By JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
Rev. Princess Aderonke Adeparusi-Akintokun is the Founder of African Charities Worldwide Foundation, an organization working tirelessly to improve the lives of the less privileged. A mother of two and an Administrator by profession, Ekiti State-born Princess Ronke also runs a prophetic ministry, the Reality of the Word Ministry.
In a recent chat with Vista Woman, she shared her zeal for charitable deeds while also condemning the claim that non-governmental organizations are merely instruments used by foxy individuals to fuel their own bank accounts.
I was working with the African Charity of America, an NGO registered in America, when I felt the need to set up the African Charities Worldwide Foundation.
African Charities Worldwide Foundation is a network of people coming together to help the poor in their midst. We contribute from our personal earnings and we also seek support from people in the society who can trust us with their funds.
Our aim is to provide for the poor around us like I said earlier. We work with schools, hospitals, orphanages, etc. We also try to encourage people to learn to care for the needy. This we do through a leadership award ceremony which we put together from time to time.
Last year for instance, we rewarded those we feel have contributed positively to the Nigerian society and have also been a voice to the voiceless. But this year, we are working towards raising some funds for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre for youths.
We desire to set up this because we’ve noticed that there are a lot of young people out there who do not know how to channel their potentials positively. In the rehabilitation centre, we will train them in vocational skills, and when they are graduating, we will support them with funds and the necessary materials that could help them start up.
We believe that it is frustration that makes some young people think they could earn a living by working as thugs for wealthy politicians. There was a programme like this put together by late Chief (Mrs) Maria Sokenu, many years ago.
She would take area boys from the streets, rehabilitate them, and empower them. Most of those boys never went back to the streets! At the end, the society will be cleaner, safer and better for us all if we could take up projects like that.
We plan to start with Lagos State before going into other states. We would also set up branches in countries like the US and the UK where we hope to raise funds and bring back to Africa to support the project.
We are working hard to make the rehabilitation centre a reality. Our committee chairman, the current PMAN President, is also working hard to put up a music concert to towards supporting the project.
I thank God however that the issue of youth restiveness is no longer as bad as it used to be. I still feel we have to do more to better the situation. This could be attributed to the various activities now put together by some governments and even non-governmental organizations to train young people in skills.
But what government can also do is encourage micro-finance organizations to assist small scale businesses. That way, more young people would be able to start up their own business. The process for getting these loans should also be made less cumbersome!
The loan shouldn’t be outrageous sums, anyway. For instance, there is an organization in Lagos State that is helping to buy taxis! They give them to people who are willing to work with them, and these people make returns from time to time until they pay up.
I’ve heard people say that operators of NGOs are swimming in money, but I do not think that is true. How would you collect people’s money without accounting for how they are spent? I’ve had support from the Lagos State government and some other people, but the truth is that I’ve spent more than what I’ve received from people!
It all depends on the level of passion an NGO operator has towards what he or she is doing! Apart from running an NGO, I’ve been a minister for over 15 years now. I have a prophetic ministry called the Reality of the Word Ministry.
If I were working for money, I would have closed down my NGO by now! In my office as a pastor, people come to me for counseling and help. So, I’ve been into charity work for as long as I’ve been a minister. When people come to me, I ordinarily feel the urge to affect their lives positively.
I do not like them to go back to their houses just like that! To run a charity organization, you must have the passion. Otherwise, you will run into trouble. Besides, I have my name to protect as a minister!
Through the African Charities Worldwide Foundation, I wish to be remembered just like Mother Theresa. I want African Charities Worldwide Foundation to be remembered for touching lives.’