In the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic that is ravaging the entire world, activities were almost brought to total halt with enormous humanitarian crisis. In this interview with the founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Lea Global Welfare Initiative, Lidwine-Lea Olivier Ameh, the Online Editor and Social Media Strategist, AbdulRahman Obaje, peruse the extent of impact the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Lockdown had on her NGO. Excerpts:
My name is Abdulrahman Obaje, an Online Editor and Social Media Strategist, may I meet you?
Thank you very much my name is Lidwine-Lea Olivier Ameh, I am the founder of Lea Global Welfare Initiative. An initiative that has been on for the past 3 years now. We have been working and working committedly and dedicatedly to ensuring that the welfare of Nigerians children, women and youths, and other people in Africa are being met. We have done that by reaching out to children, reaching out to the youths and reaching out to women.
We have very strong passion for widows and we have from our program, reached out to as much widows as we can, women, children this we are doing with individual help. We are organization that have decided to open up that light and make people realize that the welfare of every individuals matter.
When you ignore the welfare of an individual, it affects the person in question, it affects the society, and it affect the nation.
So we took this project and started it with one person and in the last couples of years now we have been able to reach out to as many children we know
For how long have you been in existence?
We have actually being officially in existence since 2018 but unofficially, we started our activity in 2017.
So, within this 3 years of your operation, what are your achievements?
Since 2017 we started, we have been able to create a back to school program. We have run several programs, one of which is our back to school program where we have been able to send back children that are out of school back to school and also children that are in school, we have created motivational program for them. Engaging them in intra-inter-school competition.
This has been able to help and gear up those that are in school and for children totally out of school, they have been put back to school, with their school fees paid, uniforms, books and every necessary things they need to get back to school. That is in the area of children.
Where women are concern, we created training programs for women which we tagged ‘Teach Them to Fish’. We teach them how to setup their own businesses, in the areas of Agriculture, teaching women basically from a small means.
For those that does not have any skill at all, it could be from knitting, to sowing, to hairdressing and to as, any things as what they can use to help themselves.
And for the youths, we embarked on different school leadership program so that they can know the importance of being leaders of our tomorrow.
In your profile, there is a boy, Benjamin, Did you said that Benjamin was the motivation, I mean how did you got started with the NGO work?
The NGO work actually started in 2017 with just that very, boy, Benjamin Nahari. Benjamin was out strolling at school hours looking for a means, something to do, a job to do and when he was questioned by the NGO, he said he needed to work, whatever he could do, from cutting grasses to washing plates for people, so that he could pay up his school fees.
Benjamin was taken up and he was put back to school and his school fees was paid.
And that was a motivating factor for me. And having done that, we realized that there are over a hundred people like Benjamin out of school and we started one by one assisting those we could help back to school with a means we could start with.
At what age did you helped Benjamin and where is Benjamin now?
Benjamin at that age was nine. Benjamin currently and at that time Benjamin was in primary four. Benjamin has finished his primary school and he was a boy who was living with his grand-parent. Apparently, his mother was late and his father was living back in Taraba State. So Benjamin after his primary school was able to successfully go back to his father to continue his secondary.
Benjamin assistance continued until he finished his primary school.
So, how is the COVID-19 Pandemic affecting your operations, looking at its ravaging effects on the entire world; and how have you been coping?
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health challenge that affected every organization, every sector, both government and private, and we are not left out.
This made it to be very difficult for us to access donor agencies and most of our beneficiaries. Our activities slated for the year 2020 has be grounded and shifted to the next year. So, I would tell you that things has not been easy in the face of the pandemic and the lockdown.
What is your take on the recent #EndSARS protest?
Looking at the protest, I would say it was a peaceful protest and their demands were actually legitimate. Looking at the demands of the people, protesters. But when you look at it holistically, you also look at the part of the government. The government has also been able to do something to an extent but I believed that the government can still look deeper and do more. They are trying but I believe they can still take a mile step forward to meeting and being able to sorting everything out.
Are you aware that there are different government programs, something like the CBN AGSMEIS, what is your plan in accessing this programmes for your beneficiaries and what are your constraints?
Thank you very much. We as an organization and as a body, intend to partner with the government and other stakeholders to let them come in and see what we are doing. Why? Because, the training we take on especially in the agricultural sector need the individual and the parties involved including the government to come in and see what we are doing and support what we are doing financially and what have you.
We need as much supports as we can get from them because it would go a long way to sorting lot of issues that is on ground right now
So, what is your message to the government and the people?
My message to the government is that I have a laid a carpet down, inviting the government to come in and support Lea Global Welfare Initiative. Why should government support Lea Global Welfare Initiative? Government should support us because Lea Global has the access to the youth that are out there hanging out not doing anything. Lea Global is able to annex them together put them on training and be able to move them forward. Give them the leadership skill they need to be able to work with government
And for the women, we have the platform to organize as many women as possible. We are reaching out to as many widows and through our organization, the widows would see also what the government is doing for them.
For the individuals, we are inviting them also to come in and partner with us to support as many women, as much youths and as many children that are outside there, out of schools. On your own, you can’t do it, but when you come together as a body, you can be sure that your support is getting somewhere.
Our watch word is transparency, so you know that what you are putting in, you are getting back. Thank you.
- Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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