woman of rubies


Fola Adegoke is the founder and lead Career Coach at Winfinite Consulting. She is a trailblazer in the field of Cybersecurity & IT Audit training. With a passion for empowering professionals and a comprehensive understanding of career challenges and opportunities. With her expertise and passion, Fola has become a trusted guide and inspiration for professionals seeking success in cybersecurity. Her journey is a testament to the power of determination, knowledge, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams.

In this article, we will explore Fola’s remarkable journey, the inspiration behind Winfinite Consulting, and how her immigration to Canada four years ago transformed her life.

Fola Winfinite Consulting

Early Influences

Fola’s childhood laid the foundation for her current career. Growing up in a loving and supportive environment, she nurtured a thirst for learning and problem-solving. Her talkative nature and communication skills developed during lively conversations with family and friends, unknowingly shaping her future role as a Cybersecurity Career Coach. Fola’s dreams of becoming an Engineer instilled her with a passion for critical thinking and puzzle-solving—essential qualities in the cybersecurity industry.

The Birth of Winfinite Consulting

Her strong desire to promote diversity and equality in the industry led her to establish Winfinite Consulting. Witnessing the struggles faced by immigrants in finding rewarding jobs due to non-recognition of qualifications, she leveraged her expertise in Cybersecurity and IT Audit to guide and empower them. Fola’s guidance became highly sought after, driving her to create Winfinite Consulting as a platform to empower individuals from all backgrounds. The goal was to provide practical, hands-on training that would prepare aspiring professionals for the challenges they would face in the cybersecurity industry.

The Journey of Winfinite Consulting

Since its inception, Winfinite Consulting has experienced remarkable growth and success. Fola’s coaching approach, centered around individual aspirations and development, has empowered numerous professionals to transition into high-demand cybersecurity careers. The positive impact of Winfinite Consulting is evident in the success stories of individuals who have unlocked hidden potential and secured rewarding jobs. Fola’s expertise as a thought leader, trainer, and speaker has garnered recognition and earned her nominations for prestigious awards.

Challenges in the Cybersecurity Landscape

Fola encounters various challenges in her line of work. Keeping pace with the ever-evolving threat landscape requires constant upskilling and staying updated on industry trends and regulations. Bridging the skills gap and addressing the talent shortage in the cybersecurity industry is another significant challenge. Fola strives to attract and nurture diverse talent by providing practical training that prepares students for real-world challenges. Balancing security and usability is an ongoing endeavor that requires innovative approaches and a deep understanding of both security principles and practical usability.

Inspiring Women in Cybersecurity

Fola’s work has become a beacon of inspiration for women in the field. By breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes, she showcases that gender is not a limitation in pursuing a successful career in the male-dominated cybersecurity industry. Fola actively promotes the inclusion of women, sharing her knowledge and experiences to motivate them to embrace their skills and passions in this exciting domain. Her journey and positive impact serve as inspiration for other women to believe in themselves, overcome challenges, and make their mark in cybersecurity.

Other Projects and Activities

In addition to her work at Winfinite Consulting, Fola is currently focused on automating processes to enhance efficiency as the company continues to grow. For example, she is implementing a Learning Management System to streamline onboarding.

Fola Winfinite Consulting

Enjoying the Journey

Fola finds great joy in meeting new people, learning new things, and keeping up with evolving threats and risks. The combination of fulfillment and excitement that her work brings is a constant source of motivation. Guiding individuals with no prior experience to achieve their goals in cybersecurity, witnessing their transformation.

Empowering Change

As a Woman of Rubies, Fola embodies the qualities of strength, resilience, and compassion. She has overcome numerous obstacles throughout her career, displaying unwavering determination and tenacity in carving a successful path. Sarah’s commitment to driving positive change extends beyond her own achievements. As a Career Coach and trainer, she dedicates herself to empowering others, especially women, to succeed in the face of adversity. She firmly believes in the power of diversity and inclusivity, and she actively works towards creating opportunities for underrepresented individuals in the cybersecurity sector.

Inspiring the Next Generation

To young women aspiring to enter the cybersecurity sector, Fola has a powerful message: believe in yourself and embrace your unique strengths and perspectives. She emphasizes the importance of constant learning and challenging oneself in a dynamic industry like cybersecurity. She encourages aspiring professionals to seek mentors and supportive communities that can guide and inspire them on their journey. She firmly believes that every individual has the ability to make a positive impact and contribute to the cybersecurity landscape.

Mrs. Deborah Adebola Fasoyin is the leader of the renowned Good Women Choir which has been in existence for over 40 years and noted for sonorous hits such as Halleluyah and Odun Nlo Sopin. In this interview, the septuagenarian speaks about the music group, family and other things.


I am a native of Oyo town and the youngest child and only girl of six children so I have five brothers. For my elementary education, I attended Saint Andrews Demonstration School, Oyo, although I didn’t finish from there because my father; being an illiterate felt there was no need to educate the girl-child since she will end up in the kitchen. My brothers therefore took me to Jos so that I could continue my education. I spent one year there, another in Ogbomosho and Lagos. They were just passing me on so that I would not stay in Oyo and my parents would not spoil me. I ended up finishing my primary school in Lalupon, near Ibadan. I went to primary school in five different towns. I thereafter went to Anglican Girls’ Modern School, Oritamefa, Ibadan and after my first year there, nobody could send me to school again so I had to go and teach for a year in a village in Oyo Town before I came to Lagos and joined Kingsway Stores where I spent 29 years as a sales clerk before I retired. However, when I got married, I had to go and meet my husband in Ibadan, so you can say that fate brought me back to the town. Luckily too, I had all my children before Good Women Choir started.

Establishment of Good Women Choir

Let me start by saying it is Christ that leads the choir, not me. It is just a privilege that I am the leader. Good Women Choir started way back with the Christ Apostolic Church, Ibadan and prior to 1975, they were known as the Good Women Association which was a gathering of women in the church. If your spouse is a member of CAC, automatically, you are a member of the association as a woman. Every year, we hold conventions in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and other places. I was an Anglican before I married my husband who is a member of the CAC. The problem we had then was that when we arrived in any town, it was always difficult to get a choir to sing and make us feel relaxed. Consequently, in 1975, when we came back from Kano, the Good Women Association decided that we should have our own choir. An announcement was made in all branches of the church that every branch should send two educated members who are interested in music to make up the Central choir. We gathered and we were about 100 plus at the time and started practising. I was already a member of the choir in the Anglican Church before I joined the CAC Eleta where I continued. I was one of the people sent to the Central Choir. Before each convention, we tell our members to read the Bible, pray and bring songs. We’ll look through and as led by the spirit, choose from the compositions. At a stage, we were told that we could wax a record.


Leading the group

It was divine intervention because up till date, it frightens me. When we had the first anniversary of the Good Women Choir, I arrived at the church, saw the pamphlet which read, “Leader-D.A. Fasoyin.’’ I nearly fainted because no one called to tell me that I would be the leader.  I felt that every member of the group at the time was qualified and could lead. I was singing soprano and we had alto and tenor singers as well. I was really surprised, so it was really God’s intervention.

Interest in Music

That’s the miracle because my parents were illiterates. One day, in church, we wanted to have our harvest and the choir was to sing. I was only 10 years old and I had been exposed to music. Someone was asked to dance in a particular way. I think it was called Rhumba dance and this girl simply refused to learn. As an onlooker, I told them that, ‘‘Look, I can do this.’’ I did it so well and became a member of the choir at age 10. This was fuelled by the fact that I had personal interest in singing and the interesting thing is that all my brothers (I’m the youngest of six children and only girl) were organists and singers and they encouraged me to explore my musical side.


The only challenge that I can remember vividly was after recording our third release; Mon Woju Re Olorun Mi, one of us; a tenor singer was asked to come out of the group to lead.

New faction

We went to God in prayer on the mountain and told Him that if what happened was His will, He should help them to continue because the ultimate is to change lives but if their mission is to bring us down, He should intervene. Of course, people were deceived. Many bought the factional albums because they thought that it was released by us so there was some kind of confusion but later, after the third album, they knew the difference and stopped buying their albums. Some of your classical hits in the group include Halleluyah, Odun Nlo Sopin among others. Did you commission songwriters to write the lyrics perhaps?

Our system of composition is different from others because it is a group. Whenever we want to go into the studio, we assemble and tell our members that we want to go for another release and everybody should bring what they have composed. We will bring them together and by the spirit of God, we would look at which ones can make the next release. After doing that, we keep other compositions for the next album.




I am just 77 years old and I am so glad that after all these years, we are still relevant as a group because you can imagine a group that took a break for 10 years, came back and people still accepted them; it’s amazing and it’s a miracle. I am so happy within me that I am still useful for God because I am now a member of Daystar Christian Centre where I am the President of the Golden Mothers, which is for those who are 50 years and above.

Receiving Royalties

Yes we do and we share it even among deceased members’ families because they worked for it. We were scared of collecting it initially because of what God had told us and said we didn’t want to collect still. We told our manager to help us buy instruments so that anywhere we go, we won’t have to borrow. When Odun Nlo Sopin started bringing in money, we told him that we needed a bus.  These days, those who go into gospel music expect quick money. I often tell people who come to me for advice that, ‘If you know that you want to propagate the gospel, don’t think about money.’’ Seek the anointing first, then money will follow. If you think about the money first, your album may do well in the market but it won’t last and that’s the truth but if you have the mind-set of spreading the gospel in your heart, things will work. Youths of today want quick money and rush to the studio to record an album. When it comes out, it doesn’t even have substance. You cannot blame most of them, there are no jobs after they leave school.

Originator of  Odun Nlo Sopin?

Thank you for that question, it is actually a CAC composition which dates back to the early 1940s. It was a hymn that was sung at the end of each year by all CAC churches but we added only two verses to the original composition so one can’t really say who wrote it but many have said that we made it famous and we thank God for that. We also recorded the song, Gbakoso(Take Charge) during the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida which reflected what was going on in the country at that time.

Family Support

My second son is our manager now and my two daughters have also joined the choir.

Me Time

I read the Bible and pray.

What I want to be remembered for

I want to be remembered as one who touched lives. I feel fulfilled when I hear people listening to Odun Nlo Sopin over the years. I also want to finish strong and empty before I go and meet my creator.


Source: PUNCH

Eniola Akinbo, known by her stage name Niyola, was born on December 9, 1985 in Lagos state, Nigeria. The female Nigerian recording artist, singer, songwriter and performer developed interests in music at a very early age and sand in church with her siblings.
Her interest in music piqued and she ventured into music in 2000 and she was the runner up in Amen Starlet Competition,2000. 2005 brought a new turn as she decided to go professional with her music. Her breakthrough came with her single ‘toh bad’ which was released in 2013 under EME label.
She has since won awards as the female artist of the year by Nigeria Entertainment Award in 2014 and 2014 Headies award as Best Vocal Performance. With a voice that is so rich and unique, and an impeccable sense of fashion, Niyola is a force to reckon with in the Nigerian Entertainment industry.


Fatima Askira is the founder of Borno Women Development Initiative; a Maiduguri-based NGO working with women victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in Internally Displaced Persons camps and host communities in Borno state. In a chat with with Women of Rubies , the 26 year old graduate of Botany speaks about her efforts of alleviating the sufferings of the women, most of whom have lost their husbands

Growing up with a Passion
Actually no. I grew up with an ambition to be a medical doctor, unfortunately, growing up, I find things changing and I start to develop passion through looking at how people live, from their day to day activities especially from the poor perspectives. I really do not have an idea of how or what I want to do with that, but I feel I should do something.

Meet Fatima
Fatima Askira was born and brought up in Maiduguri, I attended my primary education in Maiduguri, Secondary school at F.G.G.C Potiskum, Yobe state and University of Maiduguri, where i studied Biological science, Botany. She single living with her family in Maiduguri. From this little background, you will understand that my childhood didn’t in anyway prepare for the work I am currently doing now. But growing up, life changes its faces and then, one has to make a choice of being who is.

Inspiration Behind Borno Women Development Initiative
Borno Women Development Initiative was inspired by my passion to protect/support women and make them independent. As a result of insurgency, people from surrounding towns and villages of Maiduguri found themselves fleeing from their homes, into the state capital (Maiduguri). My observation at the time was, the majority of the people coming in were women and children, and they come in half covered, because they had to run for their lives. This situation made posed for a second to think of a way I can be of help to these vulnerable women. Then, IDPs mostly lived in an under-resourced camp, before the camps become official. I started to collect clothes from family and friends to donate to some of the displaced women and their children. With the help of a social media campaign, my charity drive took a turn from a small-scale local collection into a national volunteer network which brought about many people reaching out to me to donate clothes, toiletries and food to the internally displaced persons from across Nigeria. As a result of the network I was building, I felt the need to formalize the process, so that people will feel safe, and through the process access wider network of support. Then I started an organization “Borno Women Development Initiative’ (BOWDI).

Rehabilitating the women
Rehabilitation and Reintegration is quite a difficult program to run, especially looking at it critically from challenges of stigmatization and fear in our communities today, but if you hold to your mission, gradually you get to a point where you convince people to accept reality. In some cases, it has been successful as some of the women were reintegrated into camps, and those who are successfully returned back to their communities. But in other cases, some of these women are still being kept safe in isolation, until further arrangements are made for reintegration.

Activities of BOWDI
BOWDI is currently running many projects like; 1. mitigating and preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) within camps and communities around MMC, Jere, Konduga and Mafa Local Government Areas of Borno State. The consequences of every war has its negative effects on the society, as a result, young girls, boys and women are vulnerable to all acts of violence . Child labour, rape, exploitation, domestic violence and many more are few to mention among many other effects. Therefore, BOWDI felt the need to protect the vulnerable groups through sensitization and educating these groups by conducting interactive sessions focusing on effects and ways to protect themselves from falling victims of abuses, we also provide them with the referral pathways to report all cases and get medical and all forms of support for victims. After every Session, we provide them with basic materials for their immediate needs. 2. BOWDI is running 24 non-formal learning centers in Konduga Local Government Area, under education intervention, providing access to education for children, Adolescent girls and youth. From this particular project, I believe that it is not the people who do not want to go to school, but it is lack of access, or necessary teaching and learning facilities. 3. BOWDI is also economically empowering 833 women with business startups as Small Loan Associations across Mafa LGA.

Like every organization, BOWDI apply for funds through call for proposals and expression of interest by donor agencies, Previously, when the capacity of the organization was very low, we solicit for donations from individuals, philanthropists, etc. through fund raising activities and distribution of fliers in various communities, within and outside Maiduguri, and with my personal income to sustain the organization.

Award and Recognition
Over the years, the smile on the faces of those I helped had been my greatest reward. Until recently when I was awarded a peace award by the 2face foundation together with couple of other peace workers across Nigeria.

Being a Young Woman from the Northeast
Some of the challenges I have faced through this work was how to start and moving forward, especially being a young woman from the Northeast, it was very difficult for me trying to get people support the process, as most people initially thought it will not work out. I had to prove that determination leads to success by trying and trying harder until I was successful. Another Challenge is in trying to finance some of the organization’s activities at the beginning.

If I have an Audience with the President
If I have an opportunity to ask the President one thing on behalf of these women, I will request on their behalf for a social investment platform created specifically for their benefits, a project that is sustainable which would exist from gov’t to gov’t. Some of these women are young girls that happened to be victims of early marriage, some of them have a bright future, some can be enrolled back to schools, some are business oriented, they can be supported with startups, some have already existing skills, they can be supported with basic equipment for support. Such platform I am requesting on their behalf will serve both as empowerment and a method to prevent violent extremism in our communities, especially now that we have thousands of unaccompanied children, roaming on our streets because their female parents cannot afford to cater for all their needs.

Support from Nigerians
To be honest, Nigerians have been supportive to our people, but to be precise about the women, there haven’t been specificity in looking at their situation. I can say this may have happened because of the overwhelming situation of insurgency in the region, which left everyone in need of support. But, for these women, i personally feel there is need for a special intervention and support from everyone, especially our women representatives both in government and private entities. I was hoping to see a movement from women all over the country standing out to bring smiles and hope to the faces of these broken women. I am still yearning to see such and optimistic that women all over the world would realize the need to assist.

I am a Woman of Rubies Inside Out
I grew up looking at successful women and hoping to be like them somedays, but in a way I define my success as the ability to touch the lives of the less privileged in a way no matter how little, put a smile on a woman’s face. Even though, I am not only inclined to women, BUT I give them a priority because I see them as a backbone of development that are always neglected or sidelined, and therefore, the society suffered from the consequences of leaving them idle. My work to inspire women and build them into independent/resourceful women, and also a role model to most young women makes me a ‘woman of rubies’.

Advice to Women
I would love to close by telling all women around the world that, we all are responsible for our growth, We are responsible in making our societies prosperous and violent free by empowering and supporting each other through our little different ways. Also, we have to form a bond of sharing our innovations and ideas which i believe will help us transform each other and build more on our individual work in our various fields and communities. And lastly, for our elderly women to consider young girl’s contributions and carry them along as we may have great ideas to share.

Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo is a journalist, teacher, food artist, and baby food blogger, the founder of August secrets, a baby/kid friendly Nigerian food blog, aimed at making kids’ meals fun, simple, and healthy. Toyin Onigbanjo was also the 2nd runner up at Samsung Food art Competition in May. Read her inspiring interview with Women of Rubies.

I think my childhood prepared me for this I am doing today because I have always loved to draw cartoons and tell stories. Everyone in Federal Government Staff School Sokoto knew my sister and I for drawing cartoons, writing stories and also leading at cooking sessions. I have always loved the art of cooking.

Meet me
My name is Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, a wife, a mother, a journalist, a recipe developer and a children food blogger. I have a B.A in English and Literature, and Masters in Public and International Affairs, but my passion and purpose in life is anything that has to do with the welfare of children and the family. As a single lady, I used to run a club, Treasures Kiddies Club just for children in my neighbourhood.

Inspiration behind August Secrets
As a new mother, I bought 3 full bags of jar purees for my son, but he refused to eat them until I made local foods like Ground Rice with carrots. I realise there are so many mothers going through the same problems of feeding their children the appropriate complementary foods. This is my inspiration for August Secrets.

Like I said earlier, I have always loved to draw and do art with food. I just had to incorporate art into my child’s food to make it more attractive for him, and it has been working. I also do food-art with other adult-related foods

Projects and activities
I am working on having my mini food manufacturing company/outlet in future. My greatest short term dream for now is to be able to advocate and raise funds to take food to children in the IDP camps and other war-prone zones.

On giving up
Yes, because it is not easy at all. I have cried many times to sleep. The only thing that keeps me is the joy I derive from moms who use my recipes and their child eats better.

Greatest reward
The greatest reward I have received is the prayers of mothers who consult me for recipes and foods. I get heartfelt prayers on my mail everyday! After the doctor/nutritionist have prescribed foods for their babies, the next issue is how to cook the foods, and that is where I come in.

Samsung Food art Competition experience
It was a great experience because I dined with great people in the food and art industry. I thank God for those who encouraged me to put in my entry for the competition.

The greatest challenge has been getting people to assist you with information and the next step to take, I had to source for everything myself. Nobody sees the background work that goes into a successful venture. Another challenge also is combining my day’s job with my passion to help mothers. It is really a tough one.

To aspiring bloggers
Find what you love. Work hard. Follow the process, don’t look for shortcuts or try to out rightly copy someone who has been toiling long before you. Seek counsel. Always be open to learning. Let your success be a journey to make impact, and not a journey to perfection. Be yourself. Put God first.

Words of advice to women
I ask for help. Everyone around me now, know this is what I want with my life, and they joyfully support me in my various responsibilities. I enjoy a great support from my husband, in laws and extended family. I also delegate my duties, and plan ahead for my day. Women need a lot of support.

I Am a Woman Of Rubies
A woman of rubies is someone who knows that God has deposited something great inside her, and it can be unleashed with prayers, hardwork and continuous learning. I think I am a woman of rubies because this describes me.

Final word
There is a reason God made you a woman, enjoy your womanhood. Find your purpose in life and seek to fulfil it. Let love be your guide. Do all these quickly when you can, for life is short. Thank you very much.

Anthonia Ojenagbon, Survivor & Ceo Silton African Kitchen

Anthonia Ojenagbon is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story. Her dream is to help victims of sexual abuse find a voice by encouraging them to speak up and break the silence. She has turned her lemon to lemonade by speaking publicly about her experience and how she was able to go through the healing process after her uncle abused her as a young girl. She shares the story of her rise from the ashes to glory and how her business took her to Aso rock to meet the Former President of Nigeria in this interview.

Early Beginning
My mum was a full-time housewife while we were growing up and my father was in the military. Things were tight and we could hardly make ends meet. Having three square meals a day was such a big deal. Then I grew up and got married with a firm decision to contribute to the home by assisting my husband as best as I could. I really wanted to be useful to myself and my generation. I wanted to be able to feed people because l understood while growing up what it meant to be hungry.

Meet Me
My name is Anthonia Ojenagbon, the first of nine children. I am a product of Wavecrest College of Hospitality and the Pan Atlantic University. I am the lead chef at Silton African Kitchen.

Somehow a friend took me to a church and the pastor counselled on how to make my uncle stop what he was doing to me. The night after the pastor spoke to me, my uncle came again but this time l shouted with everything inside of me, pretending I was having a nightmare. I kept shouting until everyone in the house woke up, trying to find out what was wrong. Although I did not tell them what the problem was, that was the last time he tried to touch me. But by then a lot of damage and emotional harm had already been done. I became a shadow of myself because l felt l had offended God and that was why He allowed this evil to befall me. l lost every sense of self worth and my mind was in turmoil. I became very bitter towards men and hated them until l met my husband who is a complete gentleman. Since we got married, he has never ever made reference to my past and has never judged me.

Healing Process
The trauma and psychological effects of sexual abuse and rape are grievous was filled with hatred and bitterness. I was ashamed and felt guilty because l could not understand why this happened to me despite of the fact that l was brought up by Christian parents. I battled severe depression for a long time and eventually checked myself into a depression facility to seek professional help.
The healing process was not easy. l had difficulty making lifesaving decisions. L had sleep problems. l got to a point where l knew l needed help but did not know where and how to get that help.

Then one day l watched Funmi lyanda on New Dawn on NTA where a survivor of rape was interviewed. There and then l knew it was called child sexual abuse and the first step to healing was to talk to a trusted person. The guilt of sexual abuse and rape is such a heavy burden that must be broken, so I looked for an aunty to talk to. Luckily, l found two ladies who were not professional counsellors but were willing to hear my story and not judge me because we live in a very judgemental society where sexual abuse and rape is considered a taboo and victims are blamed or treated with disdain. I learnt to forgive myself because l always thought it was my fault. Thank God for social media, l decided to tell my story and the comments and responses have been phenomenal. l am now a trained emotional intelligence coach and a counsellor of traumatic and troubled children.

As l searched my mind, l just heard peppered snails; So during lunch break l started telling my colleagues that apart from making hats, l also sell peppered snails. That was how the business started. Now we make peppered snails for bigs events and offer office and home delivery services. We now also fry yam and plantain in addition to peppered snails and guinea fowls for events. The snail business won me the federal government of Nigeria YouWin grant for women and I was also one of the 1000 entrepreneurs selected from all over Africa by the Tony Elumelu Foundation for a grant and mentorship. We also run the breakfast canteen of the Central Bank of Nigeria Lagos Office. We actually provide full-fledged indoor and outdoor catering services now and run or manage corporate canteens.

Giving Up
When l first started the snail business, l was selling because my colleagues in class and members of staff were buying. l did not however think about what would happen after the course at the Pan Atlantic University. But after the course, getting customers became very difficult. l tried all the traditional methods of marketing l knew, but at the time nothing seemed to work. With time I started using social media. Before then, it was really frustrating and I even became severely discouraged and almost gave up.

My biggest reward so far was when l was invited to the Aso Rock State House to exhibit my snails. lt was such a dream come true for me. Again, I am also able to support my family in whatever little way I can and also a few other people who need help. But nothing compares to the excitement of hearing that I am an inspiration.

Challenges of Running my Business
In my catering business one the major challenges we faced initially was brand acceptance. It was difficult convincing our target audience to believe in our brand, but now the story is a lot different. Then in my social work it is difficult to convince people that I am speaking out because l want to be a beacon of hope to other survivors who have never spoken about their abuse and rape before.

Sexual abuse and rape is a cankerworm. Society still does not understand that survivors suffer a lot of emotional pain, loss of every sense of self worth, are severely depressed as a result of the abuse and rape. Society still is not sensitised enough to know that a lot of survivors are suicidal and are becoming more violent towards the opposite sex. Society still does not know all hands should be on deck to fight sexual abuse and rape and minimize it to the barest minimum. Parents should begin to talk to their children from an early age, victim should no more be blamed or shamed, survivors should not be judged because already they have suffered and are still suffering psychologically. We need more counsellors; in government hospitals they should be trained to attend to survivors when they come in. Survivors should not be stigmatized. Sometimes people disallow their children from marrying someone who has been sexually abused and raped before. All that has to stop.

Being a Woman of Rubies
OK, l think am a woman of ruby because l have excelled in both business and life generally inspite of what life has thrown to me. l have not allowed the abuse l suffered to keep me down. I have turned my lemon to lemonade by speaking publicly about my abuse so as to bring healing and hope to others who have also gone through similar experiences. I have not allowed my background and experience in life to keep my back on the ground.

Oshione Igwonobe resigned from her day job to start making pure juices using her mother’s blender. She moved from making juices in her mother’s kitchen to start her own brand; The JuiceLady , where fresh juices with no concentrates, preservatives, sugars or sweeteners, are produced, a business she started at a local Buka and at some point she and her team hawked the products just to make sales, today Igwonobe supplies big malls and outlets across Lagos. She shares her inspiring story in this interview.

My upbringing played a large role in my line of work. Growing up, my mother always sought to experiment with our meals introducing different healthy options. As kids, we’d grumble and complain but she created delicious recipes we all loved eventually. Baking and juicing were regular practices in our home and I took after that. After quitting my day job in 2009, I experimented with cooking healthy meals and preparing juices, supplying offices in my neighbourhood. After a few months I realized I would have to focus on one aspect as I didn’t have the resources to grow both aspects of the business. I stopped catering and focused solely on making juices using my mother’s blender in her kitchen. At the time it was pretty small scale but I’ve been able to grow it significantly.

Meet Me
My name is Oshione Igwonobe and I am the Juice Lady. I am from Edo state; the first child from a family of six (6). Most of my formative years were in Warri then my family moved to Lagos in 1997 where I continued my Senior Secondary School and University. I’m quite passionate about healthy living, I absolutely love food, traveling and adventures. I produce 100% fresh fruit juices under the brand The JuiceLady. Our juices are fresh, not from concentrates, no preservatives;, no sugars or sweeteners. Simply no additives: just juice.

My YOUWIN Grant Experience
It was an enlightening experience really. Beyond the grant, I gained a deeper appreciation of the business. We passed through intensive business training sessions organized by the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) and participated in the Youth Enterprise with Innovation Program and these training have helped me move the business forward. The people I met at the time also increased my network; I keep in touch with them today and I’ve done business with a number of them. YOUWIN boasted a number of innovative people and it was a creative space where you could tap off the energies of other brilliant minds. So yes, I had a great experience.

It’s been interesting. Starting off wasn’t easy. When I decided I was going to focus solely on juices, opportunity came in the form of The Lagos Carnival and I thought, here’s a huge crowd to test our product. My parents were out of town and had given me money for upkeep. I convinced my dear siblings to support my cause and we even borrowed extra money to produce our first ever large scale batch of juices. I mean, a large crowd of thirsty people under the Lagos hot sun, of course we would rake in lots of money. We were going to make a killing. We were all so excited. The challenge then was that our production process was largely manual so before we could finish up and head out it was already 2pm or thereabouts and we got to the carnival at about 3pm. Not surprisingly, the ceremonial activities had come to an end. Here we were, six of us with about 200 bottles of juice and no crowd (Laughs). I think we ended up selling about 15 bottles. It’s safe to say that for that period when our parents were away, my siblings and I drank juices until we were fed up of it (Laughs).

After this episode, I decided to scale back and convinced a neighbor to set me up at his office in TINCAN Apapa. I would set up a cooler at the Buka where the tanker drivers, bus drivers, and others came to eat. And from there I would haul my cooler bag into the offices. My clients ranged from tanker drivers to directors and executives at the company (MRS Oil) and they were very encouraging. There were times we had to literally hawk them on the road to sell out.

From Tincan, I moved to several offices in Victoria Island and now we supply key stores like Farm City in Lekki Phasse 1, Café Neo outlets and several other stores. Only last week, we attended our first major food exhibition (Flavours of Lagos) and we had a lot of people truly enthralled by the quality, taste and price for our juices.

On Giving Up
Only about a million times (Laughs). Truth be told, there is a limit to how far passion can take you. Many start-ups believe that passion is the balm that heals all wounds. The reality is different. If we are to discount the attendant challenges of any business across the world, the Nigerian system is designed to frustrate SMEs. This is because we are a society orchestrated to administrate and not to produce.

I remember when I was seeking machinery for juicing. I went to the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO). I paid for training and was told we had to wait to be a certain number. This was in 2013. I’m still waiting for that training. I was referred to a consultant technician who fabricates machinery and he gave me a bill of about N10million to set up my factory. I visited another agency to make enquiries about the process for certification, I was told by an official to ‘look for something else to do” as processing/manufacturing was too difficult for a woman.

There are periods where it just seems like anything that can possibly go wrong, does go wrong. Periods I made huge losses financially, or I’d see my peers and it felt like I was wasting time and everybody else seemed to be ahead. When faced with these trying situations, I dug into a reserve of strength I never knew I had and found the resolve to move on. Failure is just not an option. My Plan B is to find ways for Plan A to work.

Greatest Reward
Honestly, the praise of a new consumer. It is one thing to know that you have a good product, it is another to be validated time and again when someone tries the juices and they call me to rave about it. It is a new feeling every single time and that beats any achievement I’ve had thus far.

The High Cost of Setting Up a Factory
(Sighs). The challenges are many-fold and I touched on some of them earlier. Financing is a mammoth challenge. I got a break with the YOUWIN grant but there’s the timidity of our financial institutions when it comes to partnering with start-ups. Financing needs to be scaled to the level of the business but our banks simply don’t understand that. Also the lack of technical capability in Nigeria made it a nightmare to set up my factory. Sourcing for machinery is such a herculean task, especially when you’re an SME. Importing machinery is very expensive, then there’s the added cost of bringing in a technician to train your staff on how to use the equipment, maintenance and the rest. I ordered an equipment two (2) years ago that I’m yet to receive.

Nigerians View on Women in Your Line of Work
In my experience, there is an active conversation on women in business and this is increasing the perception positively. My line of work largely sees women as the forerunners and there has been an increased respect for the profession. I do understand that women in other fields may not be finding it as easy and that is the reason why I am actively engaging women for raw material supplies, production and delivery. The conversation is significantly bigger than me and I am consciously ensuring I play my part in the empowerment of the Nigerian woman.

I am a Woman of Rubies
One word: Tenacity. I have been through a lot in my line of work and I’m still standing. I believe firmly in the future and I believe that it can be shaped by the actions of the present. Regardless of the obstacles, I am determined to raise the bar for women in agro-processing and this is what makes me a woman of Rubies.

Growing up years ago, my mother made me do all chores and didn’t separate jobs for male and female children. My siblings and I were taught to do all chores so I was often told to wash my father’s car and my curiosity arose to learn to drive very early.

Meet Me
My name is Evelyn Okondugba-Solomon from Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta state, Nigeria. I’m a christian, a mother of three lovely children, and the Managing Director of 3tees Foods and PR/Marketing Consultant.
My early years in primary/secondary schools were in Lagos and my tertiary education was at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. I belong to The Nigerian Red Cross Society, The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. I speak English, Igbo, Yoruba and a little of French. I’m learning to speak Hausa too.


Being an extrovert, I like meeting people, travelling, learning different languages and public speaking. I’m warm, fun-loving and like to lead or pioneer new projects, ideas etc. I’m not frightened by adversities and I don’t quit easily.

The fact that women can now fly planes, ride tricycles and do other things that men alone do before. I recognized the opportunity to express my passion for driving through UBER and I’m creating the ambiance for other women who weren’t courageous enough.

My motivation is drawn from the fact that I’ve been a single mom for years and I’m in a position to understand the challenges faced and what we are going through. It is tough to handle children alone and lots of women are single moms today not because they like it but because they need to be alive for their children (Physically abused). Widows become single moms because they lost their spouses. They also need to stay strong for their children. I have a calling to support the abused, heart-broken women, to remove self pity and boost their confidence to thrive in a difficult society.

Project and activities
•Working on advocacy for single moms support and their children’s welfare.
•Restructuring my restaurant business. I want to bring it to a world class level where everyone can eat affordable meals 24/7.
•When less busy, I read inspirational and motivational books. I like going to the movies, dancing, listen to good music and cooking. I’m writing a book as well.

Not backing down
Yes, many times I’ve felt like giving up because of the adjustments I have to make at home but God has been my strength and my children have been very encouraging.

Reward of being a female driver
The commendations from riders and satisfaction that I’m meeting people’s needs. I’m blessed and feel blessed. I’m popularly called “Angelina Jolie of UBER Nigeria” by riders and friends.

Nigerians views concerning women in male dominated fields
Most Nigerians don’t value women in male dominated fields. Here in Nigeria, men are complex and are easily frustrated when women do better. Besides many women don’t challenge men because of the customs traditions and beliefs in Nigeria.I am a Woman of Rubies
Overcoming challenges and still standing tall and strong.

Final words to women
If men have given up on you, God hasn’t. He is not a respecter of persons, but of His covenant. Don’t lose faith. “The calling of our lives has already been determined in heaven. Our purpose in the sight of God is already an accomplished thing awaiting its fulfillment” – T.D. Jakes Speaks to Women.

Raufu Aishat, Female Shoemaker
Raufu Ayowunmi Aishat is a young, focused female shoemaker. After graduating from the university and was jobless, she went to acquire skills in shoe making. Ever since, she hasn’t looked back, and she is proud of her profession and waxing strong. Aishat is the CEO and Creative Director of Aeesha Shoes, her shoe-making company.In this interview with Women Of Rubies, Aishat talks about some of the challenges she has faced, as a female shoemaker.

As a kid, I always wanted to become a professional banker, but while growing up, I wasn’t pleased with the profession anymore. Being a shoemaker was developed out of joblessness. While on long holiday from school, I had always wanted to learn a skill and make-up artistry was what I loved and wanted to do, but my cousin advised that I did something else. So, I went through the skill acquisition list and ticked shoe making, considering the fact that I love shoes. And that was how I went from basic to advance, and from advance to being a shoemaker.

Meet Me
I am from a family of six. I’m from Irepolodun Local Government Area in Kwara State, but born and bred in Lagos. I am 24 years old. I studied Public Administration in the university. I started my business, Aeesha Shoes, five and half years ago.

Hmmm, joblessness inspired me to be a shoemaker. I never would have thought I would ever become a shoemaker, if I were not jobless. More so, my love for shoes kept me in the business. At first, I was doing it for the money, but I got to realise my love for shoes was more than the money I was making from the business.

Clients, individuals, friends, and family’s words of encouragement motivate me to do more. My love for leather also does. Whenever I see a piece of leather in the market, the next thing that comes to my mind is what I can produce with it.

Other projects and activities
Very soon, I intend training school kids on how to make shoes. It’s going to be conducted during the summer class and it’s going to be few days training on the basics of shoe making. Also, I’m looking at bringing in machines from Italy and China to further assist the brand in the production of shoes.

The industry is daily growing wider, and we are still making shoes with our hands. I think we should have gone further than that. If we had machines, we would be able to perfect what we do and be able to produce more, in terms of quality, quantity, and perfection.

On giving up
I had given up several times, but salary jobs usually pushed me back. In between running the business, I did some salary jobs. But anytime my boss messed me up at work, I would resign and pick up my business again. It happened like thrice before I finally settled down to my business.

One of the major challenges is getting an investor. It amazes me that in this generation of ours, some people will tell you that they don’t or cannot invest in a shoemaker because she is a woman or they cannot invest in you because you refuse to sleep with them. Another major challenge is clients. There are some understanding clients and there are some that choose not to understand.

Greatest reward
Encouragement and positive clients’ feed backs. Those are my greatest reward in the business. I love seeing my clients smile and happy after collecting their products.

Nigerians reactions to women in male-dominated fields. Nigerians are now accepting and respecting women in male dominated fields. You needed to see the way people hold me in high esteem, when I showcase what I produce or when I introduce myself as a female shoemaker, at a gathering. That is the part of the profession that I love the most (laughs)

I Am A Woman Of Rubies
I am young, creative, and I inspire people.

Final words of advice
Be consistent in everything you do and be your best because that is what will take you places.

Chimanma Rushworth-Moore is the founder of Gold Fish Initiative, Growing up and schooling in Ajegunle made her develop passion for children who don’t have access to basic education. She believes education is the only way to bridge the socio-cultural gap that exists between the rich and less privileged. She shares her story with us in this inspiring interview.

Yes. Absolutely, a whole lot of factors. I grew up in Ajegunle, in Ajeromi Ifelodun local government area and I sat in class with some students who could not afford to continue their education, either because their parents were too poor to afford to send them to school or perhaps their parents were illiterate and did not see the main essence of education. When my father then passed away after my secondary education, things were tough in my house, having lost the breadwinner, my mother being a teacher had to fend for all of us, this was a time when teachers sometimes went unpaid for 9 months in Lagos state, in my darkest our I made a promise to God to help children from the poorest communities, if I myself survived my own ordeal. My prayers were answered.

Meet Chimanma
My names are Chimanma Nina Dobeiwu Gold Rushworth-Moore…..lol, long I know, only a few fit into my passport. I was born in Lagos on the 15th day of November, 1978. I am the 3rd of 5 Children. I had my primary Education in Local Authority Primary School, Ajegunle, Apapa, Secondary Studies in Federal Government Girls College Owerri, and University education in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.

Inspiration Behind Goldfish Initiative?
Having lived a fraction of my life in Africa and another fraction of my life in Europe, I have seen a great divide between the African child and their European counterparts. I believe education is the only way to bridge the socio-cultural gap that exists. And in today’s world for a child to prepare for the future to be able to dine with Kings, they must at least be able to read and write.

Other Project and Activities?
I keep having light bulb moments on projects I want to carry out, but I will mention a few. Talks are on ground to build a school in a very remote area, where the children have to walk for almost 1hour and half t get to the nearest school, also the Goldfish Scholarship Scheme has recently taken on 3 children under their scholarship scheme in Kwara State, a video will be done shortly showing how these children are faring with taking up the challenge of learning and going to school for the first time. My dream is to have at least 20 children from each 36 states under this scheme, and to increase this figure as time goes on. I’m also setting up a Goldfish Initiatives reader and writers club for children in primary schools for to enable them have the fire to read and write. This will be aired either on radio or Television.

Giving Up
Yes. There have been times when I have been afraid that this project/dream is too big for me, because I’m just one person but then I remember the words of the greatest boxer that ever lived – The great Muhammed Ali, and I quote “ if your dreams don’t scare you, they aint big enough”. Also sometimes there are people who tell me that I cannot change the world, perhaps they have a reason for saying that, but I believe we all can make the world a better place, if we all tried, one step at a time.

For me it’s very simple. It’s the Thank yous, the smiles, the laughter, and the gratification that I have altered the course of a young life positively, for the journey that lies ahead. That keeps me going,.. That drives me.

What Makes You a Woman of Rubies?
I’m a giver, I have a big heart for everyone, everyone is equal in my eyes, and I believe anyone can be great and successful, if that are supported and aided. The son of a labourer today can be the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I always believe…im always hopeful, im never negative.

Final Words
Right from the dawn of time women have been specially created by God. We have the ability to influence and change the times we live in positively. Let us use this gift and power with the utmost prudence, because together the world will be made a better place if we put in that effort. We are all Unique, with something special to offer….every single one of us.