BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
Her life reflects the scripture verse which says “Let us not be weary in doing good…” Despite the loss of her beloved husband and only child to the scourge of death, Mrs.Titilayo Ramatu Ojeifo’s passion for impacting lives has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. Here, Titi, the current President of Soroptimist International of Lagos Mainland, who is the General Manager, Industrial Equipment Division, R.T Briscoe Nigeria Plc, shares her plans to intensify her service to God through service to humanity. Enjoy!
How do you feel about being president of the Soroptimist International of Lagos Mainland?
I’ve deferred it for six years but when I realised that one might never find time for a worthwhile course unless one is determined, I had to succumb. I also considered the fact that I’ve always been passionate about the progress of the girl-child and women in general. Even in my office, I make sure I employ skillful women. There weren’t many women in R.T.Briscoe but I made sure I brought skilled women into the organization, as a way of promoting the girl-child – which is the essence of Soroptimist International. In fact, this was what attracted me to the organization when I stumbled on it while surfing the internet in 2003.
You mean nobody introduced you to the organization?
Yes! I just stumbled on their website and when I read what they stood for, I dropped a message. They responded from England and sent somebody from this club- Soroptimist International of Lagos Mainland the next day to contact me through the information I dropped.
Why the interest in Soroptimist? Were you in a group with same ideology?
Not really. Except that I’ve always learnt to start with myself in the quest for a change. My late husband and I for example, always ensured we sent all our house-helps to school. My last help spent six years with us and left with her senior school leaving certificate cleared. That’s one way I serve humanity. While growing up as well, my parents always ensured our house-helps went to the same school we attended. Everybody would gather in the car and even when it was time to eat, we all ate together on the dining table. I luckily married somebody who had the same mind. I however do not keep house-helps because my husband is late now.
How about the children?
I had one, but she’s late also. Helping women and girls through Soroptimist is now my passion.
I’m sorry about that. So, what are your plans for your tenure?
The theme for this Soroptimist year is ‘Inspiring Action, Transforming Lives’ while our focus is to empower and enable women and girls. So, the first plan I have is to work closely with our school, the Soroptimist International School of Lagos Mainland in Lawanson. We’ve got the highest standard of Montessori and adult literacy but we charge very little because we bear the cost of running the school. Presently, we need to establish a very good standard library and sanitary facilities. One of the ways we hope to ‘enable’ is to create a quality environment for the people we’re empowering in the school, and that’s why we’ve decided to embark on the establishment of a good standard library and sanitary facilities. Also, because healthcare is another way of empowering people, our National President, Best Sister Olufunmilola Buraimoh-Ademuyewo, is very passionate about giving free screening tests to women, considering the rise in breast, cervical and uterine cancer. As part of her programmes, Mrs.Buraimoh would be buying mammograms. However, because of convenience, I’ve decided to organize cancer screening tests for indigent women. We’re partnering with some doctors at the Lagos State General Hospital, and we’ll bear the cost. As many women that are available, we would screen; even if it’s fifty. If funds allow, we’ll also include cervical screening. So, what I hope to do now is embark on a very forceful fund-raising by talking to my colleagues and friends.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind after your 2-year tenure?
I’m building on the foundation of my predecessor, Best Sister Funmi Odunsi. By the time my tenure is over, I’m hoping that our school would have been at par with the best private schools in terms of facilities and educational standard. Secondly, I’m hoping that we would have been able to screen as many women as possible for cancer. Depending on the availability of funds also, we plan to give micro-credit to indigent women. I’m also considering the adoption of a child because those are the kind of things we do in Soroptimist. Years ago, this club took a motherless baby and educated her to university level. The baby in question is employed and married now! She actually graduated with a 2.1 from Bowen University. I think it’s time we adopted another baby, so, I’m going to look at that.
What’s your philosophy about life?
As a Catholic, I believe life is about service; and that’s what I’m here to do. I believe in serving God through my service to mankind. My mentor is Jose Maria Escriva and he has taught me so much about living a life of service. I’ve had a lot of tragedies, but I’m happy and contented because I believe life should be about service despite any misfortune. I’ve accepted my experience and I’m using it to impact other lives. I’m not sitting down moaning like one who has no God. My daughter was a month to her fifteenth birthday when she passed-on, and I miss her so much. The 21st of May, 2013 was the 7th anniversary of her demise, and that day was very depressing for me though it coincided with my installation ceremony as the president of Soroptimist International of Lagos Mainland. God has always been there for me anyway, so, I face each day, ensuring I impact lives everywhere I go.