Though Kabeer Adisa Adeniyi is still in his 40s but, about 30,000 Nigerians have benefited from skill acquisition programme and HIV/AIDS campaign initiated by Guidance Community Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that he heads.
The organisation reaches out to orphans and vulnerable children and gives free-interest rate soft loan scheme to young small scale business owners. He is our role model this week.
What inspired you into this?
My late father was known for his community service. He was a community leader whose passion was to address community issues. Each time he was going for community meeting, he took me along and I learned a lot from him.
The passion for serving the community grew from there and I saw myself filling pot-holes, clearing sewage and canals in and around my community and from there it developed into looking at various issues affecting people around me and attempting to proffer solution to them.
Later in life, I was transferred to Aba from where I was working, and there I saw some women engaging in child trafficking. That enraged me and lots of ideas came to me on how to contribute my own quota to the development of humanity. I decided to set up a NGO to address some of these problems.
What have you done so far?
We have done quite a lot. We are into health related issues, skill acquisition and empowerment. We had cases of people with asthma, chronic diseases and other problems, HIV/AIDS awareness and control, empowerment and poverty alleviation.
We actually don’t give treatment but we assist people who don’t know how to go about their problems and in some cases provide financial assistance where we find very necessary and also provide drugs to patients who cannot afford it.
So, far, it has been self financing, we have not got any dime from donors. I use money from my other source of income to finance the project just because of the passion. I derive a lot of satisfaction doing this; it is all about service and nothing more. On HIV/AIDS, we spend less because we work with some donor agencies like the Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital.
The hospital assists by providing HIV Test-kits. Besides, they have also assisted us in manpower training, in the area of seminars and workshops. We received about 2000 from them recently.
It is difficult for me to mention those who have benefited from the programme in figures but not less than 30,000 people from different areas have benefited; not to talk of those who have been affected positively by our awareness campaign. There was a conference we held in Iwo, Osun State, about 1500 benefited.
After the test what then do you do?
I know that you cannot just be talking to people and believe you have changed their lives. This is where monitoring comes in. We determine the level they are and also live a lasting change in them by helping those who are positive to live their normal lives without any fear and assist them in their new life. For those people, we partner with other organisations. We refer those who are HIV positive to hospital where they can be placed on ART.
What other areas of life have you affected too?
The orphans are vulnerable children in the society, once we are able to determine that a child is an orphan, we give every attention to him. We focus on his well-being and education. That is our narrow area. The relationship with the HIV/AIDS campaign is that a child may become orphaned as a result of the death of the parent due to HIV.
Besides, we also comply with the USAID regulations and the Ministry of Women Affairs; a child that is orphaned between the ages of 0 – 17 is our target. We have done quite a lot in that regard.
Again, we also have a programme for youth empowerment. We train young men and women on several vocations in which they can become employers of labour instead of seeking employment. Right now, we have about 42 different areas of vocations.
We have resource persons that are into different areas of these vocations. Personally, I teach about four vocations and we have others like that in our organisation and several medical doctors who specialise in health related areas. We go to groups, associations, religious gatherings and ask them to choose the areas of interest of their members and move there to carry out the training free of charge.
What are those things you think this job has taken away from you?
It has taken my time, I go to bed not earlier than 2am, I write a lot of proposals for people especially on NGOs. I cannot do that during the day because I use the day for some other means of livelihood. Sometimes I use the whole week doing strategic planning, preparing, writing seminar papers.
I also receive a lot of visitors from Nigeria and outside the country. Recently, we received visitors from China and UK to see what we are doing, also next month; we will be hosting nine students from Cameroun for the same purpose. No doubt, it has taken my time, but I am happy doing it because I know somebody is being affected positively.
Your advice for the youth
My advice for the youth whether in the secondary school or university is that they should learn a vocation. It will make them self-employed instead of seeking employment. It is also better that governments incorporate into the curriculum vocation whereby you cannot graduate except you pass a vocation at secondary school level.
The moment it is made compulsory, everybody will be serious about it. This will make them to be useful to themselves after graduating instead of depending on white collar jobs. Again, there should be a vocational fund for development of the micro-industries. If a student learns a vocation and does very well in it, government should give him a grant to start up the business and in no time, the hydra-headed unemployment problem will be a thing of the past.
NAME: Adisa Kabeer Adeniyi
Project: Guidance Community Development
SCOPE: HIV/AIDS awareness campaign,
Skill acquisition, poverty alleviation and
BENEFICIARIES: About 30,000 have
benefitted from skill acquisition program with
several others on HIV/AIDS campaign.