woman of rubies


Mary Okagbare, popularly known as Mama Esther, is a food seller at Nepa Bush Akangba, Adelabu, Surulere, Lagos. She became the sole breadwinner of her family after her husband got sick and moved down to the village. While struggling hard to provide for her three children and husband, that didn’t stop her from taking in her sibling’s child into her home and take care of him. Even when her shop got demolished by the government, she didn’t give up; she forged on. Today, Mama Esther has succeeded in training two of her children to the university level and they are now graduates; one of her children studied Accountancy, while the other studied Physics. Even though they are yet to be employed, Mama Esther still keeps an optimistic spirit that things will soon be better for her children, and she is still working hard to take care of them.
In this interview with Women of Rubies, Mama Esther talk about how life has been for her as a sole breadwinner, and her prayers for her children.

The Beginning
I started selling rice twenty years ago , two years after I had my last child. I became the breadwinner of my family a year after my marriage in1987 after I had my first child, with the way things were very hard and difficult I realized my husband cannot do it alone, I mean he cannot give our children a better future with the way he changes job almost every month with no good income coming in because he was a driver, So I started hawking plantain which I stopped after I had my second child. Then, I looked for a small space where I started selling Garri, Groundnut, Sugar and Ice-water in nylon. I fully became the sole breadwinner of the family after my husband got sick and had to move down to the village.

It was never easy, there were times I felt so down and tired but then, the good dreams and better future I wanted for my children kept me going. I will say my children motivate me, all I ever wanted was for them to be better than me and have bright future, and I won’t rest until I help them achieve their dreams. May God help me.

Demolished Shop
It was like the world was crushing down on me, it was as if I was sinking, my heart almost stopped beating, I cried all night to the extent I lost my voice I couldn’t speak for days, my children were so worried and scared thinking they will lost me.
It was also the year my second child got admission into Lagos State University, so because of that I put myself together and went to the company where I was selling right in front of their building, before the demolition took place. I pleaded with them and God used two security men, they gave me a space at the back inside the company it was like a bush I don’t really know how to describe the place but I cleared the bush and put a canopy and started managing the place till now.

On giving up
Oh yes, I felt like giving up on several occasions. I knew my children depend on me and I know God is counting on me to take care of them, so I forge on. Like I said earlier, the place I was given to manage was so difficult to describe and hard for customers to notice. I lost most of my old customers and so it was so hard for me to sell even a Derica cup of rice a day because the place was so inside and no new customers were coming in. It was really hard and I really felt like giving up because I seriously needed money for my son’s school fee but the Grace and Mercy of God saw me through.

Being a mother of graduates
I give God all the glory; I am so happy and thankful to Him. My main prayer for them right now, is for them to get good jobs. I am sad because they are still unemployed but I won’t stop working hard to provide for their needs until they get jobs. I won’t stop crying and praying to God to provide jobs for them because they are wonderful children.
I’m also praying for them to be happy and to have bright future. I don’t want them to go through difficulties and hardships in life anymore so I’m earnestly praying to God to make them comfortable so they don’t suffer anymore.

There have been lots of challenges but the grace and mercy of God has been there for me.
There was a time that I was seriously sick for two years and I had to be taken to my village for special care but to the Glory and Mercy of God, I am still alive today.

I Am A Woman Of Rubies
Believing in myself as a woman and a mother,that I have to be strong, hardworking, resourceful, tolerant, patient, reliable and confident, makes me a woman of Rubies.

Words of advice for mothers and women
My advice to women and mothers out there is to believe in their selves. Move closer to God, work hard and don’t ever give up. God blessed you with your children because he trusts you to take care of them. Take care of them because it is your responsibility, and not because you are expecting rewards from them. Thank you Women of Rubies for wanting to hear my story. May God help you to continue the good work.

Orphaned at a very delicate time of her life and being a single mother with three siblings to raise alone, Vanessa’s dream of becoming a pillar of support for other children and women passing through similar experiences was kindled. Her experiences taught her that life is no bed of roses, but with a clear vision, determination and focus, anything is achievable. Today, Vanessa Mbamarah is the Founder/CEO of Ztallion, a platform that was born out of a need to reach out to less privileged kids and women. She also runs a social media-marketing agency and training institute through her Ztallion for Business and Ztallion Academy, respectively. She shares her success story and how she joggles it all together.

My childhood experiences have not only prepared me for what I do today, but have also helped in making me the woman I am. Being the first child of my mum, the first lessons I learnt was making sacrifices, caring for others and building, when there was no support coming forth from anywhere. I saw first class what it felt like to live with a widow, the pains and struggle of being a woman. I saw the need to be educated, especially as a woman. My mother wasn’t and I know how hard it was for her to make ends meet.Today, I am partnering with people having the same objective to help give young girls and women that opportunity to learn skills that would help them become entrepreneurs.

Meet Vanessa
I grew up as the first child in a family of four, my mum being the second wife from an extended family of 11 children. Growing up was tough, having lost my dad at an early age of six. Dedicating her life to raising her kids, mom gave up all the luxury and comfort to ensuring we lived to see the next day. Growing up wasn’t a lot of fun for me (smiles), from dropping out of school severally, to having to work and assist mum run the house until finally losing her. Our home was a home for all. Sharing was one thing mum held on to and built into us. I guess that ignited my passion for giving back.

After losing mum and having my baby, I moved down to Cotonou, the Republic of Benin. Here, I made a life for myself, combining multiple jobs alongside running a fulltime degree, until I finally graduated First class with a degree in Communication and Information Technology.

Passion for Social Media and Digital Design
Right from when I was a child, I always wanted to be a doctor, so I could take care of mum and then she wouldn’t have to fall sick or pay so much at the hospital (smiles.) Unfortunately, medical school didn’t give me the excitement I wanted, although I totally loved wearing the lab coats and stethoscopes.

I left med school after my second year. One of the reasons was that it was too structured and didn’t give room to try new ideas at the last minute. I have always known myself to be a creative person. I enjoyed expressing my thoughts through visuals and expressive writing, being able to create and transform ideas into tangible entities.

From being a medical student, I switched to computer science. I started with programming (java) because of its ability to combine letter and numbers to producing something new. From there, I ventured into designs, photography and social media, allowing me a wider opportunity to explore, create and a platform to express it all.

Shouldering Responsibility of Three Siblings
Like I said earlier, growing up wasn’t a lot of fun for me (smiles again.) My world turned upside down after losing my mum in 2009, worse because she left right when I needed her. You see she was buried two days after I gave birth to my daughter…a sad yet sweet experience. While still mourning her loss, I was celebrating the arrival of her granddaughter. I was a young and single mum at that time, left with three siblings to cater for. I drew strength from holding unto God, building a positive mind-set and focusing on not giving up. I had to work extra, running several jobs until I was able to send myself back to school.

Today, my siblings are all happily married and doing great. My kid is almost seven years and I’m grateful each day for having her regardless of past mistakes made. I look back and I smile because the entire struggle was worth it. It turned me into a fighter and a survivor.

My Projects
Today, I am all about building and giving back. My major projects are centred around women and less privileged kids. On social activities, we have both the Ztallion Foundation and the Love a Child Foundation (Benin), which is a non-profit Humanitarian Organization that focuses on women/girls, street and orphaned kids by bridging the gap between them and the society. We have several projects but two major projects, the ‘Back to School’ Project and Project Give-Back’, which is run towards the end of each year.

With the Back to School project, we collectively provide back to school materials for kids in the poor communities. Project Give-Back started last year, Dec. 2015 and is scheduled to come up again on December 25, 2016. The PGB is just a way of showing appreciation and at the same time celebrating Christmas with the less privileged. Last year, we fed over 500 people on the streets and held a Christmas party at a shelter home for boys in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin. All thanks to donations from friends and well-wishers.

I see myself as a BUILDER, not just a solution provider. On empowerment, we have the Ztallion Academy, which is a platform for providing digital skills that can be used personally or professionally. I partner and collaborate with people having the same vision to help give young girls and women that opportunity to learn skills that would help them become entrepreneurs, while focusing on reaching out to street and orphaned kids.

Giving up
O yes! Absolutely. Sometimes I didn’t only feel like giving up, I actually did give up. Being a single mum, having to cater for everyone and staying strong at the same time made me lose myself. Most times, I forgot I existed and needed to live for myself. Other times, crying was the only solution. Crying and keeping it all deep inside because I was scared to open up to anyone and telling them how broken I was inside. (Having been betrayed a lot of times by people close can sometimes cause this… *smiles). Today my strength comes from the drive to fulfil my purpose and building with people around me.

Greatest Reward
I wouldn’t say I do what I do to get any reward, but to be just. It’s the smile I get from the kids after we spend time with them, tears you see on the faces of widows, as a sign of appreciation and the emails received after each training session on how much impact it made.

Inspiration Behind your Organization “Ztallion”?
Ztallion was born out of a desire to stand up, reach out and tell my story. I always had a zillion ideas while growing up, pictures of who I wanted to become. Haha!

When I moved to the Rep. of Benin, after jumping from one job to the other, I decided to get creative and so, I thought of a way to combine everything I loved into one platform— my love for kids, teaching and business. Not forgetting using my experiences to reach out to people through my posts and write-ups.

I started out with the name Stallion, but later had to switch the S to Z …. And voila Ztallion came into existence…*smiles. The Stallion is an animal that is strong, protective, hardworking and possesses natural leadership qualities. That I believe describes me. Not focusing on its negative sides *hahaha!

Doing what I do takes some serious drive and commitment, something I know I’ve got (smiles.) One of the major challenges I’ve had to face is being consistent in running all three arms of Ztallion and having time to focus on my daughter.

Advice for Young Budding Female Bloggers and Social Media Strategist?
I would say practise, practise and practise. Take out time daily to reinvent yourself. Read a book, learn a new skill, just do something to grow every day. My experiences have taught me that life is no bed of roses, but with a clear vision, determination and focus, anything is achievable.

My Passion for Building and Strength Makes me a Woman of Rubies
My passion for building and strength. Regardless of all that life throws, I will still stand tall and strong because of Grace. I devote time to learning every day and at the same time, sharing my knowledge with others. I use my EXPERIENCES, while telling stories. Why? Because the lessons I learn from the mistakes made is not just for me alone… but for others to learn from.

Final Words to Women All Over The World
We all have stories to tell. The fact that you have survived that trauma is evidence. The fact that we put up happy pictures doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain, we don’t cry, we don’t get broke, we don’t face disappointments or feel the need to be encouraged over and over again. We are humans after all. Choosing to dwell on either the negative and positive thought is a choice we must make daily.

Solarin Yetunde is a Painter and an Interior decorator. Despite the fact that she is a graduate with a second-class upper degree in Business Administration, She decided to turn her childhood hobby- painting and wall decoration, into a career. She started Yetoonz Touch, and is currently making a living as a painter.
She talks about how she cope in a male-dominated profession, with Women of rubies in this Interview

I remembered that when i was a little younger than this, I used to trace and cut out colourful pictures from books, magazines, newspaper and display them on the walls. I also did cut out different shapes from card boards, paper craft and also drew pictures and made story with them. However, I still do them now but in a professional manner.

Meet Me
My name is Solarin Yetunde. I hail from Ogun State, Sagamu local government precisely and I am the last born of Solarin family. I attended Charlton nursery and primary school and did my secondary academics at Topmost College while my first degree in Business Administration was attained in Olabisi Onabanjo University Ogun state. I graduated with second class upper division. I observed my NYSC with Oyo State Ministry of Trade Investment and Cooperative in 2015. I am a certified member of Project management, I hold a certificate of Association of Accounting Technician and I am a student of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

How I discovered my passion for painting and interior decoration
I discovered it during my NYSC days as an extension of my childhood adventure.Every time that I was bored I decorated the four walls of my room and I got lots of encomium from friends and loved ones. From then, I knew I could be better and blossom professionally.

Inspiration behind Yetoonz Touch Paintings
The inspiration behind Yetoonz Touch Paintings is solely from GOD with the confidence that I have in myself that I can do anything through JESUS that strengthens me.

Other projects and activities
Apart from the fact that we paint houses, we also design schools, children rooms, studios, hotels, hostels and shops. Others projects are wall canvas designs which will soon be displayed all over as well as pending training for intending painters .

Challenges faced
There is no person that has gotten to the top without trials. There are times I thought I could not survive on the job largely dominated by men, and when there are no jobs to be done I feel frustrated and bored. Also, I was largely frustrated with my search for white collar job too. Nevertheless, encouragement from my family and friends has kept me stronger as the day go by. They are the best gifts in my life. In all, I have learn through it and came out with the conclusion that when GOD is for me nothing, and no man can be against me.

Reward(s) for what I do
To be truthful, there are no great rewards with man. Only GOD can bless one indeed. No matter, the cash or materials one receives for an activity one will never be satisfied. Nevertheless, the encouragement that I have received from my family and fiancé has kept me stronger as the day goes by. They are the best gifts i have ever received.

My view on gender inequality in men-dominated workforceI believe, Nigerians are growing and showing compassion to women in men-dominated works. Apart from the quality of my job, which speaks volume. I get a lot of patronage because of the fact that I am a woman thriving in the job designed for men.

I Am A Woman Of Rubies
The extra-ordinary passion, hard-work and doggedness to take up a men-dominated profession is more than being a Woman of Rubies.

Words of advice to women
My words to women are that; in this present age, women have a lot of scripts to write therefore, don’t fold your arms. The book of Ecclesiastes 9 verse 10 says, whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.

Adetola Makinde, Founder; Mo Rainbow Foundation

Adetola Makinde is a B.Sc. holder in Business Management from Usman Danfodio University. She is the founder of Mo Rainbow Foundation and Mo Rainbow Down syndrome Ability Centre, which are both non-profit organisations. She left her banking career to be a full-time mom, after she gave birth and her daughter was diagnosed with the Down syndrome.

In this interview with Women Of Rubies, Adetola Makinde shares a touching and inspiring story of how her life changed after her daughter, Moyinoluwa, came into the world with Down syndrome, and the inspiration behind Mo Rainbow Foundation.

Growing Up
As the first child of my parents, I’ve always been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings and being a good example to them. I grew up in a family, where cousins and relatives came on holidays or resided with us. I’ve lost count of the number of people my parents trained and supported from childhood through school and work, up until they got married. My parents were very accommodating and they taught me how to be content and responsible. They are great givers and all these formed a greater part of my core values, as I grew up being a giver, who also loves making people happy.

More About Me
My name is Adetola Makinde. Some people I’ve known for over three decades call me Sola. I love to be called TM. In my primary school days, I remember secretly coveting the name ‘Precious,’ as I used to wonder why my parents did not give me an English name. I am from Ikare-Akoko in Ondo State and the first of three children. I started my education with Stee international School, (popularly known as Subuola Nursery and Primary School back in1978). I attended FGGC Bida for a while before crossing over to Federal Government Girls College, Shagamu, in Ogun State. I later obtained a B.Sc. in Business Management from Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto.

My first job was with the United Bank of Africa Plc, and I worked in the corporate banking sector, and five other branches of this great organisation for 11 years, until I had my daughter in 2011.

Resigning from Banking Career to Follow Her Passion
I figured God was trying to change my career path, even though I loved working in the banking sector. God in heaven must have said, “Hey girl, it is time to move unto a greater assignment.” So, it happened that I had my baby in 2011 and about five days later, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. This of course came as a rude shock and instead of resuming after my maternity leave, I tendered my resignation letter. I was about to dance to a different type of music, one people don’t like dancing, which is caring for my daughter. I had a prior knowledge and exposure to the condition and I knew I would not be able to cope with the responsibilities at work, as I had been given a higher role to play. I was just too sure that “returning to work would not work for me”.

I had prayed to have a baby girl and my prayers were answered in a miraculous way that has now birthed a purpose for my life. My little bundle, which initially caused me pain, had God’s purpose for my life, wrapped in that pain which has now turned to passion. For the life of me, I couldn’t believe my career would come to an end, but who am I to complain? It was a very tough decision coupled with sleepless nights, heart racing moments because of fear of the unknown. I had to be brave and just sacrifice for my children, more so, it hit home and I had to start running around to ensure my daughter had all the medical help and therapy that would save her life. God was there for me and I just could still see through a window how merciful and faithful He still is through my pain. I knew I was faced with a herculean task of caring for a vulnerable child, who is a blessing in disguise. I knew the benefits my baby would derive from early support. The first three years in the life of children, especially those with additional needs are very crucial and I told myself I would give my baby all the best care and support that I could and leave the rest for God.

Inspiration behind Mo Rainbow Foundation
The name Mo is Moyin’s nickname and the Rainbow was a name God gave me. We had put in another name and followed up with CAC to conclude the search, but the name was not approved because the whole process lasted longer than three months. One very cold morning, before daybreak, I woke up to use the bathroom and I heard a voice saying, “Look up, what do you see in the sky?” While I was still trying to think, I heard the answer “Rainbow”. I was transfixed and immediately sent a text to my lawyer and in two weeks, the name Moyinoluwa Rainbow Foundation was released and approved. The rainbow signifies hope and God’s promise, after the flood that destroyed the earth. It gives our children hope to live again. The fact that you have a child with a certain form of additional needs is not the end of the world. There is life after a Down syndrome diagnosis; it’s not the end of the world.

The inspiration behind Mo Rainbow began after my initial frustration of not getting early intervention. God gave me this vision one day in my living room, after Moyin turned three and I could only look back and appreciate God even more, as we had moved from struggles (with feeding, crawling, standing, walking, talking, heart surgery) to success. I met a two-year-old boy in church, who had never had any form of intervention and this tore me apart. That night, as I sat on my bed, folding my clothes, I heard a voice saying, “now you see you’re not alone. Go out and minister to these children. Be the light, be the solution, show and share the benefits of early intervention and all I’ve exposed you to”.

That night, I wept like a baby, knowing I was about to go through a path I never imagined. I followed up with the little boy, and today, Victor has turned four and with care and constant therapy, he is happy and improving gradually. This vision was confirmed by two people close to my heart, whom I never discussed my vision with at the early state, as I wanted clarity on this matter without prejudice.

The short of it is that I was blessed to have had help with early intervention from when Moyin was two weeks old, as I would be in the room with her till 1pm every day, trying to understand her body, features and help her with various exercises and oral motor massages. Frankly, I never cared about scornful looks, as I had keyed into early intervention and wouldn’t let go. My grits was eventually passed on to Moyin, as she became a fighter with every passing day. She learnt to be confident with the support friends and family daily gave her.

On Family Support
Well, all through this journey, my husband supported me. He was and is still there for us all. Our little Mo gives him so much joy. It was also with his consent that I left my job, as we both knew that working in the bank would divide my attention in caring for our daughter.

My Reaction on Being a Recipient of the Wise Women Awards
The award given to me is called “THE TURNAROUND AWARD”. I was overwhelmed with joy and that quickly ministered to me that finding purpose is fulfilling, and focusing on your vision over ambition is rewarding. I really appreciate Pastor Mrs. Majorie Esomowei, the founder, the wise Women international, Wise women Awards UK and Nigeria, for creating this wonderful platform. I believe your ministry does not have to be in church before God blesses you. He simply makes provision for every vision. I appreciate everyone supporting us, following us on social media channels and watching us. It’s a life changing experience for me.

Other Projects and Activities
We are on a rescue mission and I find it heart wrenching, when I discover that a child has not had the relevant support from birth, because of our weak support system. The story I hear is always either the parent has refused to seek the right help, kept the child at home and prevented him or her from mingling with others, has taken their child from one mountain to another seeking for deliverance with some voodooist or wishing the child away or dead.

Due to the high rate of ignorance of this condition, we have had a 5km walk for Down syndrome, where over 100 people came out to step for Down syndrome, creating awareness in Amuwoodofin Local Government Area. Our open-house party was to create awareness in the media and around our community. We have had “CANDID TALK ON DOWN SYNDROME,” where we invite parents to come and learn how to support their children/wards because it involves a back-to-back intervention. We also invite caregivers and therapists to learn how to support any child in their care. Sharing ideas helps us to take the right steps, when faced with difficult times with the child. It helps us to be pro-active.

We would frequently gather parents to enable them have Skype sessions and physical sessions with our consultants. We would also be partnering with Star of Hope Transformation Foundation, a foundation that turns ‘Trash into Treasure,” the Down syndrome foundation of Nigeria and other organisations that would project our work with children living with Down syndrome. Presently, Breakforth Women Outreach (Nigeria and Ireland), Women of faith Foundation (UK), LOJ logistics (NIG), Africa’s Unforgotten Angels (USA), SoksesJewelery (UK), Adoke resources (Nig.), are partnering with us in various ways and we are still hopeful for more partnership and support from other organisations and individuals. I will do my best to give hope to children faced with this condition. Not being much of tech savvy, I have found myself creating awareness on various social media platforms about this cause and God has brought many friends our way all over the world via these channels, though we are yet to get our first support from any organisation.

On Whether Nigerians are Compassionate Enough to Children with Down Syndrome
We are far from it. I once posted my daughter’s picture on Instagram and received a derogatory comment I had to delete. I wept that day, because it made me realise people’s ignorance and it made me more determined to advocate for every child and adult living with Down syndrome. Something good will come of them, because they are made in God’s image and likeness. Down Syndrome can visit any family, but it’s what you do with it that matters. I will keep fighting for inclusion for our children and there is no looking back. The society needs to understand that advocates of all forms of disability in Nigeria need them to listen and contribute their quota, as much as they can. I see our children living happily without any form of stigma or name-calling. One of our objectives is to ensure the on-going stigmatisation children face is stopped.

I Am A Woman Of Rubies
I believe answering this call has paved a way for a bright future for children living with this life-long condition. I am fulfilled, because families that are angry with God or the child, thinking He is angry with them can now realise they are wrong.  When at the end of each day I see parents showing more love to their child, I know I can sleep with both eyes closed, because through me, a strong bond has been built between them and the child is sure of their total support.

A true mother is one who sacrifices for her children, a caregiver who does whatever it takes to put a smile on the faces of her children. In a world where true motherhood is becoming a rarity, Mrs. Mary Amedigni is an exception.

Mary Amedigni is an “Akara seller” and mother of three, her second daughter Tonia is a member of the National Youths Service Corp who recently posted a picture of herself and her mum on social media. In the picture, she is dressed in the NYSC uniform while her mother cuddled up to her .The picture was taken on Lewis street in Lagos where she sells and it has since gone viral.

In this interview with Women of Rubies, Mrs. Amedigni shares her inspirational story. It will trigger your emotions.

The Beginning
The major motivation that made me start this business is basically for the wellbeing of my children. I started 16 years ago because I want the best for them. I want them to have the BEST education. I don’t want my children to lay behind among their peers. In order to achieve this, I sacrificed things like buying clothes, jewelries, going to parties and other earthy/material things to make sure the major profits of my business goes to securing the best future for my children, and also making them comfortable. My husband is an audio & visual technician. He also manages studio and camera coverage.Motivation
My children gives me joy the most, they are the real source of my joy and happiness especially when I see them shining. My children give me joy for many reasons, they are obedient and they listen to the various teaching I give to them.

The challenges I face since I started till now is a bit terrible, from rivals, danfo drivers and conductors with the way they talk and behave , also the Incident of hot oil falling from fire. Recently when I went to the market wheelbarrow boys stole my goods and ran away. Come rain come sun I am always working, but thank God we don’t look like what we have been through and am so happy that my hardwork is not in vain.

Picture going viral
When my daughter told me the picture we took has spread I was really surprised and I was really happy.

Giving up
NO! Never have I felt like giving up, this business started very slow and unproductive but I never gave up. This is because despite the income then, I still had something to take care of my children, and this was enough motivation to carry on and not to give up.

Being a woman of Rubies
Being hardworking makes me a woman of rubies, because my hardwork paid for it and because of it two of my daughters are GRADUATES today. I am happy and privileged to be honored by an important organization, such as WOMEN OF RUBIES pray that everyone at the organization sow and reap the fruit of their handwork.

“I Had A Child At 19 And 14 Heartbreaks Before I Met My Prince Charming

”Like a phoenix, Lara Kudayisi Emeralds is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story. Her tale will inspire you to rise above your challenges no matter what life throws at you. Her dream is to help singles make the right decision before walking down the aisle. The pretty relationship counselor and matchmaking mistress had a child at 19, her heart was broken 14 times and and has had 15 abortions .Today, Lara is touching lives through her “Matchmaking Mistress” platform. When you meet Lara, you realize she doesn’t look like what she has been through. This is her story.

Meet Lara Kudayisi-Emerald

I am the Matchmaking Mistress. I help singles attract their dream partners and walk down the aisle in the shortest time possible. I do this via The Achieve Your Marriage Goal Plan, Help My Heart Skype Call and The Complete Singles Club among others

The Match Making Mistress Brand

It actually started with my Complete Singles Club. I realized that though the guys and ladies chat daily in a Whatsapp group and meet every month, yet relationships weren’t happening like everyone expected it to. I knew at that point that I needed to go an extra mile to help them.
I started matchmaking a few of them that were interested and things got better, and since then I discovered an industry that is untapped and decided to pioneer it.

Being a relationship expert

Apart from being a Matchmaking Mistress. I am also a Relationship Expert. I started doing that because of my journey to a happily ever after life. I had a child at 19, had 14 heartbreaks and 15 abortions. I was so messed up until I finally got married to my prince charming. I decided to help people find happiness without going through all I went through and that was birthed the relationship articles and coaching programmes.

Pain is what pushes me

I want to help people in the little way that I can. Pain is what pushes me. I want to help eradicate pain. A lot of people have miserable marriages and dysfunctional relationships. I have been through this so many times and it’s not a pleasant place to be in. I feel fulfilled when I see people that I help smile and feel better.

Giving up?

Oh Yes. So many times I feel like giving up especially when I wasn’t making money and I was pouring out my soul to help people especially when it’s the only thing that I do. If you don’t make money from your passion with time, you would get frustrated. I had to learn that lesson the hard way and make it a full time business that pays the bills

Other Projects

Our Complete Singles Academy is coming up soon. It’s an Academy that singles need to go through for Self Discovery and Mastery. A lot of single people don’t even know who they are or why they act the way they do. Some people were raped, molested or mistreated and broken when they were young. It has affected who they are and what they do. This has affected who they are or how they behave. It also affects how they date and who they date. When you are dysfunctional, you would attract dysfunctional people, because you attract who you are. Furthermore, we would run dating programs and Marriage Preparatory Classes. I am so driven to help repair singles before they get married. When people get married, it’s a lot more difficult to help them because another person is involved.


People are skeptical to be match made. They have no idea what match making entails. In fact, some people felt it shows they are desperate or it meant they were slackers as a guy. They didn’t know that there’s no big deal in it. It’s just normal introduction of boy, girl like it was way back in history. I remember asking a girl if she preferred to have no one ask her out in ages or have me introduce different people to her until she finds a perfect fit. Of course she preferred the introductions. So the challenge is the ignorance in the society about Matchmaking.

It makes my work more complicated.

Future Project

Telling your story

In Public Speaking, you need to connect with the people you are speaking to and for people of this generation; you need to tell them your story. People don’t want to hear 5 or 7 steps, they want to hear how you handled the challenges you had, and how you were able to surmount it. They want to know that you were in their shoes, you felt their pain and now that you have come out unscathed, then you have the right to talk them. Not because you have read some books or read stuff on the Internet.

Being a woman of Rubies

The ability to want to help alleviate people’s pain. I love to eradicate people’s emotional trauma and lead them to a happily ever experience

Alex Okoroji is  a Nigerian actress, writer, TV Personality, Talk Radio Host, Speaker, Author, Self-help Mentor & Founder of THE NAKED MOVEMENT & THE NAKED BLISS ACADEMY. Alex went through a failed marriage and a series of traumatic relationships but she has come out stronger and is all for  self-empowerment and transformation. In this interview with WOR, she speaks on her passion, challenges women face in the entertainment industry, and how she combines her many interests.

Growing Up and The Love For Arts. I grew up in a creative household, my father being a performing musician and my mother being a fashion designer, made our house filled with a library of music, movies, books and fashion accessories. I remember one of My father’s first valentines gift to my mother was a mills and boons novel in the 1979…I think… And I found it in a pile of book clutter, 20 years ago and I kept it with me.

The truth is, I grew up surrounded by artists and attended several events and award ceremonies organised by my father. And as a child growing up, I was in my School’s Social Club. I was part of the atilogu dance troop, atiero, yoruba ; igbo cultural troops in primary school (my mother’s yellow fish eye wrapper was one of my favourite costumes) and I was the pink house March past queen.

In secondary school (FGGC Akure), I was a green house princess for our interhouse sport, a cup bearer, the only junior student in Drama Club, Music Club and Press Club all at the same time. I moved to back to my old school in Festac…And I represented my school in inter school debates…inter-lit dance offs. I was miming, choreographing, writing short stories, performing sequences, creating designs and entertaining my entire school. Despite graduating in the sciences. The Arts was where I had always truly belonged.

Discovering My Passion For Acting
After I saw Lauryn Hill in the musical – Sister Act in 1991. And a line Whoopi Goldberg said to her in the movie captured my heart. I knew when I looked into the mirror, the only person I saw starring back at me was an Artiste. And I could act, sing, write and do every creative thing I wanted to do.But the real light bulb moment came many years later, in 2005 when I mysteriously took part in the maiden edition of the Television Reality Show – Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO). To go through all the amazing trainings; performance classes and to hear my coach RMD, say in an interview, that I would be one of the last females standing and to hear director, Jeta Amata talk about how captivating my eyes are in front of the camera. It was the boost I needed to follow through on my passion.

Other Projects and Activities
Well, my career has totally evolved over the years…And I myself has evolved as an Artiste into what I can now call an “Expressionist” – because I use different mediums of the Art to Express myself/talent whether in front of the Camera, On Radio or via my Writing. So apart from being an Actor, I am also a professional writer, (Screenplay, Songwriter, Poetry and Prose), I also write self-help articles on my personal blog www.AlexOkoroji.net.I’m also An Advocate for EXPRESSION and Multi-Platform Ambassador for Self Empowerment and Transformation – which is why I recently founded the virtual community – ALEX’S BLOG COMMUNITY (ABC) and The Naked Bliss Academy. A membership platform where individuals or groups can acquire new skills online, expand their minds and re-invent themselves.

Challenges of Being A Woman in The Entertainment Industry
We all know a woman has to work 50 times harder than a man, to truly earn her respect in the Entertainment industry. Even as a Creative Entrepreneur, there is a general prejudice that a woman probably only needs the fame and not the money…or that if a woman is building a significant brand, she must be giving sexual favours or will be open to giving sexual favours. And many will test you to see where you belong. Holding on to your values while being compared to other seemingly successful people without cutting corners, can be tough. And most times, your hard work, creative ideas, business sass and dedication is ridiculed by defining you simply based on how you look and who they think you know. That for me is a challenge.

Impact of Being the Daughter of ex PMAN president
Well, being the daughter of a man as accomplished as my father, has impacted me a lot personally… because I have learned great lessons from watching him manage his career ; his personal brand, I have also picked up similar habits as regards my working ethics ; values… And professionally, I have great antecedents, so people transfer the respect they have for my father to me. But it also creates a lot of pressure, because the expectations for me to live up to his incredible legacy, are high. Apparently, I have big shoes to fill. But I have chosen to wear my own shoes and leave my own prints on the sand of time.

Alex Okoroji

Alex Okoroji

Greatest Reward
The greatest reward has been connecting with global influences from around the world and having a global community of people who truly value and support my work.Last year, I was Spotlighted for ‘Consciousness Raiser’  by Award Winning American Author of the book “Once The Storm Is Over” and; Founder of Living Enlightened -NINA BINGHAM and Co-nominated by Popular, American Citizen’s Advocate – JOAN TREPPA. I was shocked even though they had both been former guests on my show, because it was totally unsolicited, especially living here in Africa and being appreciated for trying to use my platforms to empower others to be more Aware and; live an Authentic life. I was also featured for my writing, by a prestigious writing journal ‘RB Magazine’ as Blogger of the Month, last year. In 2009, Actress, Stella Damasus was nominated for a movie I wrote, at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). That felt good. And yes, It’s feels good to be acknowledged, nominated even awarded. But nothing beats a personal Email or text written to me by a guest, listener, reader, fan or follower thanking me for impacting their lives. And I get these in droves everyday. That for me is the biggest reward. That people can reach out to you and give first person account of how you are positively influence their lives.

Managing The Different Facets of My Career
Honestly, I don’t know how I do it all. I guess God takes the credit. People ask me all the time, how I’m able to manage all my creative endeavours. I’m busy round the clock. I sleep just an average of 3 to 4 hours every day. But I guess a woman has got to do what a woman has to do. When you are passionate about what you do, you honestly never have to “work” a day in your life. I get overwhelmed because I wish there was more than 24 hours a day, but I love the challenge.

Interest in Politics
Honestly, I doubt I’m going to be running for any office in the future, I don’t exactly consider myself to be political, because I’m a little too straight forward, too open. And I know my kind of people find it a tad difficult to fit into a dysfunctional and ; chaotic system . But I have also learned never to say NEVER.My interest in politics right now is related to my incessant belief, that we all as citizens should be involved in the polity, conversations and actualization of policies that govern our community. And of course we need more women in government and in leadership positions to create parity in the system.

I am A Woman of Rubies
I’m a woman of rubies because I’m not ashamed to be Authentic. I’m not afraid to embrace myself as the imperfect jewel that I am. I’m a woman of rubies because I’m not afraid to EXPRESSIVE, confident in my own skin and proud to be a woman of purpose.

Final words
Well, I would just say that Expression is a sign of Strength, not weakness. It may sound like simple basics words. But as an Advocate who has witnessed the power of Expression, it is my responsibility to remind people not to be ashamed of who they are, what they are feeling or thinking…and that there is an immense power in your voice. When you speak, you become intentional by commanding all your desires into existence.You have a VOICE…Use it! Speak up! And keep speaking, even if your message echos… Stay speaking, until people have no choice but to finally LISTEN.

Olorisupergal remains one of the relevant and trend setting blogs among the multitudes of blogs currently running in Nigeria. Tosin Ajibade the founder of OSG is a dynamic woman whose love and passion for writing has led her to be among the highly respected bloggers in Nigeria. In this interview with Women of Rubies, she sheds light on her passion, her driving force and future goals.

Growing Up
Growing up for me was just like a regular average child. I had a strict dad who never seized to make me forget that the fear of a Nigerian father is the beginning of wisdom. I can categorically say that is why I love writing. My Dad would make us watch news even at out tender ages and write whatever you got from them. Back then, I had few friends because of my Dad, and that answers why I still have few friends. Obedience, sharing, patience, reading, writing was instilled in me.

Why I Went Into Blogging
It was purely passion. It started as a hobby before it grew into something a lot more serious. I really love to write. I started the blog with my personal contents and articles. I just thought to have my articles kept online and not to share them. It was more like my story book; whenever I write about anything, I just have them saved online. Well, as at then, social media was not what it is now.

My Driving Force
My driving force was and still remains the passion to write; then determination and most importantly focus as the experiences have been challenging. I have always told myself how important it is to stay focused despite all distractions.

Making Money from the Blog
Starting out was quite difficult. I have always known no good thing comes easy. At the initial stage, it wasn’t about the profit since I only wanted my articles stored online but as time went on I realized I could earn a living from it. When I finally made up my mind on doing business with my blog, getting advertise on the blog was not easy at all. I literally struggled for a long time but after those few years, things began to take shape.

The Greatest Lesson I’ve Learned in Six Years
For me, learning is equivalent to growing. I can’t say one lesson is greater than the other, for all I have learned, the values are equal. I have learned so many things in the past six years and I am still learning. Life itself is about learning, growing and getting better.

How I Built A Formidable Blog
It takes a lot of courage, focus and consistency to build a formidable blog lest you get knocked out. Managing a blog/website, creating the right content, driving traffic to the blog/website, pushing your brand out there isn’t easy. Since we give to receive, when we post contents out there, we expect comments and reactions. Anyways, it has been tough and with the competitions in the industry, nobody wants to be the dullard so we keep pushing with hard works.

Next Level for the Olori Supergal Brand
For the Olorisupergal brand, we are working on the second edition of the New Media Conference which is coming up very soon. The maiden edition held 27th May, 2015 at Terra Kulture with over 300 participants.

Also, we are working on the OSG Vitiligo campaign which is part of our CSR at Olorisupergal Limited. We realized a lot of campaigns focuses on awareness of all forms of cancers, rape, HIV/AIDS, STDs, etc which are really good but a few if not none talk about Vitiligo which is also an important campaign. We had the maiden edition last year June and created awareness about the skin disease on social media.

Challenges of Running OSG
First, the issue of internet services cannot be over emphasized. The networks sometimes can be very frustrating; you can have three different internet providers turned on with no signal at all. Secondly, you can run out of ideas for creating contents in a twinkle of an eye, and by that I mean creating fresh content and recreating old content. Also, merging trend follow-ups with the website schedules can be killing considering that you have to be on top of the game. Another thing is staffing. Many times people will say they would like to work and leave in few months/years after learning a few things. We are managing the hands we have and looking forward to employing more as the brand grows than what it is presently.

A Dynamic Woman of Rubies
Although I am worth more than rubies, but yes I remain dynamic, reflective, and object-oriented (which are the features of a ruby). I believe in hard work and I think that surpasses everything because in due time, the sweats will bring the smiles.
Final Words

For anybody in any field or line of business/industry, the key thing is to understand and appreciate your field. That someone else is getting it right doesn’t mean you can’t get it better.

From understanding, you can be able to tailor your own niche and discover your potentials and business strengths.
In summary, be yourself, surround yourself with good people, get viable mentors, find the balance between your work life and personal life, I had my own fair share of difficulty but I am proud to say I found a way to balance it.

Erelu Bisi Fayemi is a Gender and Development specialist, Social Entrepreneur, Policy Advocate, Writer, Business Woman, Wife and Mother. She has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK.

She spent many years working on women’s rights and development issues around the world before she returned to Nigeria in 2010 when her husband, Dr Kayode Fayemi, became Governor of Ekiti State. She is the recipient of the 2011 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of Philanthropy. In 2011, Women Deliver named Mrs Fayemi as one of the top 100 people in the world working on women’s empowerment, and in 2012, she was named by New Africa Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Africans.

She is the author of ‘Speaking for Myself’: Perspectives on Social, Political and Feminist Activism (2013) and ‘Speaking above a Whisper’, (2013) an autobiography. She also co-edited ‘Voice, Power and Soul’, with Jessica Horn (2008) a compilation of images and stories of African Feminists. She is currently a UN Women Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador, and recently established abovewhispers.com, an online community for women.In this interview, she revals her journey of speaking up for the rights of women.

My driving force
I have indeed spent most of my adult life working on women’s rights issues. I worked for AMWA, an international African women’s organisation based in the UK from 1991-2001. During that time I established the African Women’s Leadership Institute which has supported at least 6,000 women leaders across Africa, including women in Nigeria. I left AMWA in 2001 to co-found the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), and to serve as the first CEO. AWDF is an Africa-wide grant-making foundation which strengthens women’s organizations across Africa with financial and capacity-building support. Over the past 15 years AWDF has funded over 2,000 women’s organisations in 42 African countries. I left AWDF in December 2010 after my husband, Dr Kayode Fayemi, became Governor of Ekiti State. What drives me is finding justice for women and an equitable society

Growing up
I was brought up in a loving and caring environment. My father was an Accountant and my mother was an entrepreneur. My father worked in senior positions in the Federal Civil Service, and he always told us that on the day of reckoning, he would never be found wanting. True to his word, at a time when there was a change of government in 1979, a lot of his colleagues were rounded up for involvement in one scam or the other, but he was untouched. I learnt the value of contentment from my father, discipline, the right to speak up and be heard, community service, and the fact that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. From my mother I learnt generosity, solidarity with other women in need and negotiating skills.

Achievements when I served as the First Lady of Ekiti State
I focused on what I love doing, which is working for and with women. During the period that my husband was Governor, Ekiti became known for being a pace-setter State as far as promoting the rights of women is concerned. The 8 point Agenda which was the policy framework for Dr Kayode Fayemi’s administration included women’s empowerment and gender equality as one of the eight priority areas. This meant that Ekiti women did not need to beg to be included in policy processes. Through my efforts, there were a record number of women in the legislature, cabinet, and on boards and parastatals, as well as in the local government structures. In collaboration with state legislators, government officials and civil society partners, I led campaigns for the Gender Based Violence Prohibition Bill of 2011 and the Equal Opportunities Bill of 2013, both were signed into law by the Governor. I established the Ekiti Development Foundation which supported thousands of women, men and children across the state. Ekiti State became the first (and only State) in Nigeria to domesticate the National Gender Policy in October 2011. I was also able to advocate for the fast-tracking of the Family Court in Ekiti State, the establishment of a Multiple Births Trust Fund, as well as the establishment of a Social Inclusion Center for the rehabilitation of women in distress. It is a long list, but I will stop there.

Being the wife of a politician
The wife of a politician has to learn to be all things to all people. As I wrote in an essay last year, in honour of the late Mrs H.I.D Awolowo, about the role of political spouses, you are expected to be the main support system of your husband. You are a hostess, adviser, philanthropist, mobiliser, campaigner, counsellor, mediator, spiritual intercessor, the list is endless. The responsibilities draw on every mental, financial and emotional resource you have. I learnt to take everything in my stride and never complain, because I saw it as a duty and opportunity to serve. I always tell people that I consider myself to be a politician because I am concerned about the world around me and how decisions are made. Any woman married to a senior politician who tells you she is not a politician is in denial. The seemingly benign philanthropic activities that spouses of politicians engage in are all political strategies, and it is entirely legitimate. The level at which we engage might be different, I must admit I was very active politically, especially in policy advocacy.

There are no short cuts to success. You should be prepared to put in hard work to see results. Focus on the things that you love and inspire you. At a stage in your life, you might have to take on ‘survival work’ which is a job that you don’t really like doing, but it pays your bills. The moment you feel you are able to, move on to doing things that really excite you.

My Above Whispers Project
I have always wanted to run a story-telling project for African women. I have come across many amazing women and stories over the years, and people might not get to hear about them because are not rich or famous, yet they are powerful in their communities. I also noted that most of the content on our blogs and websites here in Nigeria is targeted at a young demographic. When women and men of my generation go online, we want to look at content which is relevant to us such as politics, entrepreneurship, financial security, health parenting and so on. I therefore decided to launch an online-platform that we could use to share information, news, stories and campaigns. I also want us to be able to use Above whispers to showcase the unique ways in which Africans engage in community service and philanthropy.

My Sisters Keeper’s Campaign
At Above whispers, we decided that we wanted to mark international women’s day differently. We wanted it to be about women celebrating other women. On March 8th,women around Nigeria, and in other African countries such as Kenya and Burundi, took part in the campaign through simple acts of kindness such as buying goods from market women without haggling, paying for the hair of another sister at a salon, giving gifts to or female colleagues, especially those junior to us, and so on. It was a phenomenal success online, considering the fact that we did not run an expensive corporate campaign. We have got very touching feedback about the campaign, and we will certainly run more like that.
On women living their dreams

Let me preface my response by saying that it is difficult to give advice on this because women are in different situations. However, as a general principle, I would advise young women who are not married yet to think carefully before they choose their husbands. A man should not just choose you as his wife after having met his own laid down criteria. You too need to have criteria for choosing a husband. Marriages flounder when one party has to minimize their own dreams in order to boost the ego of the other.

A marriage is a partnership. Have a clear understanding with your partner about the kind of life you will have together and what dreams you both have and how you will support each other. This way you build a marriage based on love, mutual respect and support. Responsibilities in the home can be negotiated so that you have time to pursue your interests. Sacrifices do have to be made at certain times; especially when there are young children, but there still should be a level of understanding that does not leave you bereft of your bearings in life.

Advice to women entrepreneurs
There are no short cuts to success. You should be prepared to put in hard work to see results. Focus on the things that you love and inspire you. At a stage in your life, you might have to take on ‘survival work’ which is a job that you don’t really like doing, but it pays your bills. The moment you feel you are able to, move on to doing things that really excite you. When you focus on something you are good at, your passion will shine through and it will encourage investors to support you because they can see you know what you are doing. No investor wants to back a failure, so when they see you are committed to success, you get their attention. Be professional in all your dealings, and cultivate good manners such as arriving in time for meetings, appropriate grooming and being polite.

Lessons life taught me
I have learnt to be grateful for all the opportunities I have had in life, considering what life is like for the average African woman. After every experience, positive or negative, I always ask myself ‘What have I learnt from this’? This habit of reflection enables me to work on things I need to change or simply, to cut my losses and move on. I do not encourage negative energy around me, and I do not take on the baggage of other people, when you do that, it weighs you down.

Women and nation building
I think that question should be how can women be better appreciated in nation building. Women have been contributing to nation building even before we became a nation. What we need is an appreciation of women as citizens with rights to lives of dignity and respect. We need to see women empowered economically, educated, present at decision-making tables and free from all forms of discrimination and abuse. Policy and legislative frameworks to promote women’s empowerment are key, that is why passing the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill is imperative. We also need to see implementation of the National Gender Policy, as well as the laws and policies we have at State level.
What makes you a Woman of Rubies?
I speak up about the rights of women, well above a whisper.

Tolulope Sangosanya suffered dyslexia as a child, which impinged on her self-esteem, making her believe she won’t amount to anything great in life. Her bitter life experiences and needs as a child inspired her to start the LOTS Charity Foundation. She studied Mass Communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State. She is very driven, visionary and has a heart of gold. Today she is building a refuge within the refuse with her Lots Charity Foundation

Early Preparations

I had dyslexia as a child. I couldn’t read until I was 10. I had failed so bad in primary school so much that I wasn’t sure I was going to do well in secondary school let alone university. I couldn’t pronounce the word “The” at age 9. I didn’t know God was preparing me for what I do now. My grandfather taught me how to read English and Yoruba for 2hours daily for 2years. The strategy my grandfather used is what we still use at LOTS Resource Center today. We have used that strategy to teach children how to read and write according to their capacity not age.

The Ifa Priest Connection

My dad’s Ifa priest said I am a possessed and demonic. Several pastors said that too. The Ifa priest said I am a queen in the spiritual realm and my members wanted me back which meant I will have to physically die. I lived in constant fear of dying for over 5 years until an era came when I woke up and I said to myself: “I will not die twice. I will not be dead while living”. I decided to feed street kids every year for my birthday. What the fear of death did for me is to wake me up fast to the fact that life is actually short and its running out every minute. I wanted to make each day I live matter. To crown it all, up my roommate in university died at 22, I said if Awujola (who to me was better than I) could die, then who am I? After I started Project LOTS, the Ifa priest came back to say I’m not dying again, that there is a sign on my body that says the price has already been paid for. I realized I wasn’t a waste of God’s breath of life. I felt the fear of death was God’s ‘wake-up’ call to me and ever since then, I haven’t gone back to sleep.

Passion for Philanthropy

I didn’t go to school to be a social worker or a philanthropist. I thought I was going to have several businesses from fashion to photography .I tried most of the business while in the university, but nothing filled me up more than the fulfillment I felt, when I fed 300 children in 2006. I knew I was ‘Home’ when I got to DUSTBIN ESTATE in 2008. I remember ‘stealing’ my younger sister’s toy to give to another cousin whom I thought didn’t have. I was trying to redistribute ‘wealth’ even as a child. Nothing made me feel this will be my life’s mission. Discovering my life’s purpose was more like an accident, i can’t even claim glory for it.

Finding Balance

Lots of Things was registered as a business name before I got the idea for LOTS Charity Foundation. I’m an entrepreneur by nature; I bought and sold lots of things as an undergraduate. I needed an umbrella name to give to all I did. They were not related, hence the name L.O.T.S –Lots Of Things.

Tolu and some LOTS kids

When LOTS Charity Foundation came to be, I knew I had to raise funds for the initiative and I was too proud to ask anyone for help. So all I had made from the other things I did went into registration and into the first few event LOTS Charity Foundation organized. Since LOTS Charity Foundation commenced operation, Lots of Things declined a bit in operation .I could only focus on one thing per time. I am first a social entrepreneur before my entrepreneurial side comes to life. I ask myself, if I have 24 more hours to live what would I rather do? Make money or give money? Giving tops my chart every time

My Greatest Influence

I have had many people who have impacted my life. From my grandfather who taught me how to read to my biological father who rewarded me for everything, I excelled in. I also will mention Fela Durotoye who taught me to make my personal gifting to be used for national benefit. Professor Wale Omole gave me a life road map. There is nothing that I do today that professor didn’t know about 10years ago. He always said “Tolu, nothing must go to waste”. He taught me how to love me. Professor made sure I read two books weekly and we met to review the books. “Tolu, you have to decide to decide. This was one of his sayings that gave me constant headache and left me without sleep. We had 2 years of qualitative mentoring sessions and I cannot trade the lessons of that era for a billion naira.

Discovering Dustbin Estate

In 2007 after feeding 1000kids at Oko Baba on my 25th birthday, a spirit in me told me we would be going to Ajegunle next .I didn’t know my way there. I called Praise Fowowe who linked me up with Christopher who then took me to the place we now call Dustbin Estate. When I met with Christopher I told him to take me to the dirtiest place he’s ever seen. Till date, I still question why I thought of dirt. There is a spirit in every man that speaks and i am just blessed to be in tune with mine.

Tempted to Give Up

There have been several times I felt like giving up .Even as I type this, I feel like giving up. I am choleric by temperament; I like to have an idea of happenings around me. I hit my head every time it looks like something is out of my control. But this has taught me patience, a virtue I do not naturally have. I felt like giving up when some kids stole books at the library to sell, books I had bought when i was very ‘poor’ and ‘hungry’. I felt like giving up when i was busy looking for food for 150 families last December and at the same time dealing with the news that my mom had cancer. I felt like giving up when my personal account was dormant for 4years. I don’t give up easily on anything or anyone so I keep at it

The Reward for Philanthropy

When I learnt one of our students, Batis could now read, my joy knew no bounds. When Balogun Rufai’s (also one of our students) name came out 4th on the merit list of FUTA, I felt like a proud mother. Knowing that the dreams i conceived on the floor of my room in university is now seen by all makes me feel like my life isn’t a waste. I wake up with a smile on my face knowing that Tolulope Sangosanya has brought value and not disgrace to her family and to the society at large.
Nigerians are not giving enough

I don’t think we give enough, giving hasn’t been institutionalized, we do not have social security or welfare package in Nigeria. What we have is extended family security and even that now is beginning to fade. Now what we practice is “all man for himself, God for us all”. To love is to give and since we don’t love, most people cannot give. We are now ruled by greed and selfishness as we have sold value for money.

Final Words

All human being were created to come solve problems. The human race cannot be complete without you discovering your purpose and fulfilling it. Nobody was made to just come ‘occupy space’, we are all part of a body, hence collective responsibility. Nigeria needs us to rise and shine