is female, she should learn to cook because it’s a survival skill. Thankfully, this conversation has been had and embraced almost everywhere.

8. A random fact about you that is oblivious to many.

Somehow, I always manage to have a slightly different opinion on things so people may think I’m controversial and like to argue. On the contrary, I love peace and I detest when I’m just trying to air my view on something and hear out the other person so that we can both learn and people turn it into an argument. I would walk away and almost never talk about anything to that person, I love peace.

9. ‎ If you were to be the President of the Nigeria, which changes would you implement?

This is hard honestly because positive change is relatable. But I think some of the things I would most definitely try to put in place would be affordable quality education and a country where basic amenities are accessible and available to all… I mean not everyone should live a life of luxury, there must always be a margin between the rich and the not-so-rich and I get it but you see basic amenities like water, food, electricity, health care and good roads, every human living in the country should have a lifetime access to them.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

There’s an entire list, in no particular order, there’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for very obvious reasons, that woman is so intelligent, she speaks and writes admirably, she’s well known and yet managed to maintain a life of privacy. I admire the creative power of the likes of Kemi Adetiba and Mo Abudu, I see myself in every female character that they have put on screen who exude so much power and class. My mother also inspires me, like I said earlier, she’s a core disciplinarian yet very amiable. Only my mother would tell you to go to hell in such a way that you’d be looking forward to that trip (laughs).

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

It is always hard to answer this whenever I’m asked, I’m really not in charge of my life, I do hope God takes me to really high places in career, wealth and pursuing my dreams.

12. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Five years younger than I am meaning they should be about 19/20 in age, that’s a really sensitive time of their lives… Your life starts now, not when you are done with school, now! and you need to start putting things in place, the way you speak, the things you do and the choices you make now play a huge role in shaping the next stage of your life. Oh and also, a health worker told me something about the rate at which 19/20 year olds get pregnant so, no matter what you do, if you are not ready to train a child, do not have unprotected sex. Acquire as many skills as you can, tech skills, financial skills, etc, it’s not too early to be the best version of yourself.

Have you ever pictured a seven-year-old girl having her period? We need to drop the shame and start talking more openly and honestly about menstruation. We are gradually getting to a point where this age, will be the starting age for menstruation as opposed to starting as a teenager. There is a need to further sensitize future mothers and fathers about this. It is not something to shy away from. It is a normal biological process every woman must go through. Bisola Adeyemi is a Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur, Affiliate Marketer, and Girl Child Advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, and an associate certificate from the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

She also recently got certified as a Programme Presenter under the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation for their “My Body is My Body” campaign.Bisola started her NGO in her final year at the University, in 2016. Despite all odds and restrictions she experienced in school, she was able to reach out to communities around Ilishan Remo and Iperu Remo Ogun State, with information about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, including its truths, and myths. This was made possible with the help of volunteers and friends. She later registered her NGO, Bevy of the Elites Foundation with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2018. Since its inception, the organization has reached out to over 4500 girls with information and sanitary pads.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story with the team.

 

1. Let’s meet you, Bisola. How can you describe your childhood?

My full name is Adeyemi Bisola Elizabeth. I am a believer in Jesus Christ and his finished works. I am the 3rd of 6 children- 5 girls and a boy. I am from Osun State. I love to travel and have meaningful conversations. I had the most memorable childhood, from attending school to outdoor games, church activities, school and church competitions, amongst others that have helped shape me into who I am today.

2. When did you conceive Bevy of the Elites Foundation? Any major event that led to it?

It was in 2016. I went for a group mentorship session, and I heard God clearly instruct that I start a foundation to teach girls about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, chastity, body awareness, and family involvement in children’s development. It was formerly “The Girl Child Foundation” but due to the popularity of the name, we were not able to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This prompted my siblings and I to come up with the name “Bevy of the Elites Foundation” which clearly explains our vision and mission, that is: Group of the learned where people, particularly the female gender can learn about their body and development.

3. What are the greatest myths that have affected menstruation and menstrual hygiene over the years?

The very common myth- If any guy touches you as a lady, you’ll get pregnant. This myth has been around for as long as I can remember, and I think it is one that has come to stay. Of course, as we grow older, we get to know that not physical touch, but sexual intercourse gets a lady pregnant. This has caused a lot of girls their self-esteem. This has also led to a lot of issues ranging from lesbianism, rage amongst others because teenagers are not told the clear truth from their childhood.

Another myth is that purchasing sanitary materials like pads should be kept private and hidden in non-transparent nylons. Whereas sanitary pad is like buying toothpaste, bathing soap, and the rest. They are all personal hygiene products.

I also hear a lot that a girl should not talk about her period in public as it is a shameful thing and makes one vulnerable when in fact it is not something to be ashamed of.

4. Your favorite quote/mantra?

My favorite quote/mantra is “Menstruation matters.”

5. Was there ever the need to sacrifice school for the execution of a project at Bevy of Elites Foundation?

I attended a school where we were only allowed to leave the school environment once a week. I had to plan my calendar to accommodate the NGO programs, in schools around Ilishan Remo and Iperu Remo Ogun State. Most of the time, I usually convey with my friends after the day’s lectures which must have been well planned out.

So, have I ever sacrificed school for any of the Foundation’s execution of a project? Yes! Many times! Shout out to my friends and volunteers that always come through.

6. Despite having a tight schedule as an undergraduate in a private institution, how were you able to scale through making your dream a reality?

I am a go-getter. Once I set my mind to do something, I do! So as an undergraduate, who has heard God speak about this vision. I immediately ran with it. There were times that I also had issues with the hall administrator due to the time of arrival in the hostel, but I had to explain all these over and again and God always show up for us; me and my friends. I must confess, it was not easy, but it only lasted for 1 year in University, after I graduated, I had all the time to do several projects.

7. As a Girl Child advocate, what is your stake on the ever-rising issue of rape in the country?

A common assumption is that rapes are mostly committed by strangers which is wrong. The majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Also, no type of clothing is an invitation for sex or implies consent. What a woman was wearing when she was raped is simply not relevant. Rape is never the victim’s fault.

That established, the issue of rape in Nigeria is increasing by the day and all children and teenagers should be educated about this. Parents have a role to play as well. Most children communicate assault to their parent/guardian, but they do not take the kids seriously which is why rape gets through most of the time.

In many of our programs at Bevy of the Elites Foundation, we have now incorporated the ‘My Body is My Body Campaign’ because we get several girls speaking out about their rape incidence and how they are not safe around particular set of people and we are also trying our best to ensure that the information about rape is well communicated and handled appropriately.

8. Has Accounting always been your dream profession? Any childhood ambitions?
Well, I will say growing up, it was either you choose to be a Lawyer, Accountant, Medical Doctor, or Engineer. I went with the trend at the time and settled to be an Accountant since I chose the commercial line back in secondary school. I would otherwise have become a teacher. I love to teach and that’s one of the things I enjoy doing at Bevy of the Elites Foundation and some other places like the church I attend, Celebration Church International.

9. If you were to be the president of Nigeria for a day, which policies would you implement, or changes would you effect?
Changes as regards menstruation and availability of sanitary pads. I will make sure every school has a sanitary pad bank where girls can walk in freely to pick up pads on or before their period.
I will also sign a bill for all girls to attend school up to the University level. No girl should be left behind because of some cultural beliefs that girls are meant to be in the kitchen.
I will also make sure that the educational curriculum in primary and secondary schools is revamped to reflect the reality of the world we live in.

10. Any memorable event since the inception of Bevy of the Elites Foundation or most tasking outreach?
All our events/outreaches are memorable as we get to meet different girls. I will say the most memorable event was when we reached out to girls in Babs Fafunwa (Senior and Grammar Schools) Ojodu, Berger in 2019. The girls came out in their numbers. Everyone got a sanitary pad and was happy. You could literally see the glow in their eyes. I also remembered a community outreach we had in Ikenne Palace, Ogun State where myself and a partner had to publicize the programme on HOPE FM. Many young girls were enlightened and I also learnt a lot from that community with regard to their way of life and hygiene practices.

11. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?
My mum- she is a go-getter. Ever heard of anyone who always knocks out her goals, she does every single time.
Ola Sulaimon- She inspires me because she runs an NGO and is a Chartered Accountant. We have a lot of things in common from the university we attended to how we have patterned our life to be.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala- The first woman appointed to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO). I mean, she is a woman changing the status quo for the rest of us.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself exactly where God will have me be. Reaching the world for God and contributing my quota to humanity.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?
Put societal pressure out of the way. Societal pressure reduces the level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Some examples are, the ways in which ladies are pressured to get married and have children, and even after having a child, the pressure continues as to when the next child will come, pressures like judgment solely on appearance, pressure to have sex, and abuse substance amongst others. I will let them know that they should not pattern their lives after societal pressure, or they will burn out.

Thank you for your time, ma.

GRACE INIOBONG EKA is an Entrepreneur who holds a BSC in Marketing and OND in Accounting.

Being raised as a Christian and a lover of God, She is a worker in the church serving God in the Choir department as a Praise leader and Treasurer, In the drama department she displays her acting skill by ministering through drama and also the department Treasurer. As a Youth in the Church, She handles the welfare as an Executive.

Having gathered experience in Events and Experiential marketing as a coordinator, coordinating Event Staffs and training brand representatives.; She founded her own company named *QG* _*AGENCY* . QG Agency is a company that trains and provides professional marketers/brand representatives, Event Staffs and Models., Also into Real Estate and Telecommunication services.

She holds certificate of training in Fashion design crafts , Catering services, Intensive training in Business from BSC Brand Consult.

As an *Entrepreneur* , She is a member of Neca’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW).

*GRACE INIOBONG EKA* is an ex beauty queen of Miss Akwa Ibom Lagos through which she made her way into modelling and Entertainment industry and she joined the Association of Beauty Queens and Kings and Currently the Deputy Coordinator of Lagos State branch

She believes in giving and impacting lives and this has made her known as an humanitarian and given her the joy to launch THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION.

She Shared her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood. What was growing up like for you?

Firstly, I would like to appreciate this platform for having me.

My childhood was an exciting one as both of my parents were disciplinarians. I wasn’t allowed to keep friends and being the first child I had to learn how to consider my siblings first before myself. It was quite interesting! The very first female friend I tried to keep after my secondary school education my Dad instructed me never to bring her home again. The only friends I had then were my colleagues at work and people in church and they mustn’t visit and I don’t visit too. Yea! My secondary education was quite fast and I started working at age 14 the day after having my last paper for WAEC.

The part I enjoyed more in my childhood is falling in love with God at a young age. I spent most of my time being in God’s presence and my parents were very supportive. I think it is what they wanted because they would prefer that I go to church rather than visiting anyone.

One thing I learnt from my parents while growing up was the attribute of “giving and caring for others”. I can recall how my dad would pay rents for people and help people with money to start up businesses then. Each time my mom buys foodstuffs she will call some women and share amongst them. This happened during my childhood and I adapted, I could recall sharing my food allowance with friends in school that didn’t have. This happened when I was 8 years old and at age 15 when I started working I had started sharing my salary with some people in church.

My childhood taught me the principle of sharing.
I’ll say I really enjoyed my childhood.

2. ‎Any childhood ambition or aspiration nursed by you?

I have always wanted to be an independent woman and a great leader. I believe so much in giving and I’ve always prayed to be a giver and the grace to touch the lives of everyone that deserves to be happy.

3. What motivated the launch of THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION?

God!
The feelings was just too strong that I couldn’t resist it. Even while I was a reigning beauty queen and I knew I could have used the platform but fear of Funds and supports didn’t allow me.
But God allowed the launch of THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION happen because it was just the right time!.

4. ‎Was your decision to pursue modelling and being a Beauty Queen supported by your close contacts?

(Smiles) Not at all. I had no contacts and supports. My dad didn’t even support my decision to venture into the industry because he was scared I would lose focus. Only God can tell how I became the winner of MISS AKWA IBOM LAGOS 2015/16 because I only know I got the form for #5000 then and the rest I can’t explain. All outfits I used during the competition were given. Though I was working but I couldn’t have sponsored myself if not by His grace.

5. ‎What are the challenges young entrepreneurs in the real estate, fashion and modelling world face and is there any specific one you encountered?

There are so many challenges that if you aren’t strong enough and determined in your career you could give up easily so, I’ll advise that whatever the challenge may be just stay put, believe you can and pray.

Some of the challenges I’m facing as an entrepreneur are:

Mental stress: Being a young entrepreneur and managing a growing business is hardwork. It is not really easy coping financially and employing people to relieve you stress of managing social media, attending to people calling for enquiries, graphic designing, etc so do all these myself…Yes, I do everything myself for now and it’s really stressful you know.

Office space: This is a major challenge that I really need to sort as soon as possible because it’s affecting my business growth. Most people appreciate you more and feel safer to do business with you when they are able to meet you at a physical place that is comfortable and not just online meeting.

6. What are the requirements or qualifications of a beauty queen?

For you to qualify as beauty queen you need to be bold, beautiful, intelligent, smart and self confident.

7. ‎What are the services QC Agency provides?

QG_Agency is CAC Certified and we offer the following services:

Providing of well trained professional models for brands, video shoot and adverts.

Providing of well trained Event Staff i.e Ushers, Escorts, Bottle girls, party starters.

Handling of Experiential marketing for brands for creating awareness and increase in sales making.

Real Estates and property management.

8. ‎Business principles life has taught you?

We are in the time where business has really changed compare to the 1990’s. It takes a passionate and determined person to do business now because of the number of competitors in all businesses and so I’ve learnt to carve my business on quality service which is “Professionalism,” take advantage of every opportunity in promoting my business and build a great team.

9. ‎ If you were to be the President of Nigeria, what are the changes you would effect?

Economic change.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mrs Hannah Iniobong, that’s my mom. She is a virtuous woman, if you meet my mom you can’t help but call her mother because she will treat you like her own child. She is a mother that every child would want to have.

Second woman that inspires me is Mrs Funmilayo Awoogun. She is a kind of Leader you will appreciate to have. I admire her so much as she is the President of NNEW, a Pastor, a wife, a mother and a mentor and yet so humble and she manages these roles excellently.

The third woman that inspires me is a famous popular Actor, Aunty Kate Henshaw. I love her from the first time I saw her movie when I was about 10 years old. She is the realest Actor I have known and I learnt to be a Humanitarian through her. So many things to talk about Aunty Kate but I can’t say it all now.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

(Laughs) In the next five years, I see myself fulfilled.

12. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Ladies, don’t be desperate, take one step at a time, seek God first in everything and work hard to be an independent woman.