Running a non-profit organization is a passion I have nurtured whiles growing up. It is something I love to do with all my heart. At the core of what I do is a personal inspiration that I put in a quote: “Helping others make a difference in their lives is how we make a difference in our own lives.” This is what drives me to look out for the less privileged children, women and youths in the rural communities in my country in the area of education and health. Aside this, is my passion to write books and songs.
One Life Aid Foundation (OLAF) literally means giving assistance, one life at a time to the less privileged children, women and youth in our world.
Countless number of children, women and youths around the world are confronted with issues that challenge their health, growth and ability to educate themselves and become useful in their communities.
OLAF works to promote Education, health and to collaborate with other organizations in initiatives that help further the development of children, women and youths. Our slogan, “For our growing generation, a better world” is what drives our mission to contribute to the development of children, women and youths.
Some of our initiatives include Free Health Screenings, Provision of Educational Materials, support for brilliant but needy children, Provision of Free Sanitary towels to young girls and women, Provision of Veronica barrels to encourage Hand Hygiene in basic schools, Advocacy and the newest addition to our initiatives is 2 hours to Read (2toread) for children in rural communities.
We live in communities where females have higher proportions of not being educated, more and more children in the rural communities stay out of school because they lack educational materials and youths are found roaming on streets without jobs, these and other reasons inspired me to do what I do.
Success means... making a difference in someone’s life.
Three adjectives that describe me are... strong, sanguine, philanthropic.
You can’t run a business without... vision, passion, tenacity.
In the next 10 years, I will be... a renowned author, song writer and a multi-national CEO.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted to have?
Becoming an entrepreneur was not one of my life goals as a woman. I was always afraid of starting something on my own because I saw most women in my family not making it in business. However, my ideology changed when I constantly found myself being approached by people who in one way or the other had challenges pertaining to poverty, health and education and most of these people were children and mothers who were helpless in taking care of their children. These encounters moved me so much as I saw my experiences to be no different from theirs, I therefore decided to start something that can bring relief to them.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Operating a non-profit organization demands a lot of sacrifices in my country and in Africa as a whole. Currently, most of the projects we undertake are implemented with internally generated funds with about 80% coming from my coffers. Every successful project requires a lot of brainstorming, planning, researching, organizing and field work in rural communities. In my observations, one cannot merely succeed in any entrepreneurial endeavor without making time for the core activities that ensure success. Sometimes this means going beyond the normal to do the extra ordinary and such an example could be staying awake when everyone is sleeping to draw a project implementation plan. To get what you want, one must be willing to sacrifice.
Was it difficult get capital/investors? Has anyone underestimated you as a female entrepreneur? If yes, how did you handle it?
One major challenge has been getting funds to support projects undertaken by the foundation. Currently, most projects are internally funded with little support from individuals and some local institutions.
In a world where women are constantly being undermined, I am no exception. Many times, I have to explain to people why I believe in what I have started because they think it’s just one of those ventures that won’t last especially when a woman is in charge.
If you were a book, what would your title be and why?
Whenever I envisioned myself as book, the only title my mind could capture was the word “BUT”. Yes, “BUT”! I have encountered so many “BUTS” right from childhood. So many times, I felt like giving up my dreams because people had contrasting views, yet at each junction where I met a “BUT” I had to take a stand for what I believe. From a family, where most girls chose other options above education, I had to stand my grounds to get education and set an example for the younger ones in the family.
Who is the one super successful person you look up to? Why them? Can you share their quote/ideology that inspires you the most?
I am greatly inspired by the life of Dr. Maya Angelou. Her writings are a great source of motivation on my path to becoming the woman I want to be as I love writing. Many of her quotes fascinates and keeps me fired up for greater achievements. Quotes like “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within” and “We are as blind as we want to be” have been sign posts at every junction of my life.
What is your proudest accomplishment of this year? What are you looking forward the most in the next 12 months?
Being recognized as the best performing NGO in the municipality is one of my proudest accomplishment. The entire team at OLAF worked hard for this award. In the next 12 months, we are looking forward to making more impact and spreading our operations to other regions in the country.