….As she graduates 180 students on different entrepreneur skills
By Funmi Ajumobi
Founder of JAKIN NGO, a non-governmental organization, Mrs. Bukola Adebiyi, has said entrepreneur and skill development is a key to unlocking the potentials of out-of-school youths, especially those from the slum who have no opportunity like their counterparts in the society.
This was revealed at the graduation ceremony of 180 youths, who just concluded three months youth empowerment training under the organisation, Fresh Foundation Project, sponsored and supported by ACT Foundation and Access Bank.
At the programme, held on Tuesday in Lagos, the JAKIN boss said her continuous push to empower youths was because of what she witnessed at the EndSARS protests.
According to her, the event showed that Nigerian youths were frustrated and, if there was no deliberate plan and action to come up with empowerment schemes that would build their morals; vocational skills, business management principles and life building schemes that will help them discover the purpose for them to be able to fulfil their destinies, Nigeria may have a tsunami.
“We need proactive leadership that has foresight, belief in the youths and understand that the future of the nation is with them; a leader that will invest in education and revamp the values of education sector. We are getting to the stage where going to school is no longer profitable. In those days you want your children to go to school, but now people are asking what the value of going to school is really. We need to reverse this abnormality because therein lies the foundation of sustainability of any nation,” she said.
Speaking further, Adebiyi said governments need to do more in the area of policy to encourage entrepreneurship, because, despite seemingly believing in entrepreneurship, Nigeria’s policy is still frustrating small businesses. Entrepreneurship will do better if government can create a conducive environment where businesses can thrive.
Admonishing the 180 graduands drawn from six slums of Lagos State, Adebiyi encouraged them that as ambassadors of JAKIN NGO, the best they can give back for what they have learnt in the three months training was to go back to their communities to impact their younger ones with knowledge and reduce the number of girls being impregnated, and boys turning into hoodlums, instead of focusing on their education.
“Don’t believe that life is about you alone. There is much more in giving back to the society. Multiply 180 of you by another. Each one of you can become an employer,” she added.
Appreciating ACT Foundation for their commitment and entrepreneur savvy, the JAKIN boss said between 2017 and 2022, they have sponsored trainings of 760 participants who are now creating jobs and adding values to the Nigerian economy and helping to boost businesses.
On her own part, Oluchi Okoroafor, Monitoring & Evaluation Associate, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, ACT,, congratulated the graduands and encouraged them to keep up with the skill they have acquired, which could easily make them achieve the impossible in life beyond their potentials.
She said the ACT Foundation is supporting JAKIN NGO because they are on the same page with her organisation in addressing economic and social challenges, whereby future generations are helped to maximize their potentials.
“I encourage youths not to give up, and to also allow their circumstances determine what they can be. They should focus on developing a skill”. She added.
Responding to their training, one of the beneficiaries, Yusuf Gbemisola said what she has learnt at the empowerment programme was what money could not buy. Gbemisola said she thought it was just a part of the normal things her parents have already taught her, but she now realised that it was true that charity might begin at home, but it doesn’t end there.
She, however, encouraged youths outside not to take chances and opportunities offered them for granted, because it might be a lifetime fate. “No knowledge is a waste.”
Another student, Ransome-Kuti Kofoworola, said her experience has been wonderful and added that she found a mentor in the JAKIN boss. She noted that most programmes she had attended in the past was always about HIV, sexual violence, gender violence, which she said was good, but for JAKIN to go out of the norms to invest in youths of the society is a different level to it. To her colleagues outside, she said: “Seize every opportunity you get. You still have time. You can achieve your dreams and aim higher.”
Goodness Ogigbo Chiamaka said she was privileged to be part of the people to benefit from the JAKIN training, adding that she could confidently make a bag and sell and raise money to support herself, and also train her younger ones and impact them the way JAKIN has impacted her life
“They trained us and supported us with transport fares and snacks every day. I wanted to learn skills so that when I get admission into the university I would be able to use the skill to make money for myself to support my education.”
The five vocational skills courses per number of beneficiaries were bag making (40); hair braiding (30); bead making and Ankara Craft (30); make-up, head gear tying and nail fixing (40), and ICT training (40).
According to the JAKIN boss, the most outstanding 16 participants will benefit from an all-expense paid excursion.
Among the 760 beneficiaries of the Fresh Foundation Project, FFP, 106 have started their own businesses, 66 have secured employment, using FFP certificates; 96 have gained admission into higher institutions, while 369 now have Access Bank savings accounts.