Diaspora Relief was founded in response to horrific situation in Ukraine — Olufunmilayo Oladejo
Olufunmilayo Oladejo

Olufunmilayo Adeleye Oladejo has a special calling to give people hope. Empathy and generosity are the words that come to mind when you think of Olufunmilayo Adeleye Oladejo. She is an entrepreneur and a humanitarian. The power woman’s heart of generosity made her start Project Hope Nigeria, PHN , a non-profit  focused collaboration, envisioned to cater to the needs of Nigerians in these struggling times amidst unstable policies affecting the populace.

In the same vein, she co-founded Diaspora Relief with Ijeoma Onyekwere in response to the horrific situation with the Ukraine war. Diaspora Relief is a collection of members across the pan-African Diaspora who are deeply concerned about the difficulty experienced by Black people in their attempt to escape the war conditions currently unfolding in Ukraine. The non-profit  currently has operations in Ukraine (Uzhhorod only) Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, and Nigeria.

The amazon who wears many hats is also the CEO at Fum Bam Agro -investment company, a business venture with the aim of providing quality products in the agricultural sphere.  Funmi is also the Executive Director of CTCAfrica, a tech NGO providing free tech training and certification to secondary students in Nigeria. The NGO also empowers them and connects them to universities for scholarship opportunities, showcasing their talent to tech companies for recruitment and building a silicon valley in Nigeria.

She also doubles as a Senior project manager at Fibo Construction services. The accounting graduate from University of District of Columbia also has certifications in Computer information system, Project Management certification amongst others. Funmi also expresses her passion for humanity through Thechatroomng on Twitter, her online talkshow which runs every Saturday at 5pm. The show puts the spotlight on everything that has to do with having a healthy relationship. When Olufunmilayo is not working, she loves to spend time with her family, whom she describes as her entire world. She shares her story in this exclusive interview.

Did your childhood prepare you in any way for what you do now?

My Childhood played a vital role in who I am today. My paternal grandparents raised me and my grandfather of blessed memory instilled high values in me. From the moment I could walk, he was there with me at every step of the way. He was an academia, had 2 PhD degrees from Oxford University and UCLA, so you can imagine just how smart the man was.

He taught me everything from academics, to politics (he loved politics way too much and his honesty with it cost him so much and himself and Awolowo suffered bitter betrayal from their very own people) to leadership, and the most important, was leading me to Jesus. He gave his life to Christ after the whole political madness and he showed me how to have a relationship with God, taught me how to pray and how to understand God and this is the bedrock of it all.

God is everything to me and he continues to open mighty doors and I know my Grandpapa is super happy in heaven right now, watching me proudly and cheering me on!

What inspired you to start Fum Bam Agro -investment company?

My husband is the main brain behind Fum Bam. He gave me the go-ahead to run it because of his current work engagements. The vision is to open a secured and trustworthy partway for Nigerians in the Diaspora to invest in agriculture. It’s time we all come together to begin to tackle the problems in our nation by ourselves since the government continues to fail us.

Agriculture is a very important and vital department, very profitable and so necessary for the economy of any nation. The North knows that but the southern seems to be more interested in the regular 9-5 white collar stressful jobs. At Fumbam we consult with you, help source, and procure farmlands, farm management services and liaison goods with prospective buyers.

You are also the executive director of a tech company and senior project manager of a construction company. Tell us more about these ventures.

Yes! So, the Tech Ngo, CTCAfrica is my newest engagement, and I am super proud and happy to be on the board. What we do at CTCAfrica to provide free tech training to secondary school students across Nigeria and Africa. We need to invest in our future. We cannot have our children suffer the same fate most of us suffered.

Giving them this training with certifications will equip them to make a living, be industrious, be creative, curb crime, give them a better chance, open doors of greater opportunities and make them noble and notable citizens of the society. CTCAfrica launched in May and to date we have 200 students from 5 secondary schools already enrolled. Denis Ayomide is the Founder of this NGO and I am super honored to be doing this with him.

I love construction. I love to bring an empty spot to life. It’s a man’s world but I love all the challenges it brings. I started working in a construction company at the age of 24, but in the accounting department curiosity got the best of me, and I started following the project manager to the sites and carefully learned it all with his help.

He encouraged me to get my project management certification which I did, and my boss immediately switched my role from accountant to a project manager and the rest is me doing what I truly love. Construction is super fun, easy and just super simple for me. I mean you get to build something that will last for years for people to live in, network while at work and share a drink with the guys after every project completion!

Project Hope Nigeria is your flagship humanitarian project, what’s the inspiration behind it, and what is it all about?

Project Hope Nigeria was created in response to provide aid and relief to the June 12 protesters last year. The shock we all experienced as the rights of Nigerians were violated on democracy day and the Twitter ban happened at the same time. We launched into action, we had solidarity groups protesting in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja and Ekiti.

We got lawyers that bailed out protesters for free, donated data for online protester and configured free VPN access points to trend the hashtag #keepiton. After everything, I sat down and wept, got up, prayed and told my husband I had to do more, to continue the work, and he gave me his full backing.

Project Hope Nigeria is a Humanitarian focused collaboration envisioned to cater to the needs of Nigerians in these struggling times amidst unstable policies affecting the populace. Our end-goal is to empower people through different grants and assistance programs to those who are in need. Project Hope Nigeria is about compassion, spreading love and giving hope, especially to the helpless. Helping others is not restricted to monetary values, we also channel to build bridges to financial freedom, development of entrepreneurship skills, self-improvement workshops and so on.

You founded Diaspora Relief during the thick of the Ukraine war to support Nigerian students living there. What’s the core vision of the initiative moving forward?

Diaspora Relief was founded by me and Ijeoma Onyekwere in response to the horrific situation with the Ukraine war. Two Nigerian women came together for the sake of humanity. Diaspora Relief is a collection of members across the pan-African Diaspora who are deeply concerned with the difficulty experienced by Black people in their attempt to escape the war conditions currently unfolding in Ukraine.

We catered for students and families within our reach with evacuation, accommodation, feeding, therapy, academic consultancy amongst other basic amenities. We currently have operations in Ukraine (Uzhhorod only) Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, and Nigeria. We are working to set up in Finland and Portugal in the coming weeks as we continue to help resettle these students and their families.

Our core vision is to be there wherever black people of African descent need emergency aid anywhere in the world.

 How has the journey been since you started?

The journey has been great, I cannot even lie. I have met so many good people in Nigeria that have made this journey somewhat easy. I mean reliable and disciplined people that yearn to do something impactful. I met them all on Twitter. Yes, Twitter is super powerful, and my team have made this journey way easier than expected.

Tell us about your Twitter initiative TheChatroom Ng?

Thechatroomng is my joy and pride! It’s a Twitter space talk show that runs every Saturday at 5pm WAT. The audio show is based on very thin relationships! We talk about everything that has to do with having a healthy relationship, we cruise and vibe the entire time but learning as we go.

My main objective with the show is creating a comfortable, no judgement zone space to talk, network, mingle and just have fun. My friends are the best and support the show by donating data, cash and various prize giveaways for the attendees. We laugh a whole lot, and the feedback is always so positive and encouraging. We call Thechatroomng the Relationship VIBE’s Machine

You are happily married with kids; how do you balance it all?

My Husband is my greatest support, he helps me with everything. He is always there to help me out when it gets overwhelming and encourages me to keep going. In the early days of the Ukraine war, during the evacuation stages, I barely slept, kept 23 hours a day shift, just working non-stop to get Nigerians and black people to safety.

My husband held it all down for me and I will be forever grateful to him for that. He acts like my grandpapa, always holding my hands and leading me all the way to victory.

Mention 3 women who inspire you and why

My mother — Olabisi Dayo-Kayode — this woman right here is everything! I learnt so much from her. So, she had me at a young age, but she went back regardless of everything and overcame it. She holds two master’s degrees, a CFO of a microfinance company, runs multiple owned businesses and currently in the States working as a Senior Auditor. Her life and all that she continues to achieve is super amazing.

Olamide Ogidan-Odeseye -Lammy is just a unique human being, her kind is super rare, her energy is premium! Lammy is super intelligent, kind-hearted and her heart is pure. She inspires me to do it all, she wears multiple hats, and she can juggle all roles brilliantly.

Myself. I inspire myself daily as when I see all that God has done in my life, I am completely amazed. From the delivery room in Bauchi, Nigeria, that tiny baby to this wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent woman, having scaled thousands of obstacles and overcame them!  Look at God, look at me!

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