Defunke Adewunmi


When a Pharmacist  has a burning passion for women and children,  committed to giving hope to the hopeless, and lending her voice to the voiceless, she deserves to be celebrated. Tobore reflects what humanity should look like.

Tobore Anne Emorhokpor is the founder of Nigerian Child Protection Trust and the convener of the End Child Sexual Group. She is a leading voice in the women and child development sector.

The Cardiff University Alumni also did a virtual leadership principles course at Harvard Business school. Tobore is driven by personal development and self-improvement, and she  has emerged as a credible voice armed with a passion for getting justice for the oppressed. She loves to go beyond people’s expectations and delight them.

She is renowned for her unique style of blended mentoring, empathy and speaking up for the oppressed through her various social media channels. Her inspirational leadership, empathy and benevolence makes it easy for women and children to have a connection with her. She wants a Nigeria where women are empowered to look after themselves and their children.

She detests children being used and abused for child labour and wants a great reduction in sexual abuse and rape of women and minors.

The testament to her impact is the media mentions she has gotten for her humanitarian work and her Right Livelihood Award for outstanding role in reducing hunger, inequality and improving sustainability.

Tobore is happily married with kids. She shares her inspiring story in this interview exclusively with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence

Growing up, I witnessed the effects of abuse and cheating around me. Domestic abuse has a negative impact on children. That is why I get really upset when women say they stay for the sake of their children. This is a myth not reality.

They stay for themselves because the children suffer more in such situations. Your children cannot be happy if you are not happy. I love children dearly. I am passionate about children. I love carrying babies and playing with children. They make me so happy. I remember one time our driver beat up his 3-year-old son badly. I was so enraged. I asked my Father to deal with him. I knew I had to fight for these children that could not fight for themselves.

Inspiration behind my organisation; Nigerian child protection trust and End child sexual group

 I was coming across a lot of sad posts on Facebook about children being defiled and nothing being done about it. I eventually decided to do something. I wasn’t sure how or what I was going to do as I currently live in the UK, but I wanted to start with what I had, so I started a group on Facebook. I asked friends if they would like to join, and they did. That is how we started ‘End child sexual abuse in Nigeria’.

I would post stories of cases, some educational posts on how to protect your child and other requests for help. I also used my personal wall to ask for help. I then decided that I could act as a signpost for people.

Wherever there is a problem in Nigeria, I will find the closest Human rights officer, NGO, or Government Organisation to help. I was not going to change the world and make as much change as I could. I wanted to become the voice for these children.

Being a Pharmacist by profession, and the impact on my advocacy for women and children

I started off as a pharmacist and practised in the UK and Nigeria, then I decided to branch into Human Resources. I currently work as a Workforce Planning Lead. I enjoy planning and putting in processes. This helps me in how I deal with the cases that I work on. I speak with each person to find out what they currently do, how they got into the situation they are in, and how they can get out. It’s not a pity party but a way to plan their way out of their problems. I feel very proud when women I have helped turn around and help others up. I am very proud of the women I have helped.

The journey since I started my Organisation

The journey has been tough but very rewarding. When women come to me for help, I would ask what they can do and try to start up small businesses for them so they can be self-sufficient. Some people just want someone to talk to. I spend time chatting with them to understand the situation and give the best advice I can. I am so happy with what we have achieved together in such a short time. I didn’t know what I would really be doing but my social media pages have brought succour to many and I thank God for that.

The spike in cases of domestic violence and rape since the beginning of the pandemic

In the past, abusers would go to work or to school and leave the home environment and return at the end of the day. Due to the lockdown, there was no room for escape. Emotions were heightened. People lost jobs and hardship increased. This added stress to an already burning pot and resulted in a huge increase in the number of cases of violence. Poverty breeds ignorance.

Challenges of being a women’s advocate 

The people I am trying to help sometimes lie and try to scam me. One of these women showed me a prescription and lied that she needed to buy the medications on it for 3 weeks for her baby.

Unfortunately for her, I know how to read a prescription and I told her no Doctor would tell her to do that. She started stuttering and saying it’s the hospital. I was scammed by another lady who got people to act and do videos requesting help as a trick to get money from me and other unsuspecting kind-hearted people.

We also have the Police who sometimes take bribes and let culprits go. We then have to use social media to call them out to get them to do the right thing. Victims and their families are sometimes scared about reporting crimes and refuse for us to help them seek justice when they have been harmed or wronged.

I have had a few cases where people tell me about situations of abuse then grow cold feet and refuse to go further. No matter how I try to encourage them to tell the truth and speak out, fear of being known as the whistle blower does not allow them to help victims.

There is a man who lures boys with gifts and passes them about in a paedophile ring. The sister of one of the boys approached me for help then later recanted because her parents told her to ‘leave it to God’. Another person contacted me about a school in Lagos where the Principal rapes young girls in his care but then refused to give me proof when they realised the school might be involved in the case.

Other projects and activities

When covid first struck, there were a lot of families that were left without any food and money. The first post I made was to ask ‘who has 5k to spare for a family in need’. People responded and I paired givers with recipients. Others saw what I was doing, and the finances poured in.

We bought bags of rice and shared them out to people in Warri, Port Harcourt and Ilorin. I used my Facebook wall to raise money to pay rent, start up small businesses for the women so they can renew the next year’s rent. We paid for surgeries, medicines, school fees and everything else in between.

I have posted job adverts so people can get jobs and a few kind people have offered free sewing courses and other types of training for people on my wall for free or for a little sum.

We paid for a few caesarean sections and have helped pay the bills for women who have ended up as hostages in hospitals as they were unable to pay their huge medical bills. I remember when I was called about a woman whose baby had died inside her and was rotting and there was no money to pay a deposit to do the emergency c-section. I put it on my wall and within half an hour we had raised the deposit to start the surgery.

We ended up raising over 500,000 Naira for her medical treatment which lasted a while.

 What I enjoy about my job

I enjoy helping people. That is what makes me happy. I like seeing everyone around me happy and smiling. In every job I have done, that is what has kept me satisfied and motivated.

3 women who inspire me and why

First, my Mum; She has worked hard and tirelessly to give us a good life. She is the most hard working and innovative woman I know. She is dogged and never gives up.

Defunke Adewumi – She has a heart for women and children. I saw the love, care and humility in her post and knew I must be her friend. She has supported me in many ways and continues to be a beacon for women and children in Nigeria.

Michelle Obama – A Queen!

The Nigerian Government and it’s support for the Gender Based Violence sector

So far, I have seen that Lagos state has taken the fight against rape seriously. I believe all other states need to follow suit. There should be special Police Officers trained on how to handle such cases and special courts to fast track such cases through.

There needs to be adequate shelters to house victims and survivors. There should also be programmes put together to help them recover psychologically and help them start up business or get jobs and reintegrate into society. All states need to adopt the Child Rights Act and make sure children are protected from exploitation either sexually or via labour. Every child has a right to good education and a good life free from abuse.

Work life balance

It is quite difficult, and I have to keep reminding myself I cannot do it all. The requests for help are more than I can handle, and each one rips through the heart chords. It is especially sad for me each time I turn some people away, but I have to do so. I try to get some time to myself, and I also work on spending lots of time with my children. They are quite young and need a lot of my time right now. I try to maintain a good balance.

One thing I wish I could change in the Gender Based Violence Sector  

There needs to be a budget to support women and children who are victims of all forms of abuse. Shelters should be built to house them while working on helping them to integrate back into society. Children who are found to be child labourers in homes, can be taken away and given better lives rather than waiting for them to be abused and degraded by their mean bosses. Their only crime is being born into poverty.

Receiving the right livelihood award in 2021 for reducing hunger

I was excited and grateful for being recognized. The work is done out of love, but it is nice to know my peers see it as something commendable.

Being  a woman of Rubies

I am a woman using my abilities to help make a change and impact the world around me.

With the fast spread of Covid19 and indefinite Lockdown, Nigerians are getting agitated and many worried on where the next meal will come from. One thing that has proven that Nigerians are one of the kindest people in the world is the show of love from many people, especially these women on Facebook.

They have taken it upon themselves to support people in dire need this season, from making a call for donation for widows to giving single moms relief packages between 5-10k and more, or just food support.

They are literally giving hope to the hopeless and standing up for the vulnerable.

If you or anyone need help this season, kindly follow any of them and you might just be one of the lucky people to benefit from their benevolence.

Josephine Effah-Chukwuma

A leading activist on gender based violence and women’s human rights in Nigeria. Josephine Effah – Chukwuma pioneered the establishment of shelter for female victims of violence in Nigeria and is the Executive Director of Project Alert on Violence Against Women, a nongovernmental organization that provides information on various forms of violence against women and support services to victims in Nigeria. Few days ago she teamed up with Nollywood Actress Kate Henshaw and other well meaning Nigerians to raise N1M for 100 women in dire need in the lockdown states, she is currently rolling out funds to the beneficiaries.

It is very likely more funds will be raised and they will be able to touch more lives. If you need soft cash to get by, follow her.

Yinka Ogunde

Founder of Concerned Parents and Educators Initiative (CPE) and the CEO of Edumark Consult, a leading consultancy firm in the Nigerian education space. Having worked for over a decade with different stakeholders in education, Yinka Ogunde realised that any effective and lasting solution to the question of education in Nigeria would have to involve all stakeholders in education. It would not be a case of just government intervention or private sector intervention or citizen revolution.

Yinka Ogunde then reasoned that for this whole-sector powered solution to ever see the light of day, all parties would need a meeting point. This meeting point is what turned out to be CPE. An organisation that has given hope to several people in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. From supporting single mums, to widows and also teachers who are greatly affected by this Pandemic. CPE has been a ray of light for many Nigerians in dire need amid the lockdwon period.

Olufunmilayo Odunaike

If you want to know the positive impact of social.media, please go on Olufunmilayo Odunaike wall on Facebook , this beautiful woman who recently turned 40 have been tagged “Mother Theresa” of Facebook, from helping sick kids raise funds to connecting those in need to donors, not to mention her recent Facebook giveaway lockdown challenge that saw people winning between. 20 – 100k. She is always doing something to give back and throwing in some positive light in the world. See one of major giveback post here

Defunke Adewunmi

Adefunke Adewumi, the founder of Black Diamonds Support Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports and empower women especially widows and single mothers, she is well known in the slums ving hope, medical, wellbeing and educational support to indigents children, across the country. She speaks against domestic violence, rape, child abuse and molestation.Her popularity soar high with her annual outreach, tagged “Project 5000”, a project she kicked off after the death of her philanthropist mum who died seven years ago. The initiative went viral on Facebook when she fed 5000 indigents children during Christmas and also supported them with basic school needs The single mum of twins who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Counselling from University of Ado Ekiti and Master’s of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Benue State university Makurdi.

Defunke is passionate to see both children and adult live their potentials to maximum capabilities. She has continously use her platform to support vulnerable persons in the society. Her most recent effort has been targeted towards raising funds for people who are highly affected by the lockdown, especially single parent in dire need.

Olori Ranti Ajayi

Olori Oluranti Ajayi is the founder of Womanhood with Olori Ajayi Foundation. It was founded on June 1st 2018. It was created as a Not for Profit organization (NGO) aimed at reaching out to the less priviledged in society.

Through her orgnaisation; Womanhood , she has been able to successfully impact lives of the less priviledged with several charity and philantrophic gestures, and has supported so many women and their families since the lockdown started.

Folusho Liasu

Mofoluwasho Monisola Liasu is a Lagos based practising lawyer. She attended the University of Lagos, Akoka where she bagged a first degree in law and thereafter proceeded to bag an additional post graduate degree in International law and diplomacy. Folusho runs a thriving lingerie business (Posh Lingerie) which caters to the intricate needs of ladies. Folusho being very humane, is passionate about humanity, widows, special needs children, physically challenged and cancer survivors. Her interest in this special category of people stems from their inability to meet their basic needs, thereby leaving their survival at the mercy of philanthropists and willful givers. Her advocacy is publicised majorly on her Super Parent Facebook page where her passion is seen through all known conventional means to source for funds and generate awareness for the groups’ often pitiable plight and weary conditions. She has given hope to special persons in need since the lockdown started, and even advocated for them through other platforms.

Yetunde Morenikeji Raji

Yetunde you would think she has it all going well for her till you hear her story. Her zeal and optimism seems to be her secret weapon. She became an amputee same day she lost her husband in a fatal accident that almost took her life. .It was as if her life has been cut short. She rose from the ashes of the adversity and took responsibility for her life. She survived that dark phase in her life and now using her story to advocate for amputees and touch lives through her organisation YAAR. She has helped raise money for the vulnerable and downtrodden since the beginning of the lockdown.

Patricia Nwanyioma Sparkle

The Nigerian born, American based Nurse and blogger has consistently used her platform to give back to people in need. From giving single mums soft cash to raising funds for families in need. Sparkle as she is fondly called by her friends has given hope to many during the lockdown.

Angela Nwosu

The philanthropist has given hope to many through her Facebook page, she has shown love and compassion to her diligent followers who call themselves “AngieNation” by supporting them with funds and giving them hope.

Adebukola Crowngold

Founder, Givers Arena. In its three years of existence, her organisation has succeeded in putting smiles on the faces of individuals and communities by meeting specific needs ranging from provison of community borehole, payment of childrens school fees and empowering widows with stipends to either start a trade or boost existing ones. She has also been very supportive during the lockdown.

Cynthia Valerian Raphaels

The Customer service personnel, Marriage guardian and Women’s advocate have shown her followers and Facebook users the power of humanity and beauty of benevolence since the lockdown started.

….and of course yours truly Esther Ijewere , I do my bit via our Women of Rubies & Men Who Inspire Facebook and Instagram pages, plus my personal wall but this post isn’t about me.

These women have put smiles on many faces and given hope to the most vulnerable and I celebrate them, you should too.

How are you coping with the #StayHome, I would love to read from you. Let me know in the comment.

Esther Ijewere™©

On August 18, Esther Ijewere, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Rubies Ink Initiative, posted a picture of her makeup free face with a hairnet on her head, with a goofy caption to promote self love.

See post below:


The goofy post apparently didn’t sit well with a ‘concerned’ Facebook follower who believed a ‘woman of class’ shouldn’t be posting a picture with hairnet, so she sent a lengthy message to rebuke Esther.

See the message below:

I woke up to this 👇👇👇 in my Inbox. I removed the names of the people she mentioned to avoid conflict.

“Esther I have been seeing your post and to be candid I am highly disappointed in you and I have to bear my mind as someone who I’ve been following you for at least 8 years.

Your last post with the Hair net comes in very bad taste for woman of class. I wanted to reach out last week as well when you posted about the Fuji guy and wondered if your account had been hacked , then I saw you responding to comments.

This is very disappointing for a women’s advocate. Please pull down the photo and picture. People like ××××××××× won’t do this. Go on their timeline and see what they share daily to Inspire other women.

I just felt I should say this as I have been bothered, even had to talk to ×××××××× since you seem close to her and asked her to pass the message.

Have a good evening dear.”

That message inspired the #HairnetChallenge. Esther created a plot twist out of the message by launching the #HairnetChallenge to preach self love and encourage women to be themselves.

With the likes of Patricia Nwanyioma Sparkle, Defunke Adewunmi, Rahmatallahi Muh Awwal, and Olasunkanmi Momooreoluwa championing the Challenge by posting pictures of them wearing their hairnets, more people were encouraged to upload pictures of them proudly wearing their hairnets.

See photos below:

Patricia Nwanyioma Sparkle


Olasunkanmi Momooreoluwa


Rahmatallahi Muh Awwal


A man also particiapated on behalf of his girlfriend


Omolabake Bode Matthew, Bims Oreofe, Defunke Adewunmi, Sparkle Diva, Patricia Nwanyioma Sparkle, and other anonymous donors, all donated rewards in cash and kind to winners of the #HairnetChallenge.

At the end of the challenge, Kehinde Bukola won with 131 Facebook likes. 2nd winner was Ononye Lauretta Onyeka, and the 3rd winner was Blessing Awulotu Felix. The winners all got their rewards in cash and kind.


At the end of the Challenge, a whole lot of women were left feeling more proud of and loving themselves the more, which was the sole purpose of the Challenge.

Adefunke Adewumi, the founder of Black Diamonds Support Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports and empower women especially widows and single mothers, she is well known in the slums giving hope, medical, wellbeing and educational support to indigents children, across the country. She speaks against domestic violence, rape, child abuse and molestation.

Her popularity soar high with her annual outreach, tagged “Project 5000”, a project she kicked off after the death of her philanthropist mum who died seven years ago. The initiative went viral on Facebook when she fed 5000 indigents children during Christmas and also supported them with basic school needs

The single mum of twins who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Counselling from University of Ado Ekiti and Master’s of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Benue State university Makurdi also works with an oil and gas firm in Lagos, and also into Fabrics Retailing.

Defunke is passionate to see both children and adult live their potentials to maximum capabilities, she shares her story with me in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

My childhood prepared me because I grew up seeing my late mother, Funmilayo Adewumi, as a philanthropist who cared for indigent children, widows, orphans; feeding them, taking them off the street by providing shelter for them and sponsoring them in school. She ensured that I parted with most of my things (food, shoes, cloths, bags, toys etc) to give to the less privilege and other children that cannot afford it. She denied me the luxury of life, it used to be painful initially but I got use to it. Christmas period is a carnival of sort because my mother will gather those street kids to organize party for them and make them feel like every other children.

Black Diamonds Support Foundation
The foundation, was a legacy foundation, that was established to continue from where my late mum stopped, however, she limited her philanthropy gestures to her local community, we took a step further to be a foundation that impact the lives of the less privileged, especially, women, children, the foundation has six active departments, namely: WATARA: Walk and Talk against Rape and Abuse, Project 5000 kids: Feeding indigent 5000 children during festive periods
Slums/Shanties Outreach, Medical Interventions/Emergencies, Pick A child Project/GirlChild Education Sensitization and Support for Teenage pregnant mums/babies

Inspiration behind “Project 5000”
Project 5000 was inspired after my mother’s death 7 years ago and for the first time in so long there was no party for the children. My family has been used to feeding and caring for the poor in our immediate community, so I decided to continue doing what she does and even more. I started small and ever since inception it has been growing yearly, the initial number was 500 kids and later 1000 kids. Last year I took a bold step to increase the number to 5000 indigent kids which includes the homeless, orphans and the vulnerable and it was a huge success.
Project 5000 kids is not just about feeding the children, though they were fed twice due to the long duration of the event. The children were given free medical care, school materials – bags, books, stationeries, cloths and even scholarships. It was a carnival atmosphere with lots of music and dancing to make it a memorable experience.

Who and What inspire me
The lifestyle of my late mother that I grew up to know, giving and volunteering in her philanthropic causes inspires me. Picking an homeless child inspires me, seeing an indigent child doing well in school, seeing a sick indigent child been well. Hoping that all children have equal access to quality education, free health care and total wellbeing for them to achieve their potentials without any hindrances.

WATARA -Speaking up for victims of Rape
It is an on-going project and a department under Black Diamonds Support Foundation. The meaning of WATARA is Walk And Talk Against Rape and Abuse, we are in 15 states in Nigeria at the moment. What we do basically is to speak against rape that has been in the increase in recent past, we counsel victims of rape through our counselling unit with experts and professional counselors. We also provide support for victims to get justice by facilitating arrest, detention and prosecution rapists. WATARA has since August 2017 embarked on sensitization walk all over major cities in Nigeria, this campaign has also being taking to schools to sensitize children to be aware of ways to prevent being a victim of rape and abuse. What we plan to do for year 2018 is to open up more counselling for rape vicitms, get justice for them by prosecuting more perpetrators of rape victims and bring them to book.

Challenges of running my foundation
Getting financial aid and material aid supports in ensuring success in our events, Archaic dangerous cultural norms , Patriarchy system of the indigents that forbids the girl-child education, Repeated Trainings and sensitization on health, education and general safety of themselves and children, and it seems they are adamant on their old ways of lives/mentality

Black diamonds support foundation in five years
We hope to have covered all the states in Nigeria and almost all West African countries; Benin Republic is in the pipeline at the moment. In 5 years time we hope to have our Homes for victims of rape and four skill acquisition centre for widows, the indigents, and the teenagers who used to live on the streets. We hope to have completed our home for the street babies, children and teenagers ( which include, a block of flat, a school and a well equipped clinic for them). Then the Project 5000 would have been established in the six regions of Nigeria as well as other departments the foundation is known for.

Women in advocacy and development
We are been misconstrued of our intention to meet other people’s need. People rather see us as competition meanwhile we ought to be collaborators. Some even believe we are trying to take over the responsibilities of the government. Genuine advocacy is that we are not been discourage by what people say or think but we really know what we want to achieve and we set out to achieve them. Whether we are been appreciated or not is not the main thing but ensuring that we succeed in any advocacy we set out to do.

Giving up
Yes. There are moments I feel overwhelmed, about the enormous work that is out there that we have to do, even though I know we cannot “save the world” but the fact that I consciously know there is much to do out there and little resources to get them done,, makes me cry and almost throwing in the towel, but this happens in the spur of the moment, next moment, am up again, and ensuring, gearing up our selfless volunteers, that we cannot give up now.

Being a single mom and working two jobs’

This is where I know that we carry so much strength in us, that we do not ever know, prior to my mum’s death, if I was told I can do all these things, I will scorn such a person. My inner strength came to play when I realized that all these; my job, my kids, my passion are all important to me in fulfilling purpose, I handle all with grace, and my mantra: Whatever will be be, taking each day as it comes, and making the best use of my time. To add to the list of my daily schedule, I run an online bridal asooke business as well.

Being a woman of Rubies
I am priceless, I take every challenge as a stepping stone towards greatness, I never give up. No setbacks,hurdles can stop me, once my mind is made up to do what I want to do for humanitarian purposes.

To those who are hopeless…
Never give up, pick up whatever you think you have failed, be it education, relationships, career, whatever, give it another shot. We Only fail when we accept the failure.