…Parents should work hard to prevent raping of minors via hawking
BY MOSES NOSIKE
Mrs Damilola Adefemi, a woman of many parts—an entrepreneur, real estate developer, who builds for Nigerians in diaspora,philanthropist and a gospel musician reaching out to a lot of people in the society with her personal earning. In this interview, the Managing Director, Eliel Group of Companies, revealed how her passion for entrepreneurship during her youth positioned how she ventured into business. According to her, “I’m fulfilled using some percentage of my earning to empower the less privileged. Excerpts:
How did you acquire skills that gave birth to Eliel Group?
During my university days, I learned timber business from my grandfather whenever school was on vacation. At a point, I started timber business; of which I was enjoying the revenue even though I was still in school and my parents were footing my bills. With that timber business, I became a money lender to my friends, course-mates because I had enough money as a student. To add to timber business, I started catering services during weekends.
From there, I started property construction, developing more ideals for bigger businesses and innovations that gave birth to Eliel Group of Companies in Nigeria and abroad. After my marriage, my husband brought in the media aspect that deals in advertising. Meanwhile, I swopped from full time studies to part-time (LASU) because of the entrepreneurial spirit in me, so I would have time to achieve my God-given vision in life which is today manifesting.
With your companies home and abroad, why are you into music?
This is a calling I received three years ago. Suddenly I started hearing angels singing new songs I have never heard before through dreams and sometimes in my quiet and private time. I tried resisting it knowing that I’m already a busy person, but the more I resist, the more songs I receive. I also discovered that the more I resist, the more challenges I faced. Until I yielded to the call, things began to follow in line again. So, I started gathering those songs and the first time I released my first album I printed three thousand free copies. Today I have the songs on Youtube and most TV stations.It is usually aired on Radio too.
As a Group Managing Director of companies, why did you introduce DamilolaAdefemi Foundation?
My motive is to reach out to the needy generally. We focus on orphanages and children born in the prisons. Recently we visited Pacelli School for the Blind, Living Faith Foundation, Little Saint Orphanage, Kirikiri Prison, SOS Ogun State, etc. and we intend to reach out to many less privileged in the society as these donations could help their education.
Who are your partners at DamilolaAdefemi Foundation?
Presently, I don’t have partners; I don’t solicit funds from anybody. Some percentage of earning from my companies are used to fund the foundation on a monthly basis and the less privileged homes and generally those who are in need. That is my focus. But like I said, I am not soliciting for fund or intending to collect donation from people to do this, but if anybody sincerely wants to join me, the person is welcome and that is to help reach out to more people in our society beyond the limit of my resources.
Having visited several less privileged homes with donations, how do you feel at the end of the day?
I find it a great pleasure to put smiles on the faces of people especially the less privileged ones in the society, because a lot of them feel they don’t belong to the society; meanwhile they are part of us. They need a lot on a daily basis as human beings. They need food, shelter, clothing etc. They also deserve good things in this world the same way we cater for our own children.
But the question is, who caters for them? It is only Philanthropists like myself and few others who feel like showing love to a neighbour. A neighbour doesn’t only mean your next door person. Whoever you can help is your neighbour, friend and the person you care for. Honestly it gives me endless joy that I’m privileged to do that to people and I believe that is what God wants me to do; and I’m fulfilled.
What is your view about people who collect donations in the name of helping less privileged and divert it to their personal use?
I feel very sad each time I hear that people or group of persons would collect donations, money and use it for their personal need instead of sending it to the less privileged. I cry over why people, after seeing the condition of those people, become heartless to involve in such dubious character, and this is one of the reasons I don’t feel comfortable going out there to ask for support.
That is why I’m doing this within my financial capability. But whoever wants to support is allowed. This is also another reason we file all our activities in the foundation with receipts. Based on this, I would want government to set up agencies that would monitor NGOs and so-called foundations regularly and ensure that donations collected for the less privileged in the society are truly given to them.
Raping of minors is increasing in our society, what would be your suggestions?
That could be a psychiatric problem. Personally, I can’t see any sexual attraction in children. It is not only teenagers; I read ina national dailies of how some able bodied men rape a 5-year-old girl. It’s an abominable act going on in the society.
This is not a governmental responsibility but parental responsibility and the community at large. Some parents are very careless with their children. We need to really protect our female children, even the boys. It is the responsibility of parents to protect their children and not the maid.
It might not be easy to combine work and family care but in every challenge there must be a solution. Some parents carelessly watch their teens wear seductive dresses without restricting them or telling them reasons they should not wear those dresses. When a female teenager wears such dresses, of course she would attract rape and as a young girl she might not be able to manage the situation and will eventually fall victim. Parents need to teach them morals and the way of God.
Some teenagers fall victim of rape through hawking, who do we blame?
Parents need to protect their children. It is the duty of parents to work and provide daily need for their children. It doesn’t necessarily mean that parents must be extremely rich but the little you have let your child enjoy it and be content. Teach them how to be content within your capability. Several times, I presented our native food to my children, they rejected it but my response would always be thank Jehovah for what you have because others have but they can’t eat, many can eat but they don’t have, so enjoy it.
You don’t need to send your child hawking, you do the hawking by yourself because government condemns children hawking around the streets or on the roads during or after school hours. So it’s not acceptable; parents should stop their children from hawking. It’s the parent that should work for their children and not children working for their parents.
Major challenges women are facing today and the way out?
Gender inequality should be totally eradicated in our society, so that we don’t kill talents that are supposed to be nation builders. We need to engage in programmes and forums that would enlighten us more on gender inequality. Women should be given more opportunities without conditions.