Gennesaret Damaris Ajuka is young but her indestructible passion for children from rural communities is amazing. At 25, she founded ‘Awakening Destinies Foundation’ with a view to empowering children in rural communities to rise from their humble environment and achieve amazing feats.

According to her, in 2010, she was one of the five presenters that represented Team Nigeria at the 2010 SIFE WORLD CUP held in California, USA. She has impacted on over 70 children between the ages of 3-18 and her target is to make them world leaders. She is our role model this week.

What inspired you into this project?

My inspiration came from my discovery that children living in rural communities are like “raw gold” covered by grime and dirt,when exposed to quality information and association they achieve mind-blowing feats.

Of course, I am influenced by experiences as a SIFE student,learning early enough that I had to be at the forefront of creating the positive changes I wanted to see, as we engaged in a lot of community development programmes to positively affect the lives of others through the positive power of business.

Awakening Destinies Foundation has grown from a one man team writing on the floor while sitting on straw mat with the children, to running a library scheme, launching a website, Twitter and Facebook page, over 70 children directly affected, a team of 10 committed members.

I love children with a passion and I believe so much that Africans can raise Africans that will raise Africa! Awakening Destinies Foundation and its ideals are what I live for, so am in this for the rest of my life as God gives me the strength.

How many of your targets have you really influenced?

In 2009 I began weekend classes for (over 50) children in Ezieokele Eziobodo, Owerri West, in Imo state, where I and my team of volunteers taught the children using audio_visual and visual aids as well as a couple of soft skills. As the years went by, we discovered that contrary to popular belief, children in rural communities want to read, but due to absence of books, they do not read. So, early this year, we began The “Readers are Leaders” initiative to empower these future leaders with 6000 books over a span of 1year for each rural community.

We have already started in Ezieokele community and through our facebook, and twitter accounts the publicity we have created has caused the public to contribute books towards this movement. From team of 4 I now have a team of 10 who function in different capacities. Presently we have influenced over 70 children (between the ages of 3-18.

What have you done in that regard?

In 2010, I was one of the five presenters that represented Team Nigeria at the 2010 SIFE World Cup held in California,USA and one of the two students that would represent Nigeria at a meeting with 500 CEO’s (Top to Future Meeting). As we discussed with the CEO’s ,they were surprised by my level of exposure and understanding especially since I had spent all my life till then in Nigeria, they could not conceal their amazement but I felt really bad that the world did not expect anything out of the ordinary from us. I made up my mind that not only will I be a trail blazer but I will do all I could (by God’s grace) to positively shock them in future, by empowering children in rural communities to a point that would be able to rise from their humble environs and achieve feats that will shock the global community.

At Awakening Destinies foundation we believe that to give a man a helping hand is to change his life for a day, but to teach a man to use his mind and hand is to change his life forever. To this end, we seek to use the positive power of association and information to empower children in rural communities in a way that they can discover and harness their innate potentials. At the Ezieokele Community in Eziobodo, Owerri West Imo State, through weekend classes where we use laptops, televisions and visual aids we created a new and intellectually stimulating environment for the children, despite the fact that our resources are limited, the curriculum we teach with is a blend of American, British and Nigerian curriculum so as to raise global leaders from local communities.

We exposed them to skills such as arts and craft, basic computer appreciation skills, musical instruments (e.g guitar), cake&bead making among others. So far, we have been able to impact over 50 children through this as well as the library scheme we are currently working on. The children have began to realise that they can rise above the limitations surrounding their birth and leave their mark on the shores of life. The Library scheme (Readers are Leaders initiative) already has the potentials of impacting over 2000 children.

In addition to my personal achievements, I spearheaded SIFE FUTO’s “SWITCH 360”project where we empowered 300 children from six schools in Owerri with true Leadership skills and values as well as entrepreneurial skills. (Banner making, shirt branding, cake and bead vase making ,e.t.c)

How do you raise funds for this project?

I generate funds through involvement in entrepreneurial activities, as well as donations from friends, my team members and I also contribute personally. Plans are under-way to diversify into better entrepreneurial activities as well as fund raising schemes.

By the grace of God, I will further my education in the field of International Relations and Human resource management. I also have plan of building sophisticated schools fused with skills acquisition and talent hunt-leadership and mentoring programmes in rural communities , which the children will attend free of charge (That accounts for the reason Why we are so intent on being fully involved in entrepreneurial activities and not just leave the sources of finances to sponsors and partners). I also want to begin the first spelling Bee competition for children in rural communities through the library scheme.

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