Ruby Girls Nigeria

  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?
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?


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?

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.

Rafiat Atanda is a Communications Officer at a leading financial institution, and with a heart in the social impact space. She is a 2021 Carrington Youth Fellow, 2021 Margaret Ekpo Youth Fellow, 2020 ONE Champion, Advocate, quintessential Public Speaker, Host, and Freelance Presenter with over five years of experience.

In her capacity as a 2020 ONE Champion in Nigeria, she was privileged to join the high-level Tortoise G7bn Summit and shared her thoughts on the kind of leadership the world should be aiming for.

Also, she has hosted a number of top-level events, judged several debate competitions, moderated a number of panel sessions and trained individuals in the art of excellent public speaking. A one-time presenter on LASU Radio 95.7FM and “Insight on Politics” on LTV, she continues to trailblaze and inspire action whenever she talks. She is the host of “TalkWithRaffy” on Instagram, a platform where she teaches people how to speak and communicate effectively.
Rafiat Atanda is passionate about women, girls and youth.

She shared her Ruby Girl story with the team.

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

Growing up was a blend of fun, fear, faith and hope. Like many kids in semi-urban areas, I grew up playing table tennis with boys, seasonally going to Mr Biggs, defending other girls from male oppression, living with caution because my parents were principled and entrenched in spirituality. It was a tough environment characterised by juvenile delinquency, little or no regard for education and other social vices but thankfully, I had parents who checkmated my steps and served as great anchors; instilled a profound moral compass in me; taught me the way of the Lord; charged me to believe in myself and not be defined by my immediate environment; and taught me that being female, even in a male-dominated world is a rare blessing. I didn’t have access to luxury but I had access to parental guidance, and the understanding of what genuine love for humanity is.

2. ‎Have you or people around you always known you would be interested in public speaking?

Yes. I have always had an undiluted love for public speaking. As a student of Sari Iganmu Secondary School and undergraduate at the Lagos State University, I represented my schools in different debate competitions and won trophies. This interest spurred from childhood; I loved talking. I remember how I used to rush to put on the generator, whenever it was time for “The Debaters (a debate competition for adults organised by Mo Abudu) “and there was no power supply. After English tutorial classes taken by my teacher Ganiu Bamgbose who is now “Dr Ganiu Bamgbose”, I would consciously practice speaking right with my good friend Grace Uzoh.

Communicating with poise and the right diction became a crucial component of my being. People always told (they still do) me that they like the way I speak and at some point, my coursemates at the university labelled me “Diction mistress”.

It’s been quite a ride, so they’re not surprised I’m interested in public speaking and communication.

3. ‎Can you enlighten those who are currently nursing the desire to be a Margaret Ekpo Youth Fellow or Carrington Youth Fellow someday how they can achieve this ambition? Also what do you intend to do as a fellow?

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn, engage and impact through the Margaret Ekpo Fellowship and Carrington Youth Fellowship. As a corporate communication officer, it’s delightful to know that the little work I do in the social impact space advancing the lives of youth, women and girls isn’t so little after all. For anyone willing to be part of these incredible initiatives, I implore you to put in the work and tell your stories the right way. Endeavour to increase your digital footprints with inspiring and humanised stories. Organisers are looking for passionate and empathetic changemakers; you need to demonstrate that you are the one they’re looking for. Also, seek guidance from alumni; it will help strengthen your application and increase your chances of being selected.

As a Carrington Youth Fellow, I currently work with the civil liberty team and we are looking to work on a project based on juvenile justice. This project is dear to my heart because upon my visit to a correctional center, I noticed that these juveniles are not adequately prepared to be well reintegrated back to the society. It was a devastating experience and I have never stopped thinking about them. I will be engaging individuals to teach these kids monetisable digital skills, as well as work with other members of my team to better ease the entry and exit process of these juveniles.

On the other hand, I have realized that there’s the feminisation of poverty, the erasure of women in history and the underrepresentation of women in governance. So, as a Margaret Ekpo Fellow, I intend to document the stories of women- past and present- as well as champion or support empowering initiatives that will help more women take up leadership spaces, be economically buoyant and live wholly as humans.

4. Judging by your years of practice in the Communications sector, what have you noticed most organizations and institutions are lacking and need to improve on?

Lots of organisations are upping their communications game. It’s interesting seeing how they strategically jump on trends, engage influencers, put some marketing budget on traditional and new media advertising, and try not to hard-sell their products or services.

However, I believe that many organisations still need to learn how to humanise their stories, especially by standing with the people on issues affecting their collective existence. No sitting on the fence; they should join them or back out! No more robotic response to customers, too. In addition, organisations need to ensure they’re domesticating their communication assets.

5. ‎Any particular or general challenges you encounter in the course of practicing and teaching public speaking? Any tips on how you have been able to overcome them?

The challenges I encountered as an early stage public speaker were:

– Overcoming stage fright
– Speaking with confidence, clarity and the right diction
– Getting the right response/emotions from the audience

Here are tips that have worked for me…

Every time I get to talk about public speaking, I particularly share the power of the “3Rs”; Research, Rehearsals and Reflection.
I have come to realise that the challenges I stated above stem from a lack of mastery of the 3Rs. Before you speak to an audience, endeavour to have researched about them and the topic of discussion. This will influence your 5Ws and H. Remember people have come, so you can educate, entertain and inform them.

In addition, you must rehearse your presentation. That is, practice! Do this with friends, family members or even the mirror (the mirror is my best part). Treat it like the serious business that it is. You can not master what doesn’t matter to you.

When you reflect on your speech beforehand, it gives you an idea of what the tone of your voice should be, your choice of words, your looks, etc. You’re ultimately doing this to elicit some kind of emotions/feedback from the audience.

For the challenges stated above, the 3Rs have helped me address them. When you have sufficient knowledge of the topic and people, practice in whatever way you can and reflect, against all odds, you will most likely deliver a memorable presentation.

6. ‎A random fact about your talk show, “TalkWithRaffy.”

The ideas of many of the content I have worked on in the past came while I was in the restroom.

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

There are lots of misconceptions about what feminism is in this part of the world, and I believe they largely stem from a place of patriarchal privilege, power domination and unhealthy social constructs. At the heart of feminism is the advancement of women’s issues- ones that everyone should be deeply concerned about. But no, when a woman takes the bull by the horns and decides to deconstruct unprogressive practices, she is labelled “proud, rude, etc.”.

For far too long, the trajectories of women have been laced with underrepresentation and dehumanisation across human endeavours. Women make the numbers but sadly, these numbers are mere statistics that do not translate to shared opportunities. I have met many ladies who have shrunk to fit because the audacity in their voices is a threat that could cost them marriage to a man in the nearest future. They continue to wallow in the pit of social constructs and living wholly as humans does not seem like an option to them.

Regardless of the labels, I understand that a person’s experience can be learned from but not be universalised. Equal opportunity is not a luxury and should not be gender specific. I believe in the social, economic and cultural inclusion of everyone. I believe in the freedom of women and girls to be simply humans who nurture their individualities. This is what feminism means to me.

8. ‎Your major takeaways from advocacy over the years?

– Advocacy isn’t cheap; you need resources (money, time, manpower, etc.) and an undying passion to do great advocacy.
– Emotions alone doesn’t push advocacy, you need facts, a strong network, diplomacy and good lobbying skills.
– When you do advocacy, tell your story in a compelling way. It will not only advance your cause and improve the lives of the people, but aid your personal development.
– You can pursue a career in a different sector and still do great advocacy. I am a Corporate Communications Practitioner who has leveraged my learnings and skills over the year in driving sustainable development. For instance, I ran on online campaign during the rise of the 2nd wave of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. The hashtag used “#MoreThanAMask” garnered about 2.5million organic impressions.
– As much as possible, advocate without being provocative. A smart advocate doesn’t shut the door; they leave it ajar.

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

It’s very appalling that politics in this part of the world isn’t largely based on ideas and ideals; but on the size of your pocket and your loyalty to “constituted authorities”. Politics is perceived as a business that people venture into for profit, and not an avenue to genuinely serve God and humanity.

If I were President, I would reduce the cost of governance, so more parts of the budget can be allocated to sectors such as education, health, justice, etc; and passionate individuals are attracted to politics. I would elevate and regard “The Office of the Citizen”, lead by example, entrench the rule of law and democracy, provide an enabling environment for young people to innovate and thrive, and increase women representation in government.

I would improve communications in a way that citizens are addressed with empathy and compassion.
I would strengthen the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, so we produce most of what we consume and eradicate poverty. I would put a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place, so resources are better utilised. My people will enjoy the dividends of democracy and everyone will have equal opportunities to live a life of dignity.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mo Abudu: What else to say about her cross-sectoral experience, grit, poise, intelligence, persistence and determination. One of my inspirations for being a public speaker- especially, a hijabi public speaker- was watching “The Debater”, an initiative of Mo Abudu. She is an amazon who is constantly changing the African narratives. She wears so many hats, and does so excellently.

The Squad (Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Cori Bush of Missouri): I like that these audacious women represent different “Firsts” and together, they have built a resilient and forward-thinking sisterhood. They will rather be honest and feel the heat, than be neutral. For them, the interest of the populace supersedes the party’s interest. They are smart, knowledgeable, graceful and radical. What a breath of fresh air they are!

Christiane Amanpour:

A stellar outlier and outstanding storyteller. Despite being so long in the game, Amanpour continues to grace our screens with incredible stories of people, places and possibilities. She has shown that hard work and passion are major ingredients to attaining success and significance.

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

I like the intersection of media and communication, politics, policy and development. In the next 5 years, I see myself occupying an international role that brings everything together and allows me do great, impactful work.

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?

You’re bigger than your current environment; don’t let it define you. Own your truths, take up spaces and do not be enveloped by social constructs. Live wholly as humans, breathe! Do not let the fear of failing stop you from trying. Tell your story because no one understands what it feels to be you like you. Seek guidance, you do not have to thread the rocky path of life cluelessly. Embrace humanity and spirituality, it will help you live a more fulfilled life.

_Thank you for your time, ma. We’re most grateful._

Prisca Chika Onuegbu is a Public health professional with keen interest in education and advocacy for children with special needs. She believes every child is unique, with untapped potentials waiting to be rightly harnessed.

Prisca holds a Masters in Public health (Child and Adolescent Health) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She holds a B. Sc in Child Development and Family relations from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She has facilitated and attended several trainings to support her cause for children with special needs in Nigeria.

As the Director of Programs at The Autism Awareness Foundation (TAAF NG), she is actively involved in support and advocacy for individuals with autism and other related developmental disorders. She has worked as a therapist at Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, Ikeja, the foremost centre for Autism in Nigeria.

In 2018, Prisca got the ‘Talent of the Future’ awards by Ideation Hub Africa. She was also a 2019 fellow at the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI), U.S. Consulate, Nigeria.

Prisca is passionate about leadership, excellence and positive impact. She believes a love-infested, inclusive society is possible.

She shares her ‘RUBY GIRL’ story with the team.

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

I had a normal childhood. Born into a Christian home and an academic environment, I was always the caregiver for babies in my compound and parents felt safe leaving their kids with me. I was also given enough room for expression and exploration, so I grew up to making my choices and owning them, of course with the support of my family.

2. What inspired your interest in children with special needs?

Well, I’ve always loved children generally. Then my course of study exposed me to developmental milestones and challenges. It was then that I stumbled on the word AUTISM. I was going to make it my project topic but I was discouraged from going that route, partly because most of my lecturers were not familiar with the condition and partly because there had been little research done on Autism in Nigeria.

The backlash I received strengthened my resolve to connect and work with children on the Autism spectrum. Thankfully, I met a woman who owned a centre for Autism in Ile-Ife. I visited the centre, saw the peculiarities of the children there, and decided that this was a cause I was going to stand for – enlightening more people about Autism and other special needs.

3. What inspired you to study Child Development and Family Relation?

The background story is that I gained admission into two institutions of my choice, one was to study Medicine and the other to study Child Development and Family Relation. I never really liked the idea of studying Medicine, my childhood dream was to be a journalist but somehow I found myself in science class. In all, my love for children, the idea of escaping medicine, and staying away from home was how I got here (grins).

4. How has serving as a volunteer for children with special needs influenced you?

It has made me more empathetic. Empathy is different from sympathy. You can’t pity them, in fact, they don’t love to be pitied. They want you to see the strength in them and help them thrive. I have also learnt patience. My family members are still amazed at how soft I can be around children with special needs when I could be the ‘madam’ at home (laughs). But then, I guess it’s what passion does to you – brings out your soft and creative skills.

5. ‎ Can you give us an insight into Child and Adolescent Health?

Child and Adolescent Health is an arm of Public Health that focuses on improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Childhood is the foundation of life and adolescence is when most children are trying to discover their essence as they transition into adulthood.

Children and Adolescents are usually faced with different health challenges including developmental delays and disabilities, mental health conditions, injuries, communicable and non-communicable diseases. While growing up, it is important that they are provided with adequate caregiving and health-care services, nutrition, and safe environments. Child and Adolescent health shows us that the extent to which society invests in the health and well-being of children and adolescents will determine the future – not just for them, but for everyone.

6. You received the “Talent of the future” awards in 2018, how did that make you feel?

I felt really elated and encouraged to keep showing up. First of all, I am not the Founder of The Autism Awareness Foundation but the founder felt I deserved it because of how invested I was in the Initiative. Someone called it ‘passionately owning a vision in other people’s vision’. Maybe that was it but I’ve always believed that value never goes unrewarded. So, it was a great reward to be
recognised at that time.

7. What was your experience in the foremost centre for Autism in Nigeria as a Therapist?

Working at Patrick Speech as a Special needs therapist armed me with most of the experiences and skills I needed to work with children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. It’s one thing to be knowledgeable and it’s another thing to be experienced. I have seen and worked with children on different aspects of the Autism spectrum which has boosted my confidence in advocating for them.

8. What is the highest and lowest point of your journey as a volunteer, advocate and leader and how did you overcome them?

Highest point, I’ll say is the recognition of my work. I’m always glad when people see opportunities and the person who comes to mind is Prisca. I have gotten referrals and job connections simply by volunteering and speaking up about what I know.

Lowest point is trying to convince people that I don’t have the kind of money they think I have. Because you are quite loud about what you do on social media, some people think it’s synonymous to you making money and then you start dealing with pressures from different fronts. But you see this money people think I have /ehn/, I will have plenty of it /ooo/ (laughs).

9. What would you like to change about yourself?

Hmm…I’m not sure there’s anything I really want to change about myself for now except that I’m really introverted and I get to hold back on meeting new people. But it’s being worked on. Networking is key in the development space.

10. As a Carrington Youth Fellow, what are the lessons and project you learnt and implemented during your stay as a fellow?

The first lesson was ‘the decision of the team overrides your personal decision’. So, you must do everything to ensure your team excels. I also picked the value of interdependence, we all need one another to make things happen. I was in the economic empowerment team and during our cycle, we worked with the US consulate to empower 30 Nigerian youths with Data Analysis and Management skills.

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

I’ll change the system of accountability. It’s a major thing we lack in Nigeria. We must begin to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and promises. And it doesn’t just start from being the President of a nation, it starts from the smallest unit of the society – the home.

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

In key leadership and decision-making position, thriving and 10 times better than I am today.

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?

Always strive to be a person of value. Before you think about what you stand to gain, be sure you are bringing something to the table. Value always begets value, and preserves your relevance.

_Thank you for your time, ma. We’re most grateful_




 Abati Esther is the third child in a family of six. She was born on the 10th of May, 1999. She is an Indigene of Ogun State. She is currently in her fourth year in Olabisi Onabanjo University studying Law. She is a blogger, an aspiring model and an humanitarian.

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story with the team

1. Let’s Know You. Who is Abati Esther? 

I am Abati Esther, the third child in a family of six. I am 21 years, clocking 22 soon by May.  A penultimate law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, a blogger, an aspiring model and an humanitarian. I am a co founder of PREESIM FOUNDATION and a member of Pealim Foundation, the CEO of Ayo_Stitches, a brand that deals with male and female materials, wears amongst others.

 Has Law always been your dream course? If not, what prompted you to study Law?

Yes, Law has always been my dream. And I’m also happy that my dad loves the profession so I was not forced to study the course.

You’re the co-founder of PREESIM FOUNDATION. What birthed the vision and what does it entail?

Hmmm, PREESIM FOUNDATION is a non-governmental organization established by two of my best friends and me, the name of the foundation was derived from our names: Precious, Esther and Simi. After the death of one of my friends, I saw all what she accomplished before she died, she made sure she impacted lives and helped the less privileged through the establishment of a foundation. May her Soul Rest in Peace. Then, I thought that if my friend who knew she had short stay on earth could do something so inspiring like this, why can’t I also impact lives and make people happy? So, on August 9, 2020, a day after Precious’ birthday, I messaged my two best friends and discussed with them, they were happy because they also thought of establishing a foundation. I gave them the name of the foundation and they loved it.

The foundation was fully established on September 1, 2020. The main aim of the foundation is to provide for the needy and help the less privileged. Though there are lots of foundations around, yet they can not reach everyone, this is why we are joining the other foundations in reaching out to lives. We are not just providing material needs, we are also trying to impact lives.

And ever since the establishment of PREESIM FOUNDATION, we’ve had the privilege of reaching out to the less privileged, educating the female students on how to be sexually safe and personal hygiene. Also, on March 26, 2021, we were able to reach out to the needy at Ijebu Igbo and the students of Imere Moslem School at Ago Iwoye on April 1, 2021. We are not stopping there. By the special grace of God, we will be reaching out to the orphans to celebrate children’s day with them in May. You can check our page on Instagram @preesim_foundation.

4. Your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is losing my loved ones.

5. What is the influence of your black ebony skin on your modelling career?

Like I said earlier, I’m an an aspiring model, I’m not in any agency for now due to some factors. But my complexion is a blessing from God which I don’t have any intention of tampering with. Most people do appreciate my complexion and I’m always happy, it is part of the reason why I want to venture into modelling but I don’t want it to affect my education. I believe if I work more, I can achieve something great with it.

 What are the topics or subjects you address in your blog and what inspires your writing?

Some of the topics I address in my blog are: Addiction, Rape, Social Injustices and Racial Discrimination, Unfriendly Wife-Beaters… Others can be found at .

What inspires my writing? Well, I’m not the type that writes always. The main thing that inspires my writing is the society.

 You’re a member of Pealin Foundation, what is the significance of foundations like this in the society and what are the major challenges they face?

Pealim Foundation is also a non-governmental organization whose aim is to help a child live well. I am also a member of this foundation.

Foundations like these have lots of impacts in the society. They help in improving the standards of living of millions of families in the society. They educate and enlighten the society on things they are not aware of. They help to fight hunger in the society. People are really suffering, when you get to different communities, you will know that lots of people in the society needs help, financially, emotionally, spiritually and even health wise. These are the reasons why foundations like these exist.

Although to carry out any project in foundations is not easy. Because there is no project you will want to carry out that will not involve money. I can remember the first outreach of my foundation, PREESIM FOUNDATION which was on December 11, 2020. We made graphics to call for donations and we asked members to pay any amount and as at then, we were just six members including the three founders. On December 2, when I called Precious to ask whether we’ve been able to get some cash, she said no money has entered the account. I became unhappy, I told her that we have less than two weeks to carry out the project, she said this foundation is not for us Esther, it is for God, so trust him, He will do something about it. Well, I trusted God, I started praying. Some days later, one of my friend’s sister called me and said she will like to sponsor the foundation, she asked for the foundation’s account details which I gave her. I was so happy. To cut the long story short, we were able to gather some money to carry out the project, in fact, the rice we shared was bought for us by one of our sponsors. Then, I believed that WHAT GOD CAN NOT DO DOES NOT EXIST.

Besides this, foundations do have problems with their members. Some members are not committed and you know that you can’t force people. Most people don’t understand why they are volunteers. They become volunteers because they want people to know that they are in a foundation. Not knowing that it has to do with lots of sacrifices and commitments.

 Your favourite quote?
As earlier said, my favorite quote is “What God can not do does not exist”

You have your own fashion line, Ayo_Stitches. How do you cater for the fashion needs of your customers?

As I always say, I’m not a professional, I’m still learning. The idea of owning a fashion line came during the covid 19 lockdown period, I must say that I achieved a lot during this period.
Ayo_Stitches is a brand that deals with male and female materials and wears. Well, catering for the fashion needs of my customers have not been easy because I only have opportunity to sew at home, I rarely do that in school because I don’t have sewing machine in school and my parents won’t allow me to bring my sewing machine to school. But most times, when it’s not during exam period and my customers want to sew, I usually borrow my friend’s sewing machine to do that and if I’m busy and I noticed that my customer really needs it, I will ask one of my friends to help me with that. God really blessed me with good friends.

You serve as the Financial Secretary of Justice Cloaks Chambers. How has the experience been for you?

Well, I’m still the financial secretary of JCC. Though I’m new to holding posts because I’ve never held one before but I’m learning. Sometimes, when we want to have meeting, I would have forgotten because I’m not used to it. But the President has been helpful.

Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

My mum is the first woman that inspires me. That woman is a strong woman, infact she is my role model. She perseveres a lot and never gave up. The second woman is Precious’ mum that is my best friend’s mum. She constantly lets me know that without God, I am nothing. She helps my spiritual growth.

The third woman is Mrs Funke Felix-Adejumo. I love the way she dedicates herself towards impacting lives and her seminars do inspires me. I love everything about her

 If you were the president of Nigeria for one day, what changes will you put in place?

Hmmm, a lot. One of them is youth empowerment. The second is that I will try my possible best to fight hunger in the society. Also, I will improve the educational sector and make sure the less privileged get educated. There are lots of children out there who are willing to go to school but are not capable financially. Also, I will improve the health sector. In fact, I will change a lot.

Your advice to young females five years younger than you

My advice to young females younger than me is that your life matters a lot to you. Don’t allow what people say to affect your life. Lots of girls out there are going through a lot but don’t have anyone to speak with which is why they do things like committing suicide.

You are a woman even though you are young so be strong and be happy. And always put God first, with Him, everything is possible.

Amaka Nwabeke who is fondly called Amakason is a poet, fiction writer and ultimately a Christian.
She began performing poetry in 2014 and has since then performed on a number of notable platforms alongside distinguished personalities.

She is the convener of The Spoken Word Poetry Conference (S.W.P.C). A poetry conference which she pioneered in 2014, the very same year she started performing poetry.

In 2020, she released her debut Spoken Word album titled ‘EMERGENCE’, in the same year, she also released her first book titled: ‘THE SUN’

She can be contacted via her social media channels listed below:

Instagram: @amakasonlj
Twitter: @amakason_
YouTube Channel: Amakason

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

 1. Let’s meet you. Who is Amakason?

I am a spoken word poet and fiction writer. I love Jesus and consider Him the crust of my identity.

2. What inspired you to venture into poetry and fiction writing?

As cliche as it might sound, God inspired my venture into spoken word poetry. I wrote my first poem on a sad day. When I saw how writing about how I was feeling helped me feel better, I started writing poems consistently. At first, I would just read out from my book to the audience. Then in 2014, I went to Calabar to write an exam and that was where I met the guy that changed my life. He simply just told me that instead of reading the poem from my book, I could try putting the words in my head and then say them without this book. I thought it was pretty cool, and proceeded to try it. At this point, I still didn’t know it was called spoken word poetry or that it even had a name.
I took that guy’s advice and performed a piece the next day to a small gathering of people in Calabar. I didn’t take it too seriously. I was simply just reading my poem without the book. I got back to Lagos shortly after that and was having a chat with my friend Jessica Ibazebo. I can’t remember if it was a chat or even an argument but I do know that she asked me if I had heard about someone called Jackie Hill Perry. I told her that I hadn’t. She proceeded to show me Jackie Hill Perry’s poetry video called Jig-a-boo. I remember watching Jackie perform and feeling a kind of knowing in my heart that I could do what she was doing.

A week after that, I performed my first ‘official’ spoken word poem titled AMAKASON.
How I got into writing fiction is another story on its own. I’ll try and shorten it. We were told to write a drama script in ministry I used to be a part of. It was some of challenge for us to try our hands at script writing. I took the challenge pretty seriously and wrote my ‘supposed’ script. I say supposed because I was later then told by Lekan Aremo who was the drama co-ordinator that I had written a novel not a script. He then told me to try my hands at writing fiction. I shrugged it off at first but one night I picked a book and a pen and wrote a novel of some sort. And I have never stopped since then.

3.  You authored your very first book, THE SUN in 2020. What is the inspiration behind it and what does it entails?

THE SUN is a story that was majorly inspired by life in general. Its about a promising girl named Dikachi. Who was born out of wedlock and dropped at the feet of her aging grandmother. The SUN is centered around my life and most of the questions I received after the book came out was, “it is your life story”, “did it happen to you”.
In the book, Dikachi was raised by her grandmother who took care of her in the best if her ability buy couldn’t do much because she was limited in her knowledge and people live or teach you based on what they understand. Technically, it’s about my life but not fully about me just a few things, no writer writer without putting a bit if themselves, so the SUN is a bit of me but not my life story.

4. ‎What is The Spoken Word Poetry Conference(S.W. P. C) about and what are the feats recorded through it?

SWPC is an event where people come together to listen to wholesome amazing poetry accompanied with music and worshipping of God through words, life and everything that comes contact with it.

‎The feats recorded; we had full halls of almost 500 people, likes of Nosa, Folabi Nuel, Gaise Baba come perform. So far, we’ve had 9 editions of consistent community and just gathering people to come hear the word of God, we have people who make SWPC their festival yearly, it’s held first Saturday of every year.

I’m really proud of what SWPC has been able to do particularly because I didn’t know it would get this far, when God told me to do a conference, I remember we didn’t even have a team, I just called a couple of guys asking if they could perform poetry, now we have a 16 man team put together that makes the conference happen. We started very small, first conference was about 30 people in attendance and the first conference was the same year I started poetry in 2014.

5. ‎ As a spoken word poet, how do you get inspiration?

I get inspiration from life, people’s experiences, my experiences, the Bible, and so many other things. I don’t see inspiration as some air that falls on us once a while. I believe that we can be inspired everyday if we are deliberate about seeing life from a place of wonder and awe.

6. What do you do at your lowest moments?

I listen to music. I sleep. I talk to Jesus about how I’m feeling.

7. You released your debut spoken word album EMERGENCE, same year you released your first book. Was it planned and how were you able to pull through the two feats?

No, it wasn’t exactly planned. I didn’t begin the year with either of those two things on my to-do-list. It truly just happened. I had written THE SUN years ago but everytime thoughts of publishing it crosses my mind, I just always developed cold feet. 2020 was just the year where I dammed it all and walked on water.
Releasing EMERGENCE was very time consuming for me. I had to write at nights a lot. Which wouldn’t have been an issue if I was going to be indoors the next day, but I had work during the day. But God filled me with an immense amount of strength and I am truly grateful to Him for that.

8. Most memorable moment while performing on stage?

I was performing a poem at this event in Lagos and a lady was crying in the hall while I performed. I made a mental note to speak to her later to perhaps give her a hug and find out what I had said that hit her that deeply. But unfortunately I forgot. Prayed for her when I remembered though. Never forgot that moment. It made me realize the impact that words can have.

9. What are the messages or themes you addressed in EMERGENCE?

Brokenness, The Lekki Masaccre, Temptations and dying to self, Worship, Competition between creatives and how unwise it is and many more.

10. What are the challenges young writers and poet face in Nigeria? Which improvement will you like to suggest?

Generally poet are not very respected in Nigeria, we have come a long way, I have to say, it’s an art form that people are gradually respecting but we still haven’t gotten to the pinnacle yet. We would get there, some of the improvement is by pulling out great content, working hard to make people realize it’s not a joke, this is serious and a beautiful art. Another issue we have which also stems from the first one that I mentioned which is the fact that we are not as respected is that because we are not as respected, we are not as paid as should. We are underpaid. Some people just think that it’s just poetry, you just write words and put it together and that’s just silly, it’s creativity the fact that I made it simple doesn’t mean it’s simple but shows that I am good at what I do.

Poets need to make demands, if you believe that what you are doing deserves this particular amount call it out. There are unique dynamics to all these things, if it’s free or paid, all I’m saying, we should demand because people don’t know.

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

I would make quality education more accessible to the poor especially at the primary and secondary School level. Emphasis on ‘quality’ though. People shouldn’t have to break the bank to get a good education. I don’t know how possible it is to get that done in a day, but it’s something I will put in the works. Maybe sign a lot of scholarships in one-day.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

Jackie Hill Perry, because of how much of an awesome poet she is. I love how ‘herself’ she is.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because of how well read she is and how she has placed Nigeria on the global map as a writer. I mean, who has 16 honorary degrees from several universities around the world if not an absolute genius. I love her complete courage in standing for what she believes to be true and damning the consequences.

TY BELLO, because of her deep connection to God and vast level of creativity. I love her.

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

It’s always hard for me to answer this question. Plus no one really knows the future. I am at a much better place than where I thought I would be 5 years ago. But, wherever I am in five years, I hope to still be pleasing Jesus. That’s the most important thing.

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?

Live like it’s your last day, love without holding back and never let fear dictate what you do or don’t do.