INTERVIEW : "The Executive Director Help Initiative Nigeria/Tabitha Home Speaks with Akomolafe-Ayomikun Blog (AAB)"

"Mrs Febisola Okonwo, the Executive Director of Help Initiative Nigeria/Tabitha Home, Who has two Degrees in "Communication & Language Arts" from the prestgious University of Ibadan shares her experience with Akomolafe-Ayomikun Blog (AAB) on Help Initiative Nigeria/Tabitha Home and more".

Can we meet you ma?

 I'm Febisola Okonkwo, I'm from Ile-Oluji in Ondo state, i had both my primary and secondary school education in Ile-oluji, which is in Ondo state as well.
I'm born into a family of nine children and i happen to be the last child of the family. i was born many years after my siblings were born and that is why i am often referred to as the "the Child of Retirement".
I left home at the age of 17 to join my siblings who were in Lagos and Ibadan respectively to start my University Institution at the Premier University of Ibadan to study Communication and Language Arts and since then I've been in Ibadan.

What actually inspired you into caring and Keeping of Children which led to Tabitha Home?

Well, it's all being in me from the beginning, (consciously and unconsciously). When i got to the University of Ibadan and you know in those days our parents would love their children to study medicine, law, pharmacy, engineering and those other nice courses.
Actually, i wanted to study Law but somehow i couldn't get in to study it and i chose Communication and Language Arts as my second choice. I later came in and had my First and Second Degree in Communications and Language Arts, but during the process of studying Communication and Language Arts, i was taking some elective courses in Guidance and Counseling, sociology and psychology department and i found out that i was actually excelling more in those courses more than my main core courses and later i found out that my heart has always been there, because as a young girl i found it very convenient and interest taking care of young kids and other people, hearing them, counseling them and attending to their needs and all of that.
And since I've been in the University i always visit the orphanages till when and got married and fortunately for me, my husband happens to be someone who has always loved to accommodate people especially kids and children.
I've always been interested in taking care of kids over the years through all aspects of my editorial job with publishing companies and even later when i moved to the banking sector till now.
So in 2006, we started Help Initiative Nigeria which has "Tabitha Home" as an undercover body.
Actually, before we started this home, most of my relations and friends would refer children with challenges, disabilities and other issues to me and I'll just gather my family, relations and friends together to help the abandoned children.

What has been the challenges?

That has been the very question most people ask me and most times they'll say you must be very rich and sometimes they say some organizations must have been supporting and sponsoring us all these while, but that is not really true.
Over the years, the major obstacle and challenge we have faced in this aspect of our work is the increase in the number of vulnerable children especially in Nigeria and in the world as a whole. it is even more pronounced with the Boko Haram issue not here in the West but in the Northern part of Nigeria where we have children whom have been displaced with their parents and we even have most of them on the street begging for alms, hawking and the rest of them and this is disheartening when we see those children that are vulnerable that shows the economic, emotional and financial strength of the nation.

How supportive have people been to helping Help Initiative Nigeria especially Tabitha Home?

I want to thank God for the type of Family that i have, relations and friends, supporters, volunteers and donors.
I have enjoyed so much from them all round, and i have also enjoyed the support of the people that know me in the community because in the last few years even without being a registered organization, people know that this is what I (Febi) has been doing and we're still moving up ahead and it has been a success.

Where do you see Help Initiative Nigeria in the Next Few Years?

Well, i tell people that the best thing that can happen to a child is to live in a family where there is love, affection, peace, care, provision (food, clothing, shelter, support and all the necessary things).
And you know the Bible says "The poor we'll always have around us"
So i wish we could help more children in the next few years to come than we are doing now, and give them the basic support that they need, which their parents never gave to them.
And i wish children won't stay away from their parents but in a situation where that is not happening, they will have to be in a home where all basic needs are to be provided for them.
And i do tell the staffs that you are replacing their parents at this level, so we need to give them the basic needs and support that this children need, the ability to talk, and say their mind.

Any Regrets so far?

Not really, but i think the regret is that i would have started 20years earlier but i started 10years ago.
And my basic fear then was that where will the money (fund) come from, Acceptability (How people will know that this project is geniue and they will want to sow into it).
I'll always tell my husband then that i will start when i am rich and i am a kind of person who doesn't like forcing people to donate things and help a programme or initiative, but people who know the value have always been there to give their time, money, donations and so much more to save the lives of these kids.
I'm not saying funding is not a challenge but we are coping by God's grace and we are moving.

When are you moving to your permanent Site?

Well, we are hopeful and prayerful about that, because presently we don't have a piece of Land and we are paying a lot, we pay so much for where we are now which includes accommodation, feeding, school fees, and you know the price of everything is moving up higher these days especially food stuffs and our children love taking Rice a lot.
So we are hoping and prayerful about it and we know something will come up soon.
We appreciate our care-givers, volunteers, sponsors and other people out there for how far they've been helping us and we thank God for everything.

Heard you wrote a Book recently titled "Roses Of My Passion" What was the Inspiration Behind the Book?

Well, i thank Almighty God for Everything he has done in my Life and all he is still going to do.
"The inspiration behind the book is simply to let tell and inform the world how the journey of my Life has been. Roses have two sides; Beauty and Thorns, so are my experiences and journey in Life which also includes my passion and career, my work and walk with social service especially charity has been very interesting but yet challenging; demanding and tasking, yet fulfill."

I could not have asked for another.

So, that was the Inspiration behind the Book.


Words of Advice To Parents out there?

I want to tell our parents that "A Child is what you put into a Child".
So, a child needs so much so as to grow up and become what he/she wants to become.
A child need basic family values and Love. Our parents needs to be good and well, that is when our child will come out good too.
Other basic needs of the child includes:- Food, Clothing, shelter, Education and so much more. It is what you put into a child that is what the child becomes.
If a child comes from a Family where the parents are violent and exchange words and blows to each other, where anger rules the house, i tell u that child will come out negative, both now and in the future, no matter how wealthy the child may become later in life those traits will be in him/her and will affect the child negatively, but when a child comes out of a family where the child is adored, where peace and Love reigns and everything goes in a smooth way, the parents love each other, the child will come out well and will respect people even when not told to do so.
So, our parents should try to keep and maintain their marriages and home, even out of their own selfish reasons if they can help it. they hould try as much as possible to have the fear of God in their hearts because of those children so that in the future, we can have a good and healthy family, an healthy nation, an Healthy community and the world can be at peace.

Words for Abandoned children out there?

I want to tell all the kids out there who have been abandoned in one way or the other by their parents, step-fathers or mothers, guardians that all hope is not lost, a saying goes thus "A living Dog is better than a dead lion".
God has a purpose for everyone and especially for all children out there, there is a purpose for them being alive.
We have heard of the stories of people who were brought up in homes like this and they were successful and achieved their dream and ambition. The likes of Ben Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Joyce Meyer and so many others.
So, they should not give up hope, they should move on with their life and know that God has a purpose and plan for their existence on earth.

Award Winning Blogger, Social Media Optimizer/Strategist & Entrepreneur.

Post a Comment


Previous Post Next Post