I take every challenge as a stepping stone towards greatness, I never give up
Her popularity soar high with her annual outreach, tagged “Project 5000”, a project she kicked off after the death of her philanthropist mum who died seven years ago. The initiative went viral on Facebook when she fed 5000 indigents children during Christmas and also supported them with basic school needs The single mum of twins who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Counselling from University of Ado Ekiti and Master’s of Arts in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Benue State university Makurdi also works with an oil and gas firm in Lagos, and also into Fabrics Retailing.
Defunke is passionate to see both children and adult live their potentials to maximum capabilities, she shares her story with me in this exclusive interview.
MY childhood prepared me because I grew up seeing my late mother, Funmilayo Adewumi, as a philanthropist who cared for indigent children, widows, orphans; feeding them, taking them off the street by providing shelter for them and sponsoring them in school.
She ensured that I parted with most of my things (food, shoes, cloths, bags, toys etc) to give to the less privilege and other children that cannot afford it.
She denied me the luxury of life, it used to be painful initially but I got use to it.
Christmas period is a carnival of sort because my mother will gather those street kids to organize party for them and make them feel like every other children.
Black Diamonds Support Foundation
The foundation, was a legacy foundation, that was established to continue from where my late mum stopped, however, she limited her philanthropy gestures to her local community, we took a step further to be a foundation that impact the lives of the less privileged, especially, women, children, the foundation has six active departments, namely: WATARA: Walk and Talk against Rape and Abuse, Project 5000 kids: Feeding indigent 5000 children during festive periods
Slums/Shanties Outreach, Medical Interventions/Emergencies, Pick A child Project/GirlChild Education Sensitization and Support for Teenage pregnant mums/babies
Inspiration behind “Project 5000”
Project 5000 was inspired after my mother’s death 7 years ago and for the first time in so long there was no party for the children.
My family has been used to feeding and caring for the poor in our immediate community, so I decided to continue doing what she does and even more.
I started small and ever since inception it has been growing yearly, the initial number was 500 kids and later 1000 kids.
Last year I took a bold step to increase the number to 5000 indigent kids which includes the homeless, orphans and the vulnerable and it was a huge success.
Project 5000 kids is not just about feeding the children, though they were fed twice due to the long duration of the event.
The children were given free medical care, school materials – bags, books, stationeries, cloths and even scholarships.
It was a carnival atmosphere with lots of music and dancing to make it a memorable experience.
Who and What inspire me
The lifestyle of my late mother that I grew up to know, giving and volunteering in her philanthropic causes inspires me.
Picking an homeless child inspires me, seeing an indigent child doing well in school, seeing a sick indigent child been well.
Hoping that all children have equal access to quality education, free health care and total wellbeing for them to achieve their potentials without any hindrances.
WATARA -Speaking up for victims of Rape
It is an on-going project and a department under Black Diamonds Support Foundation.
The meaning of WATARA is Walk And Talk Against Rape and Abuse, we are in 15 states in Nigeria at the moment.
What we do basically is to speak against rape that has been in the increase in recent past, we counsel victims of rape through our counselling unit with experts and professional counselors.
We also provide support for victims to get justice by facilitating arrest, detention and prosecution rapists.
WATARA has since August 2017 embarked on sensitization walk all over major cities in Nigeria, this campaign has also being taking to schools to sensitize children to be aware of ways to prevent being a victim of rape and abuse.
What we plan to do for year 2018 is to open up more counselling for rape vicitms, get justice for them by prosecuting more perpetrators of rape victims and bring them to book.
Challenges of running my foundation
Getting financial aid and material aid supports in ensuring success in our events, Archaic dangerous cultural norms, Patriarchy system of the indigents that forbids the girl-child education, Repeated Trainings and sensitization on health, education and general safety of themselves and children, and it seems they are adamant on their old ways of lives/mentality
Black diamonds support foundation in five years
We hope to have covered all the states in Nigeria and almost all West African countries; Benin Republic is in the pipeline at the moment.
In 5 years time we hope to have our Homes for victims of rape and four skill acquisition centre for widows, the indigents, and the teenagers who used to live on the streets.
We hope to have completed our home for the street babies, children and teenagers ( which include, a block of flat, a school and a well equipped clinic for them).
Then the Project 5000 would have been established in the six regions of Nigeria as well as other departments the foundation is known for.
Women in advocacy and development
We are been misconstrued of our intention to meet other people’s need.
People rather see us as competition meanwhile we ought to be collaborators.
Some even believe we are trying to take over the responsibilities of the government.
Genuine advocacy is that we are not been discourage by what people say or think but we really know what we want to achieve and we set out to achieve them.
Whether we are been appreciated or not is not the main thing but ensuring that we succeed in any advocacy we set out to do.
Yes. There are moments I feel overwhelmed, about the enormous work that is out there that we have to do, even though I know we cannot “save the world” but the fact that I consciously know there is much to do out there and little resources to get them done, makes me cry and almost throwing in the towel, but this happens in the spur of the moment, next moment, am up again, and ensuring, gearing up our selfless volunteers, that we cannot give up now.
Being a single mom and working two jobs
This is where I know that we carry so much strength in us, that we do not ever know, prior to my mum’s death, if I was told I can do all these things, I will scorn such a person.
My inner strength came to play when I realized that all these; my job, my kids, my passion are all important to me in fulfilling purpose, I handle all with grace, and my mantra: Whatever will be be, taking each day as it comes, and making the best use of my time.
To add to the list of my daily schedule, I run an online bridal asooke business as well.
Being a woman of Rubies
I am priceless, I take every challenge as a stepping stone towards greatness, I never give up.
No setbacks,hurdles can stop me, once my mind is made up to do what I want to do for humanitarian purposes.
To those who are hopeless…
Never give up, pick up whatever you think you have failed, be it education, relationships, career, whatever, give it another shot. We Only fail when we accept the failure.
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