”Farming and helping the vulnerable are dear to me”
Poised to affect her world, Mrs. Susan Waibode Lokpobiri, a former banker-turned entrepreneur is fulfilling her dreams of going into full-scale farming as well as extending a helping hand her to the less-privileged through her Reach Foundation located in her home state, Bayelsa, which has affected the lives people since its inception.
The Reach Women and Children Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that caters for the needy through empowerment, is one of Mrs. Susan Waibode Lokpobiri’s initiative targeted at indigents.
According to her, “It is my little way of giving back to the society especially the vulnerable ones. It is important we raise their hopes, while encouraging young people to get education. I have a school and also provide necessary materials to ensure good state of learning for them.”
The beauty expert who was once into fishery and has now ventured into full-scale farming said the passion started right from her secondary school days. “I was very good at Agricultural Science while in school and it motivated me. I should have ventured into full-scale farming immediately after schooling but a little discouragement held my farming ambition back. But then again, I rediscovered what was inside me and gave it a little push to get me started.
“The aspect of farming I am interested in is cassava, fishery and poultry. I remember when I was involved in fishery; believe me, it was huge profit for me; I couldn’t meet up with my demands. I stopped for a while because I now reside in Abuja with my family and so I will continue fishery and poultry here in Abuja and replicate it also in Bayelsa, but then cassava will solely be in Bayelsa.”
Mrs. Lokpobiri, however, noted that she has been able to manage her farms both in her home state and in Abuja because of the passion and dedication she has put into it. “The management and appreciation of this farming it just personal passion. When you are ready for it, you are ready for it. Like I said, I made it when I ventured into fishery, it was not a white collar job, and even if you work in an office, if you are passionate about something, go for it and achieve it.”
Speaking on the non-governmental organisation, the woman of many parts said the organisation is basically located in her home state and the community of her people.
“I try in my little way to reach the people of my community. It has been running for 10 years now and I am grateful to God for being my greatest source of motivation. We provide school materials for the children for reading and writing, sandals, school bags as well as grant scholarships to deserving students; being in an inland area which is surrounded by water, and these kids will only have to go across the river to have access to computers and technology, we have provided some to help them too.
“We also organise and celebrate festivities with the children in the community especially at Christmas. It was astonishing for me when we come around at Christmas and I see the shock in their faces because they have never seen Santa Clause before. Gradually, all that is becoming a thing of the past.”
On her growing up, Lokpobiri said: “I had my ups and downs; it was not so smooth for me. I was born into a family of nine; I am a twin and am the Taiwo. I had my primary education in Lagos and in 1985, I went to Rivers State to continue my secondary education. I attended the University of Port Harcourt and I studied Banking and Finance. After schooling, I became a banker and loved my job until I met my husband, Heineken Lokpobiri.
“When we got married, he objected to my profession and preferred I stay at home to take care of the home front and that was how I got into doing business as well as resuscitating my passion for farming and helping the vulnerable. Accepting my husband’s decision was out of respect. I also didn’t just sit down and fold my arms, but I pray always for God to touch his heart to accept what is best for me. And so I encourage women to ensure that they do not just fold their arms doing nothing because God has given us the gifts to work with, if only you can identify what you love to do, not forgetting that you must start somewhere to get where you want. If you try to start big then, you are planning to crash.”
For her, leisure time is usually in church. “I pray a lot, I exercise too and read Christian books. God has been the greatest influence in my life. My look is just as a result of pampering; as a beautician I also have to look it. She, however, despises people who complain a lot and distant themselves from God.