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Omotoke Olowo   Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorders. She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow and a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

Omotoke believes education is the bedrock of everything and without it she would not have been able to achieve all she has.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story in this interview.

1. Who is Omotoke Olowo Olugbode?

Omotoke Olowo Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorder, while also raising awareness and advocacy in the community to change perspective and myths about Autism as she believes that each child counts and each child can learn irrespective of their disability, mental health or environment.

She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow, Outstanding Global Youth Ambassador for TheirWorld UK where numerous articles on her advocacy has been published, an Ashoka ChangemakerXchnage Fellow and a Robert Stiffing Alumni. She is also a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

She was awarded The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders New Jersey, and also awarded as International Associates on civic Leadership at Wagner College, New York.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including the MakeImpossiblePossible Summit at United Nations General Assembly, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

2. ‎ What is The Autism Awareness Foundation (TAAF)?

The Autism Awareness Foundation is a not for profit organization that raises awareness about disability and inclusion of children with disability in the classroom and society while eradicating stigmatization and marginalization. We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention to function and get included in the school system as most children with disability are always denied access to inclusive and quality education.

The Autism Awareness Foundation started in 2017 as a not for profit where we create awareness for children on the Autism spectrum disorder, we have been involved in active teachers training and parental support group, due to our work expansion and experience we set up the social enterprise of THERACONNECT as physical connecting platform before thinking of the App. Currently, since May 2018, we have been involved in outsourcing over 50 therapist and special needs educators to parents, teachers and school.

3. What prompted you to start an inclusive education?

I am a Teacher by profession and I got into the Teaching sector as a zeal I have for Teaching which was further influenced by my friend who had a disability during my secondary school days, and I watched how he couldn’t get the adequate and efficient education during our school days.

Teachers would rather not have her in their classroom and she most often does not come to school at all. So, from there I developed a passion to become a teacher and a deep commitment for children living with disability so that I could be able to teach them in the classroom. After going through my University Education, I discovered that my Teachers then could not teach my friend because they do not have the knowledge and skills to teach children with disability.

The spark and motivation to start my Social Initiative come after reading an online article about a mother with a child with Autism, about how people refer to her child as being possessed, this brought back memories of my experience in secondary school with my friend.

Autism as a disability was strange to me and foreign, and as such I wonder if children in my community has this disability and they don’t have access to education.

I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization.

4. ‎ Apart from running an inclusive education that other thing to you into?

Apart from my NGO, The Autism Awareness Foundation, I am also an Innovator, I am currently working on an online App where parents can connect with Therapist without leaving their home which saves them stress, money and time.

I am a social Entrepreneur, I currently run a social enterprise called “The Sensory Place” that focuses on sensory materials, Toys and Montessori schools equipment for parents and schools owner while also consulting for schools on issues pertaining to inclusion in their classroom and connecting with therapist to schools and parents.

“We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention.”

5.How do you relax despite your busy schedule?

Netflix and gist is my friend when I am less busy. As a person who provide support in issues relating to mental health of parents and disabilities, I take my mental health seriously too, I know when I need to close my laptop, turn off my phone data, decline a speaking engagement and just relax, either with talking long hours on the phone with friends, watching amazing series on Netflix or just sleeping. I am more of an indoor person than outdoor.

“I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its a disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization”.

6. ‎ What has the pandemic taught you?

The pandemic has taught me how to prioritize, most time we waste our time on things that are not really important but the pandemic has really taught me to cherish each moment, love people around and check on my families more. It awakened my sense of commitment and knowing how to show love to others too, even during the pandemic, I was still on long calls with parents on how they can support their kids at home in terms of therapy and achieving their milestones

 

7. ‎As a global youth figure, what has been your achievements on inclusion?

My achievement on inclusion has always come through my NGO, my impact has made over 100 parents accessed therapy for their children for early intervention, increase the awareness around autism spectrum disorder to over 5000 people in the community, through our annual Walk Aware Autism and trained over 1000 teachers on skills needed to include children on the spectrum in their classroom both online and physical training, with the advent of our online support for 30 parents as a form of continued training and counseling.

In all of this, my greatest achievement is when parents call me after their kids have been able to achieve a developmental milestone and when they get accepted in an inclusive school, the joy and smiles on parents at such moments always mean everything to me.

8. ‎What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up was a bit challenging but I grew up in a family full of love. Both my parents are quite loving and amazing people, my mum is the disciplinarian of the house while my dad condones me a lot, people will say it’s because we look alike.
I never had all I wanted while growing up but received love from sisters all the time, we shared everything and we could confide in each other.

Well, I will say my upbringing definitely contribute to what I do now, because I could feel what it means to be like one is unworthy or not enough. I understand the pain of women with children with disabilities in rural communities having being born and raised in one at Oworonshoki community, so yes my passion for setting up The Autism Awareness Foundation definitely stemed up from my own personal experience too.

9. ‎What are the challenges you faced when you became an inclusive educator? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Challenges are bound to happen, will happen and they still happen, one of the challenges I faced is the stigmatization and marginalization that comes with working with children with disability which is a big problem of acceptance and inclusion, another challenge is the myth associated with children with disability as a punishment from God as such most parents in my community prefer to keep their children at home and lock them inside rather than bring them out for assessment and therapy, as most schools won’t accept them and when schools finally accept them, other parents in the school sometimes withdraw their children from the school, saying they don’t want their children to catch the disability. And finally I am faced with the challenge of lack of trained teachers to facilitate learning in the classroom. I have been able to overcome these challenges through trainings and holding meetings with school owners to explain that disabilities are not contagious and children benefit more when they learn in inclusive settings.

 

10. ‎If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

If I were to be the president of Nigeria for a day, I would change the Educational sector. The Educational sector has become a shadow of itself and what it is supposed to achieve, most public schools lack trained teachers, use outdated curriculum and old teaching methods that does not facilitate independent and collaborative thinking on the part of students. Our graduates can’t even compete globally and our state of inclusive education is nothing to write home about especially with no therapist and special educators to facilitate learning. After changing the Educational sector, I will definitely reform and change the health sector, too much death, misdiagnosis and sometimes lack of doctors to train patient has led to more death than anything in recent years.

11. ‎Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

One of the women who inspire me is Clare Henshaw, she runs Girls Inspired Foundation, she has gone off to inspire many girls and yet with an humble and kind spirit, I am surely learning humility from her.

Another woman that inspires me is Jasmine, Jasmine is a mother to a child on the autism spectrum disorder who I met in Philadelphia, despite her position she has constantly been reaching out to me on how to provide support for more mothers in Africa and especially Nigeria.
Lastly is my Mother, being a mother to four ladies without a boy child, I know we all know how the narrative would have been, but she have kept it all together, fireful and always there for us her children, she constantly teaches faith and trust in the most difficult time.

 

12. ‎Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see myself running The Sensory Place into a big social enterprise, settling up a safe center for therapy and play center for inclusion of children with special needs and disabilities while they also learn a skill through our coder dojo club. I see myself running different starts up into big businesses and ensuring that I am constantly giving back to the society. I also see myself in a place of policy advocacy and implementation at the government level to ensure policy reform on inclusive education and ensuring inclusion in the workplace where each child can truly count.

 

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

I will tell them to explore all the opportunity they have at their disposal, aim for the sky and land among the moon, dare the impossible and to keep showing up for themselves. I will tell them that impossible is nothing and they are born to do great and amazing things. They should never underestimate themselves and to keep shattering limits and breaking new grounds.

Joshua Onyinyechi who hails from Ebonyi state is a final year student of University of Abuja
in the department of Biological Sciences.

Oyinye is an entrepreneur and CEO of Gift and Souvenir. She also runs a firm that connects prospective interns to their desired organizations. She shares her Ruby girl story with the team

1. Who is Joshua Onyinyechi Esther?

I’m an entrepreneur with extra sauce and grace, a strong and focused lady who believes I can succeed at anything I set my mind to do.

2. ‎ What is the inspiration behind Gift and Souvenir?

My passion for business. I’ve always wanted to have a business that has to do with problem solving.

3. ‎What is your greatest fear?

Not living purposefully.

4. ‎ How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you as a student and entrepreneur. What have you been able to learn from it?

As a student it affected me because I’m supposed to be a graduate by now but with the whole pandemic graduating this year is not feasible.

As an entrepreneur the pandemic affected sales, But I’m glad everything is coming back to normal.

I learnt to trust God’s plan.

5. ‎What led to the birth of Internship opportunity?

Internship opportunity is a God given idea.
I noticed how graduates and undergraduates struggle to fit into the right place for interns, most graduate or undergraduate just apply for internship anywhere not minding if it’s in line with what they want to do, simply because they just want to get busy.

That was how interns was birthed, to help connect graduate and undergraduate with the right company that will allow them to grow, develop and advance their professional goals/career.

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

My phone please.

7. ‎How has internship opportunity been able to help people with placement?

It has been helpful to people especially in this pandemic, graduate and undergraduate have gotten paid interns opportunity in different states via our platform.

8. ‎What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up in a Nigerian home is one of the best though it wasn’t all rosy. Because I lost my dad at a very tender age, growing up was just with my mum and siblings..and yes it has contributed alot.

My dad taught me not to be dependent on anyone and it has helped me alot, I started having passion for business at age 9, when I return from school I joyfully hawk pure water and the likes in the market, which made me have a business mindset from early stage.

After secondary school it continued, but this time I applied for a job and I got it which also helped my marketing skills, people management etc today by God’s grace I have a business of my own and all I went through contributed to what I am and do today.

9. ‎What are the challenges you faced when you started the gift shop and internship opportunity? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Challenges I faced when I started gift and Souvenirs was sales, before I started the business I had people who were like “oh wow I’ll be the first to patronize you,” but when I started all of them were no where to be found (japa).

I didn’t really make sales when I started, I’ll advertise for one week nobody will even ask me how much by mistake (laughs) but I don’t experience such anymore by God’s grace.

I was able to overcome through consistency, despite not making sales then I kept advertising Because I know people are watching and when they think of gift I’ll come to their mind first because I’m always advertising.

Challenges I faced when I started interns was looking for organizations seeking to engage the services to Interns to register on our website( www.internsopportunity.com) Registration and Job listing is free (Internship Only)

I still experience this, I’ve not been able to get lots of organisations as expected to register on our website, I’m putting more efforts to get them register.

10. ‎If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

I’ll change the policy in hospital ( especially government hospitals) that says you have to pay first before doctors attend to you, all fingers aren’t equal and no one makes budget for sickness. Lots of people have been rushed to the hospital on emergency and probably don’t have money at hand to deposit first. Doctors will not touch you until you pay money, they won’t even attend to you to save your life first while your family members run around for money, at the end the person might end up dying.

As president l’ll make provisions too for that.

Secondly about NHIS card which is made available for only government workers will be accessible also to those who can’t fully pay their bills, the less privileged.

Provisions will be made for sickle cell warriors/people living with disabilities.

Good water and electricity will be fixed in some villages where people drink dirty water to survive.

11. ‎Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

My Mum, Mrs Nike Adekunle, Ma Esther Ijewere.

My Mum is a strong woman, she has a large heart, despite what life throws at her, she never gives up. I’ve seen her fight so many battles and still standing tall.

She trained my siblings and I right from childhood when we lost our DAD. Not all mothers can do that, some will just share their kids to different family members. But my Mum stood her ground, held us close we are what we are today because of God and her.
I’m grateful for her.

Mrs Nike Adekunle is a goal getter, she is so humble despite all her achievement. She gives listening ears always, she inspires me alot. She made walking in purpose for me easy. And I see myself in her always.

Ma Esther Ijewere is a strong woman, I admire her alot.

With her story she is still making impacts and touching lives.

I love her passion for humanity.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Next five years, I see myself at the top controlling businesses, and owning a shoe line.

13. ‎If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them? Not to let anyone pressure them, not even social media, they can succeed in anything they set their mind to do.

Be grateful for the small and big wins!

It’s okay to make mistakes, mistakes are part of success!
Never allow your background put your back on ground.
No matter what life throws at you please keep moving forward, lastly ever depend
on anyone financially.

Pamilerin Eniolorunda is a graduate  of the Mass Communication department, Joseph Ayo Babalola University. She is a Communication Officer, Vlogger, Writer, and Poet.

She has an interest in meeting new people, public speaking, writing and gaining more knowledge.

Pamilerin is deeply passionate and aspires to be a distinctive professional with an impact.

 

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story in this interview.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Pamilerin Eniolorunda?  

I am Oluwapamilerinayo Eniolorunda, a communications officer, a poet, script writer and a vlogger.

2. What skills prepared you for practice in the Communications field?

The skills that prepared me for the communications field… Hmmm, I think it was my ability to think fast, build and manage relationships, my love for reading, speaking, and writing, and more.

3. Describe your channel in one word?

My  channel in one word, Informative.

4. To what extent did your degree as a graduate of Mass Communication contribute to the startup of your vlog?

My degree played a big role in my vlogging. I learnt how to edit videos, handle cameras, and act on the principles of a communicator. Thanks to my degree, I knew the requirements and had the skills needed of me to start my vlog.

5. How do you research for new contents?

I research for contents by watching and following the trends, conversing with my subscribers to know what they want and also watching lots of youtube videos. I spend most of my time watching videos and thinking of how to do them better.

6. What inspires your writings?

Everything around me inspires me. Stories, people, things, environment, everything! Over the years I have been able to create a bond with my environment and everything around me.

7. What are some challenges you face as a communications officer/vlogger?

One of the challenges I face as a communications officer/vlogger is trying to work out a schedule that is beneficial both my corporate field and vlog. The corporate field is quite demanding but it’s also very important to churn out contents for my viewers. Fortunately, I am doing an excellent job in creating a balance and fitting into both.

8. What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in any way contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up in a Nigerian home is a blessing. Having three sisters helped me to boost my confidence level and self-esteem. My mum as a teacher is a loving disciplinarian, she always corrected with love and is not the cane, broom, belt or wire kind of disciplinarian. My dad as an auditor made me financially conscious of how I spend and what I spend on, he equally corrected me with love when I was wrong or misbehaved. I would say I couldn’t have gotten the training and morals I have outside Nigeria.
Yes, my upbringing has contributed a lot to who I am character-wise and behavioural wise. I see beauty in everything everyone call mistakes, I see love as the way of life too.

9. How do you cope with viewers who dislike your content?

Experience in speaking and writing has made me realise that not everyone will like what I do, everyone has their opinions and that in the words I speak and write, I have the power of persuasion.

For every negative feedback, I acknowledge the receipt of the message and try to make the other party reason with me and also make them understand that there are different phases of life.

10. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

President for a day?
This is a difficult question, but if I was one I’ll make new laws and policies that positively affect the masses, make a few changes in the Constitution, and also make a rule that the laws I made must not be changed till it’s practised for over 4 years. 24 hours seem short, but this is all I’ll work towards achieving.

11. Do you feel there is pressure in getting more subscribers and more views? How do you handle this?

Yes, I feel pressured sometimes. But I understand that its a gradual process and I try to do better as I produce new contents. I know that one day the number of subscribers will skyrocket beyond my expectations. I keep praying its soon too.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

My mother, Mrs Eniolorunda, she inspires me to be a better version of myself. I admire the processes and approaches she uses in all she does. She has taught me to love all, live right, and trust God.

COO, Venture Garden Group – Mrs Eniolorunda and Media Mogul – Mo Abudu appear to me as models, a motivation that there is space for all genders at the top, that women can be who they want to be regardless of the society, and that what really matters is who we are and the position we want to acquire.

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

In the next five years, I want to be a distinctive first-rate communication and leadership professional, respected media personnel, a motivator and an agent of positivity. I plan to be in a position where my counsel is/will be needed to run the country or the most important sectors. I plan to be a leader recognised in the most profitable and beneficial aspect of life (religion and career). I wish to apply extensive knowledge in the service of communities and countries I am privileged to associate with.

14. What are the challenges young Nigerians in your niche face and what do you think can be done to improve this?

Over saturation of the vlogging space is one challenge, in the sense that one has to work extra hard to get viewership for the content published. Also, having an increase in the numbers of subscribers is another challenge. But the goal is to never give up… Tiny drops of water makes an ocean.

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

My advice to them is to take innovation very seriously. It is important to learn to think outside the box be bandwagon outside educational ins, situations want strategic thinkers. There are tons of problems waiting to be solved so following the bandwagon is not necessary.

Also, my advice to them is to embrace Tech as much as possible. It is important to know the basics of the tech ecosystem and career paths because the future is tech.

Ikanna Okim is a phenomenal young woman who believes that she is equipped with everything needed for a new Africa.Ikanna is the movement leader of the No-FGM campaign against female genital mutilation in communities in Akwa Ibom state where the practice is rampant. A student leader, she is currently the President of the LAWSAN Bar Association, University of Uyo Chapter.

Ikanna Okim is also the Teennation Country Lead for Nigeria and Head of Legals. Ikanna is a prolific writer and has authored five books which have reached over 1,400 young people in Nigeria.

As a result of her commitment to correcting social ills, she was conferred the honour of a Fellow of the African Young Leadership Fellowship in 2018 and in 2020 made it to the nominee list of Community servants in Akwa Ibom State.

Ikanna, the academic aficionado, has also acquired certifications from different institutions around the world including University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, Negotiation studies certificates from University of California, Irvine Extension; and Yale University.
She is a child of God and a preacher of the gospel of Jesus. Her life principles are integrity, responsibility and transparency.

 

She shares her RUBY GIRL story with the team .

 

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Ikanna?

Ikanna is a young woman eternally saved by Jesus Christ. I believe that because of Christ’s permanent residence in me, I have all it takes to change the world, Africa in particular.

I am a final year Law undergraduate. I work closely with teenagers, women and girls to ensure teen inclusion in global and national development as well as create a voice for women and girls in Africa.

2. What inspired your writing at such an early age?

My dad! My dad is an ace writer and veteran journalist. I grew up reading his works (although by force, initially). Some privileges were attached to reading what daddy says you should read. So we read a lot and were inspired to write too. My younger brother is even a better writer than me. So, we all write. Good writers should also be good readers. Reading influenced my writing.
Then I began to look around me, my society and I found ills. I started infusing a voice against those ills into my writing. I’m someone who doesn’t see wrong and let it pass. So I began to speak through my writing all at a very young age. I wrote my first story book at 10 and I was encouraged to keep writing then I published when I was 19.

3. Your recently published a book (Black Syrma) what is the inspiration behind it and what does it entail?

Black Syrma is my voice against Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage. Black Syrma is a story of Kepuaolisa, a young African girl, tied in the complicated ropes of obnoxious African practices. I am an Africanist but I do not accept all practices just because I am an Africanist. As a matter of fact, I believe that we should do all we can to make the African tribe enjoyable so that we can have more people appreciate their heritage. Moving for the abrogation of ill practices is not the same as denying your heritage.
So, as African as I am, I consider ill customs unacceptable. Actually, there has been tremendous progress regarding eradicating Child marriage and female genital mutilation. They are now crimes where I come from but implementation is poor. Law enforcement agents will not go into the bedrooms of people to check whether girls have been mutilated or not. So I decided to take the approach of a mentality shift by publishing a book on that and leading a campaign in the local languages people understand. 

   “I began to look around me, my society and I found ills. I started infusingvoice against those ills into my writing”.

 

4. You led a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaign, what was the response gotten from the outreach?

That campaign! We flooded the streets and a major market in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, my Local Government Area. A lot of people said we were wasting our time because Uyo is a civilised town and nobody practices such culture but that’s a big lie! While we campaigned, people sent us out of their shops. They almost drenched us in water for preaching against what they have been practising. A woman told us that girls who are not mutilated end up becoming prostitutes. In Uyo town! I sent out message on social media for people to stop thinking FGM was not in Uyo town. It was and still is!
However, we had some positive reponses. Many people told us that they never knew that FGM had long term effects so they promised never to mutilate their children again. The high point for us was when a girl who was supposed to be mutilated the next day was saved from it because we spoke to her mother and she changed her mind about it.
Girls and women have a right to their sexual and reproductive health. Removing the clitoris or any form of mutilation deadens her organ, leads to complications and may ultimately lead to death. No woman deserves that.

5. As the LAWSAN President of UNIUYO, what has been your achievement so far in office?

Being a female President itself is one of my achievements because by that, I broke a jinx of women in my faculty always contesting for Vice-Presidential seats and reserving the 001 positions to the males.
Asides that, I have spent the majority of my tenure out of school because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, I have achieved all my manifestoes save for two of them which I will do by God’s grace when school resumes.
I carried out an internal restructuring by creating departments which never existed in LAWSAN Bar to make students feel closer to the government and carry out activities which they have interests in.
We also had a street campaign against Child Labour in Uyo before the lockdown. This campaign was informed by children selling purewater and drinks to us during school hours. It didn’t sit well with us when there are free/ low budget schools in Akwa Ibom state. So we carried out that campaign as our voice against it. We spoke to the guardians of these kids and they promised us to adjust.
During the lockdown, we have had 3 major virtual events including our Law and Social Change event which lasted all through the month of July, for 31 good days.
We also acquired slots for some of our members who have interest in Alternative Dispute Resolution to take a course on Commercial Mediation free of charge with Mediation Academy.
The pandemic lockdown didn’t deter us. We have done so much that I can’t tell all. Thank God.

“Being a female President itself is on of my achievements because by that, I broke a jinx of women in my faculty”

6. What has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the most and what did you learn from it?

My school! I should have bagged an LLB two months ago but it was halted. That’s painful but I was able to make good use of the lockdown by taking professional courses, doing virtual internships and making sure my life is moving forward and indeed it has been my busiest year. I do not have a wasted year.
I have learnt that there are so many things one has no control over but those things one can control, one must control them well.
I can’t make the government reopen schools but I can control what I do with my time this period. At least that is within my power.

7. Aside being an author, student and leader, how do you unwind and what else do you do?

(Laughs) My friends think I am a boring person. Well, that’s their business. I watch movies for fun. My favourite genres are comedy, crime & investigation, Christian and legal procedural movies.
I also like to go out with my friends. I know a lot of people but I have a very small circle. Hanging out with them helps me unwind. Some bars of chocolate have to be present though. I love chocolate.

8. What is your highest and lowest point as a student, author and leader and how did you overcome them?

I hate feeling overwhelmed. I could get so overwhelmed that I won’t be able to do anything. I just stare at the ceiling for hours, leaving overflowing heaps of items on my to-do list.
When it gets like that, I apportion time to each activity or work I have to do. That way, I have some control over my time and it eases off anxiety. Time management is key for me.

9. What would you like to change about yourself?

I am a limited edition. There is nobody in the world like me. I appreciate all my strengths and weakness as part of the package called Ikanna. However, I subject myself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He is in charge of my life. Whatever He doesn’t consider cool enough, He brings it to my notice and we work together to get better.

10. What are the challenges young writers and author face in Nigeria? Which improvement do suggest?

Money! Money is a serious challenge. Young writers, please don’t wait for funding before you manifest your gifts. Don’t wait for a competition with prize money attached. Don’t also wait for platforms! Create your platform. I private-published my first book when I was 19. I had already gathered an audience on Facebook. My cover design was sponsored by a fan. My editing was done for free by a professional editor who had seen my work and believed in me. I didn’t spend a dime.
Create your platform.

11. If you were the Chief Justice of Nigeria for a day, what would you do and change?

(Laughs) Rome was not built in a day so will the justice system in Nigeria not be built in a day. It’s a whole long process but we can take one step at a time. Our justice system requires a near revamp.
If I were to be given that position for a day however, I will communicate my vision to the stakeholders in that system. From there, work can begin.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mmanti Umoh, An erudite management consultant, the woman with the highest Intelligence Quotient I know. Molested at an early age, Mmanti drove her way to becoming one of the most influential women in Africa. Her story and her life inspire me to never allow circumstances of life dictate what I become.

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsi Co. A friend of mine told me to look up one of her videos one day and I was wowed. That was the beginning of my admiration for her. She inspires me big time. She is a role model for real.

Dr. Utibe Alex- Okoro, my elder sister and a medic. This woman is an embodiment of the word ‘complete’. A complete woman. She inspires me daily to live my best life and supports me heavily. What’s more? I love her so much!

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

This pandemic has halted many things but nevertheless I hope to be pursuing a PhD in Law, living out purpose and enjoying the grace of God.

 

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

Hey girls, be intentional! Stop wasting time sleeping, chatting away or allowing boys exploit you. Girl, you’re more! There’s a lot in you than you can see right now. God is just at your door. Open the door for Him and let Him handle you.
Be more!.

 

Joy Agbozi is the CEO of Jina’s dynasty ,a brand that is into Make up, fashion designing, social media publicity and catwalk training..

She is the Founder of CHARITY FASHION SHOW INTERNATIONAL..Which is a fashion show for charity where we provide a platform for young talents and use the proceeds for charity..

Agbozi Joy is Passionate about young people and she spends her time mentoring young people on the importance of believing in themselves and chasing their dreams.

Joy Agbozi is a Make up artist,fashion designer,model,actress ,social media publicist , catwalk instructor and also a multiple award winner..

Joy Agbozi has contested for various pageants and she is the current HERITAGE QUEEN AFRICA 2020.

She is a graduate of Linguistics and communication studies from the University of Port Harcourt.

She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Let’s meet you, Who is Joy Agbozi?

Joy Agbozi is an indigene of Rivers state from Khana Local Government Area, a graduate of Linguistics and Communication Studies from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt.
She is the current HERITAGE QUEEN AFRICA 2020 WINNER.

She is an actress,model,fashion designer,make up artist ,social media publicist,pageant coach under her brand JINA’S DYNASTY. She is the founder of the Charity fashion show International, a brand that is quite dear to her heart because of her love for humanitarian services.

Joy is a foodie, I love food alot and I like trying out new delicacies.
I love reading novels,meeting people ,singing and dancing.
Lastly, I am an ambivert, both an introvert and extrovert.

 

2. Who and what inspired you to go into pageantry and catwalk?

Watching the Miss world competition every year inspired me to go into pageantry..I wanted to be that girl that will not only represent my country but also win the Miss World title.. I knew I didn’t have the money neither do I know where to start but I started with training myself and working on my social media.

3. As an entrepreneur how did you begin and what was your struggle?

I woke up one day and decided I needed a skill to add to what I know and I took up make up first because of my love for make up, went through the trainings and then I officially launched my brand.

Being an entrepreneur is never easy. It takes passion,determination and resilience to keep the business running even when you make little or no sales.

4. Charity Fashion Show International is not a vision everyone come up everyday to give back to charity through fashion shows. What exactly promoted this vision?

I am a very compassionate person and I get really drawn to people easily especially when I feel they have little or nothing to fall back on. I also see lots of young talents looking for a platform and having none.

I always have this desire to help when I see people who do not have.

The charity show was born out of my desire to help people in

 

Ogundowole Moyinoluwa popularly known as Moyinoluwa Gold is a graduate of Geography and Environmental Management from Tai Solarin University of Education.

Her passion for the growth and development of teenagers, orphans and vulnerable children birthed her NGO, Gold Heart Foundation.

She is a social development practitioner, a certified passionate teacher and digital skills trainer.

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

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Moyinoluwa Gold?

My name is Ogundowole Moyinoluwa. I’m a graduate of Geography and Environmental Management from the premier university of education, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. I’m an indigene of Owo in Ondo State. I am a social development practitioner, a certified passionate teacher, digital skills trainer. I’m passionate about the growth and development of teenagers, orphans and vulnerable children.

2. What birthed Gold heart foundation and what is it about?

I discovered in the course of studying the Bible that God is compassionate about the poor and the orphan. Jesus also demonstrated how much He loves children by always reaching out to them. Following in His footsteps brings me untold joy. I believe I was destined to do what I’m doing now. As I use my gifts properly, I’m lighting my world. By reaching out now to younger people, I’m doing my part to ensure that the future for our nation is better than what it is today.

3. In a society where most people shy away from taking up teaching as a profession. What prompted you to settle for it? And also major challenges encountered so far?

Talking is one of my strengths. I love passing down knowledge and school is an avenue to pass down knowledge I have received. I love children, school is also where I can easily get more children to relate with. So, my passion made me settle for teaching as a profession.

One of the major challenge is the school environment; I don’t find it so well to teach students theoretically without the practical aspect, this always made me unhappy though I still try my best to improvise by teaching beyond classroom using my phone, laptop and other instructional materials for effective teaching.

4. To what extent did your job as a teacher contribute to the startup of Gold Heart foundation?

I started Gold Heart Foundation before being certified as a teacher. But, when I began working in the school system, I was able to use teaching methodology in the running of the organization especially during our outreach to schools; which made it easier to connect to young people.

 

5. What are the challenges you faced when you started the foundation? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

(Smiles) The naysayers jeer at me: ‘You’re just wasting your time and resources on these ones [the children &youth], they will never change. Enjoy life with your resources.’ I was never discouraged because my native aphorism clears it all up, “Emi lo ni pasan mi,” meaning, I own my passion. I believe and will continue to believe that every teenager has been specifically prepared to do something positive in this world. This is the reason I’m committed to helping them find that good thing and do it. I don’t experience it any longer because the vision is now tangible and many that didn’t buy into it then now support.

6. What has the Covid-19 pandemic opened your eyes to?

This pandemic is a blessing in disguise for me; instead of seeing the negative impact, all I see are opportunities, energy to diversify. It has opened my insight and foresight in all areas.

7. What are some challenges NGOs owned by young Nigerians face and how can it be mitigated?

Proper structuralization of vision; when the organization vision is not well structured, well planned and lay out, one can be frustrated. It can be mitigated by learning from social development practitioners experts, those that have experiences in that field and one should be open to learn with a shift mindset.

Another challenge is funding; people tend to speak well of what you’re doing but are not readily inclined to commit themselves financially. Due to this challenge, there is limit to the air of humanity we can spread abroad but through coined out strategies, creativity and networking, generating and accessing fund is possible.

 

8. What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up in typical Nigerian home (laughs) has a lot of influence on what I do today. My childhood was a lonely and bookish one. All that my parents were interested in was education—from school to lesson (even during holidays) and back to the home for personal coaching with my parents who were educationalist. I didn’t play much like other children did. So, it made me realize how important and valuable education is. More so. I can remember fighting for my friends, siblings and parents because I hated injustice and still do. The advocacy spirit has been in me from inception.

 

9. How do you cope with dealing and managing adolescents?

There is something I’d train myself on; is to love unconditionally. When one shows genuine love to the adolescents, they embrace it and submit to you. So, I love and appreciate them. Also, I gave my time and resources in studying and researching on child’s psychology, so, I can and relate with them better, since they’re the target population I have decided to settle with.

10. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

Uhmm… I will invest in the education sector by providing a conducive environment for learners and teachers and recommend that the school curriculum be reviewed to include innovative and entrepreneurial courses alongside leadership development. There is so much we can learn from using the internet to our benefit. With these, our students will be equipped with skills needed to navigate the wider world.

11. How do you juggle running an NGO, teaching and other engagements?

Time management is key. It is not easy but over time I have learnt how to prioritize. Everything, I am doing and involved in are all interwoven, that’s makes it so easier for me to cope with because I enjoy every bit of my engagements. But, currently NGO work is demanding I need to stop teaching in school environment to focus more on the NGO so I will not loose focus and be more productive. Moreover, in the NGO I still teach.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mother Mary Teresa of her blessed memory; because, she devoted herself working among the poorest of the poor in the slums, taking care of for those persons nobody was prepared to look after even when funds not forthcoming.

Folorunso Alakija (Rose of Sharon Foundation); because of her philanthropic interest in helping the widows and orphans through scholarships and business grants.

Kehinde Okoroafor (Makeme Elegant Foundation); because of her passion and love for the less priviledged and the way she went out of her way to seek for support for upcoming young people in the society in order for them to be visible and relevant.

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

In the next five years if God tarries, I will in Gold Heart Foundation International headquarter as a Social development practitioner consultant; consulting for individuals and organization locally, National and international.

14. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females ten years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

My dear energetic young female, you can be more. You’ve everything to be more inside of you which God has deposited in you in form of gift, skills, talent; unleash it and make sure you walk with the right set of people to be more. You’re unique and always celebrate your uniqueness, serve your God accordingly.

Ifeoma is a Law graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and currently rounding off her Law school post graduate studies at Nigerian Law School, Kano.

She loves meeting new people, has an interest in acquiring new skills and she has a passion for fashion designing.

She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Ifeoma Laura?

I am Udeh Ifeoma Laura, a graduate of Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, currently rounding off my Law school post graduate study at the Nigerian Law school, Kano.
I love to meet people, make dresses and learn new things, acquire new skills .I also love children…. when they’re not crying.

2. A favourite quote?

“No matter what you’re going through in life, eat! Problem no dey finish “

3. What new thing have to learnt or been involved in since the pandemic?

I wanted to learn about Blockchain but Law School is very very demanding and although I’ve looked at it several times, I can’t say I’ve actually learnt it. Either ways, I’ll not stop trying.
However, the pandemic has taught me that our plans are nothing in the sphere of things and thus, we must cherish everything we have and live like it’s our last. Because it’s really one chance at life we have.

4. You are a graduate of Law, what prompted you to venture into the Fashion industry?

I’m very good with anything that has to do with handiwork. I learn very fast too. I picked up sewing in my SS3 although, I’ve been sketching since junior secondary. So, sewing came easily and I learnt it on my own. I was self taught. For now, I’ve not commercialized it but I have that in mind. I’ll definitely make money out of it because I like money.

5. How were you able to juggle education with fashion designing?

It wasn’t an issue for me because I wasn’t doing it in school. I was only sewing for myself and family ; so it wasn’t really a distraction .

6. What has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?

My Law School!
We’ve resolved to doing online classes and I personally do not like online teaching. It’s really not my forte, especially for a period of 4 months! It really affected my routine and plans but this too shall pass and there’ll be good stories to tell.

7. As a Law graduate, what was your best and most challenging moments back in school?

My final year was Glorious! Glory to God!
My result was fantastic, I was heading an association and we won Best Chambers of the year. Heading the Chambers was the most challenging time of my life and coupled with my Academics, it was a whole lot of load to carry. Thanks to God, I aced both and I’m happy I had that experience.

8. What was growing up in a Nigerian home like? Did it contribute to things you do now?

Growing up has my fondest memories. I’m blessed with fantastic parents and uncles , aunties, relatives and grandparents who care so much . Raising me was a collective effort and it really shaped who I am now because , everything that I do and believe in now can be traced to my family. They did a great job!

9. If you were to be the President of the Nigerian Bar Association,what would you change?

The first thing; the RPC ( Rules of professional conduct)
I’ll call for a new RPC to meet contemporary needs.
My next interest will be the Nigerian law school, it’s grades and marking system.
These 2 will be my first projects. Others will follow .

10. One thing you’ll like to change about yourself?

My patience. I have too much patience for one human being. I’ll like to divide it into 10 and give some people; especially Lagosians.

11. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

My Mother: There’s only one word that describes her, and it’s Excellence! She’s an all rounder. There’s nothing she can’t do.

My Eldest Sister Obianuju:
She doesn’t settle for less. She’s a fighter and a goal getter. Nothing can stop her from doing what she sets her mind to do.

Beyoncé: She works way too hard and way too good. She has no competition and she’s perfect in my eye.
I love her doggedness and resilience with work and with family. She’s a Queen.

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

  1. Honestly, out of Nigeria and in the United Kingdom.

Dear young one, there’s so much ahead of you. Don’t let social media fool you, nothing comes easy. Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. School is not scam ; Take your life seriously and enjoy it while you have it.
The world is your stage, go out and Win!

Amb. Adebara Adebimpe ( Child Safety Advocate) , SRHR coach and a Girl Child Advocate.
Currently, she is the founder and director of “Piece of my Heart Foundation” where she leads a team of volunteers in educating and sensitizing children cum teenagers on sex education to prevent abuse.

She is a skillz girl coach at Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative where she educates adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health. She is also volunteer teacher at EduAid, a Global youth Ambassador at “Their World”. Lagos State Youth Ambassador representating Ikeja division at the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development.

Adebimpe is a graduate of Yaba college of Technology, Lagos. She is a trained child Advocate by Christiana Faith Foundation and Laura kids Foundation U.S.A. She’s also an alumni of Lagos Business school.She shares her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Let’s meet you.
Who is Adebimpe?

Adebara Adebimpe (The father’s princess) is a Christian, Graphics and UI/UX designer, sexual and reproductive health coach and a Girl child advocate.

She founded Piece of my Heart Foundation where she leads a team of volunteers in educating and sensitizing children and teenagers on sex education to prevent them from abuse. She is a Skillz girl coach at Youth empowerment and development initiative where she educates adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health.

A Global youth ambassador at Their World, Lagos state Youth Ambassador, Girl impact Ambassador, An SDG Youth Advocate.

Adebimpe is a graduate of Yaba college of technology, Lagos. She is a trained child advocate by Christiana Faith foundation and Laura kid’s foundation U.S.A. An alumna of Lagos Business school (Leadership and Non profit Manangement).

“Gender equality is not impossible. When we put women and girls at the centre of economies”

2. What is Piece of my Heart Foundation about?

Piece of my heart foundation is a registered Youth led non-governmental organization, that creates safe space free from violence for children and adolescent providing them with knowledge and information about sex and gender, through sensitization, advocacy, awareness and empowerment. Check us out @Pieceofmyheartng on Instagram and Facebook.

3. What prompted you to start a foundation on Gender Based Violence?

I started the NGO as a result of personal experience and the narrative of most Nigeria children. I was a Victim of child sexual abuse, I believe prevention is better than rehabilitation. Many parents shy away from the topic of sex education which makes it easy for abusers to have their way on children and adolescent. Some end up making wrong decisions because of their ignorance.

“I wasVictim of child sexual abuse, I believe prevention is better than rehabilitation.”

4. Apart from running a Foundation, what other things are you into?

Aside from running Piece of my Heart Foundation, I’m a Grahics designer, I’m also into photography. I’m currently stepping up my design game, I’m learning
UI/UX.

5. How do you relax despite your busy schedule?

Being around my family and friends gisting  with them, surfing the internet and sometimes being alone and gisting with God.

6. What has the Covid-19 pandemic taught you?

COVID-19 has taught me a lot of things one is that “Nothing is Promised,” live everyday like its your last. We all had plans before the pandemic, but immediately it came things changed. At first, I was confused about how to continue my life but it is important to keep in mind that regardless of what happens, life is continuous(until the world finally ends). Giving up shouldn’t be an option. Things may not always go has planned but God is faithful.

7. As a certified Child Safety Advocate, what is your take on the rising issue on rape in the country?

The rising issue of rape is so sad and alarming, especially during the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak exacerbates existing inequalities for women and girls across every sphere – from health and the economy, to security and social protection. This further informs us that abusers are not strangers but people who are close to us. It is a call to action that we need to do more prevention intervention and also strengthen our crisis management system by domesticating laws that criminalize Sexual and Gender based violence. We also need to hold our lawmakers accountable, all states should adopt the VAPP Act.

8. What made you venture into photography and graphic design?

I studied computer science in school hence, I picked a niche. I was forced to pick Graphics design as I always get disappointed by designers, that pushed me to learning it. I have always loved Photography right from my childhood and I only got the chance to learn after I graduated.

“Many parents shy away from the topic of sex education which makes it easy for abusers to have their way on children and adolescent.”

 

9. If you were to address the United Nations on SDGs 5 (Gender Equality), what would your message be?

Gender equality is not impossible. When we put women and girls at the centre of economies it will place the world back on a footing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives, and build a more just and resilient world. A violence free world is everyone’s responsibility. The time for Action is now, as Sexual and Gender based violence is a pandemic.

10. How do you juggle volunteering, photography and graphic designs?

How do I juggle… I set my priority.. Most times I use photography skill and my design skills to volunteer for people. It is not easy doing these things and leading a Nonprofit but with God all things are possible. I also have amazing team members that make life easy.

11. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

There are more than three women who inspire me,

1. Mrs Ibukun Awosika, I love the fact that she is a woman breaking boundaries. She inspires me with her love for God and humanity.

2. Anthonia Ojenagbon, she is a survivor of sexual abuse and she is giving other people a chance to be heard. She inspires me so much because of her resilience and her fight for SGBV.

3. Esther Ijewere, a woman with an heart of Gold, she inspires me with her selflessness, humility and doggedness.

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

In the next 5 years, I see myself far better than who I’m today, touching lives, breaking boundaries in carrier and in life.
Doing what the Father wants me to do per time.

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?

Dear young lady, You’re not too young to start achieving your dreams and never give up on your dreams.
Trust God with your process and never stop building Capacity.

Don’t envy those who are ahead, learn from them. Don’t mock those who are behind, help them. Always remember no one owes you anything, Your personal development is your responsibility. Start now, you will be glad you did.

Your Dreams are valid.

Akinola Blessing Olajumoke is a final year student of Business Administration in Ekiti State University. She is a fashion designer who is very passionate about fashion. Blessing draws her inspiration from singing and dancing.

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

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Blessing?

My name is Akinola Blessing Olajumoke, a 400 level Business Administration student from Ekiti state University. I’m also a fashion designer by profession based in Ibadan. I love fashion and all the goodness it can brings.

2. What made you venture into the fashion industry?

It happened a long time ago when I gave my Christmas cloth to a tailor to sew for me but the tailor disappointed me so I had to wait till she was done with the cloth then I saw the process of how she made the cloth. I got home that day then I made up my mind never to be disappointed by any fashion designer again because I’m going to become one myself.

3. Your hobbies and also an accessory you cannot leave home without?

I like singing and dancing a lot even when sewing, I listen to music for inspiration. The accessory I cannot leave home without is my hand bag because I love bags a lot.

4. What are the challenges you faced when you started out as an entrepreneur. Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Well, there are many challenges one is bound to face as an entrepreneur especially if you’re a fashion designer, as we all know some customers bring styles that are not suitable for their body shape and when they don’t like the outcome it’s something else for the designer. At times they bring fabrics that are not suitable for the design they picked but at the same time you have to make it for them and when it comes to the issue of making payments some clients don’t want to pay but they want something more than they can afford.

Yes I still experience some, I’ve overcome some. I set a standard for myself and that was how I got rid of some of these challenges.

6. Being a student, how have you been able to juggle school work with fashion?

So far so good it has been easy for me because I know where I’m already headed so I did not let being a student distract me from doing what I love the most which is sewing so even if I receive fabrics during my exams I still sew them.

7. What has the Covid-19 pandemic taught you as an individual, brand and business owner?

This pandemic period made me realize that nothing is impossible. While everyone was bored looking for one thing or the other to do, ideas on what to do and how to do them just kept popping in my head. It got to a point, I could not sleep at night because I was always up thinking of what next to be done.

8. Do you have any role model in the fashion industry? If yes, who?*

For now I am looking up to myself.

9. What are the challenges young Nigerian entrepreneurs face? How can it be mitigated?*

Inability to take risks and lack of moral support are some of the challenges young entrepreneurs face in Nigeria, some don’t even know much about the business before venturing into it.

Live and let’s live is a popular saying and I think if we should start supporting each other’s business no matter how small the business is may change people’s view about entrepreneurship, then we should learn to take risks no matter how big it is.

10. Apart from fashion designing, what other things are you involved in?

Nothing for the time being.

11. One thing you’ll like to change about yourself.*

Nothing for now.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?*

My mom,she was the one that supported my dream of becoming a fashion designer.
My elder sister, her fashion sense was what inspired me as a young designer.

My school mother (omma), her will to survive in any situation she finds herself is a whole bag of inspiration. I look up to her as a role model.

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

I see myself where God wants me to be, because only him knows tomorrow regardless of man’s plan or where he think he’ll be cause Man proposes God disposes.

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

Well my advice to them will be for them to focus on whatever good things they have in mind and no matter how difficult the road to success may look or be they should not give up until they achieve their set up goals.

Anita Patrick is a lady whose heart is set on God. A student of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta. She’s a sold out intercessor, a chef and  runs an online personal cook service. She lives a life of love, such that every person she meets experiences the love of the father through her. One of Anita’s dreams is to see a world where every person is able to do more dependent on their abilities in Christ.

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story with the team.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Anita Patrick?

Anita Patrick is a student of the federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. She is an intercessor, first child of four kids, from Edo state, born on the 12th of August.
She also works for Nita Cooks, an online personal cook service.

2.  What are your hobbies?

Cooking! I enjoy cooking and listening to music a lot.

3. What inspired you to start out as a chef?

I never really knew I enjoyed cooking or anything food related at first. I used to be very very far from the kitchen. My mum would always say that I couldn’t cook and all that. I even did catering craft and food & nutrition but I really did not know. One day I was watching a series on African Magic family and in the series some guys wanted to start a food business but then it was supposed to be mobile and the whole thought seemed really really amazing to me. Then I decided to start a food business, but it was along the line I found out that I really really loved cooking and all kitchen related stuff, I’m still discovering a lot of stuff like how much I love food photography and the rest.

4. Apart from being a chef and running an online platform, what else do you do?

I’m a student majorly for now and lately I’ve been helping brands that want to start up with baby steps for their business and I’ve been really getting interested in brand photography and some IT stuff.

5. What are the challenges you faced as a newbie in entrepreneurship? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

I’d say I’m still a newbie. And I still face challenges, I can remember the first time I went for an exhibition in Ikeja, I wanted to earn more money. I lent some money for the exhibition because I really wanted to exhibit my food and sell, and then I ran to a great loss because people did not buy. It was very scary but funny enough it didn’t hurt me hard because I saw it as a story I’d tell, which I’m telling you right now (Laughs). I’ve also had to deal with acceptance as a startup, getting people to trust me. Yes, lastly I’ve had times I had deliveries and the food didn’t turn out great because I’ve had to learn things by myself as I didn’t attend any catering or culinary school. I learnt most of the things I know myself, because I easily learn food related activities. But trust me, it hasn’t been really easy.

6. What has the Covid-19 pandemic taught you as an individual and business owner?

Partnership, consistency and growth. It has taught me that you really have to take your own life into your own hands, nobody would wait for you and also the fact that the world would only celebrate VALUE, nothing less.

7.  What are the challenges young Nigerian food vendors face?

Hmmmm, majorly I think it’s inconsistent and inefficient raw material distribution of some certain kind of foods. It even affects large scales, there are some ingredients that would be cheaper if they were produced here in Nigeria. Plus the fact that our agricultural system isn’t helping matters at all.

Another thing is logistics, it’s one big issue for young vendors who cannot afford to employ logistics, food is very delicate and it’s something you have to be careful with so having to deliver safely sometimes is an issue and quite expensive.

8.