Folakemi Adesina: I founded Do Good Charity to give voice to marginalised children, women
Folakemi Adesina is the Founder of Do Good Charity Initiative, a foundation through which she has impacted well over 5000 children and women across different states in Nigeria. She is a seasoned lawyer with exceptional work ethics and a passion for Property Law and Company Secretarial Practice.
The Olabisi Onabanjo University graduate and award winning innovative leader is also the Lagos State Coordinator for Good Deeds Day International, a global movement for doing good, she is also the Ambassador for Global Impact Network. Under her leadership, Do Good Charity Initiative launched Jeans For Social Impact Project, where used jeans are up-cycled into eco-friendly school bags. This project has impacted over 2000 children in underserved communities.
A passionate change agent and humanitarian fuelled by real life situations of children and women living in underserved communities, she strongly believes in poverty eradication amongst people. Happily married and blessed with kids, she shared her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.
I was born into a Godly family. My parents were educationists and disciplinarians who valued education and believed in raising a child in a Godly way. As the only girl in the family, I was taught to be useful and responsible, engaging in different activities in the house. I learnt how to work with others, lead with confidence, and contribute my quota to my community in my little way. My parents actively participate in community services in church and with their permission; I started volunteering at a tender age. Growing up, I was essentially taught to stand up for what I believe in.
Inspiration Behind Do Good Charity Initiative
I am happy to be amongst people making positive changes in the world. I founded the Do Good Charity Initiative, because I want to give children and women a VOICE and a chance at a better life. I started volunteering at a very tender age, as far back as 2004. My volunteering experience started with Garnet Youth Foundation in Osogbo, Osun State.
As a serial volunteer working with children, I had a better understanding of their struggles. I have seen how hard children and women work to meet their basic needs. This fueled a desire in me to address real-life situations of children and women living in slums and underserved communities. The organisation was founded to lift children and women out of poverty. Our activities include (but not limited to) food banking, Love Without Limits (an annual food and clothing drive outreach), Jeans for social impact (school bags and shoes swap program), Undies for every child (awareness on prevention of child sexual abuse) and Women Empowerment programmes.
The Journey So Far
The journey has been fantastic, filled with different experiences and challenges. Putting smiles on people’s faces makes me feel fulfilled. The major challenges that come with running an NGO are Management and Fundraising. As a non-profit organisation, we rely solely on public financial support, and seeking such funds comes with accountability and transparency on public benevolence. To ensure this, we carry out in-depth research to identify the most vulnerable, ascertain their exact needs and work towards meeting those needs.
Jeans For Social Impact Project
It was born out of a desire to meet the major needs of children while saving the environment. It is an up-cycling project where jean wears are turned into school bags and lunch boxes for children in need of them. Textile waste is the third-largest contributor to dry waste in Nigeria and is a massive environmental problem. Therefore, if a pair of jeans is up-cycled, the electricity and water needed to make a new product can be conserved.
Impacting Over 5000 Children Across Nigeria Through My Work
As an advocate, I’m able to go beyond ‘passion’ and ‘talks’ to identify needs and solve tangible problems people (orphans, widows, women, and children living in slums) face. Illiteracy is part of the non-education problem, with Nigeria having one of the highest out-of-school rates. This is why I’m working to ensure that these children are enrolled in schools; provided with books, bags, shoes, uniforms, and encouragement.
Beyond immediate needs, empowering women through vocational training, to be able to cater for their children, are parts of the projects I am working on. I believe, and it’s important; we don’t leave any child behind because they all matter. Anybody can be an advocate for anything as long as the interest is honest. I also feel that there’s so much more I need to do so, so many lives to be touched.
The Society, The Act Of Giving And It’s Knowledge Of Charity
To an extent, Nigerians are known to be among the most generous people on the planet. In a recent global survey conducted by the World Giving Index, it was discovered that almost two-thirds of Nigerians spend time helping another human being. The goodness of heart of the Nigerian people is reflected in their donations to the needy.
The act of giving brings together Nigerians, to help them achieve a common goal of helping those who are less privileged than them. However, we need to keep creating awareness on generosity and kindness; celebrating acts of giving and the importance of giving back to society.
Getting the required funding and sponsorship to support our projects is one of the major challenges we face. From companies to partnering with other non-governmental organisations, to seeking support from our local audience, this challenge has posed itself as an opportunity to put our best foot forward by engaging in strategic communication, follow-ups, networking activities, and strategically positioning ourselves for better prospects. There’s still a long way to go through.
Another challenge we are faced with is identifying beneficiaries that are truly in need and streamlining their numerous needs. With operations in one of the largest cities in Africa, the rate of poverty and illiteracy is relatively higher. However, we can only reach a number of communities (and people) due to limited resources.
Some other challenges include lack of fairer distribution of resources, political interference in development issues, and the lack of potential human resources. As a humanitarian, I believe in empowering people and as we seek to expand our reach, we ensure that whatever resources we get are fully utilized to meet the direct needs (in line with the organization’s mission and value).
Three Women Who Inspire You To Be Better And Why
Malala Yousafzai, her story inspires me a lot and I admire her love for girls and her passion for access to quality education. Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is another extraordinary person who inspires me through her works. From her teachings, I have understood how I can multitask; being a wife, a mother and at the same time a workaholic. She’s one worthy of emulation.
Michelle Obama stands out as one of the most passionate and accomplished First Ladies in history, because of her charisma, compassion and powerful speeches. I’m also inspired through her works with girls – funding girls’ education and tackling everything from leadership to poverty.
Being A Woman Of Rubies
Folakemi Adesina is a woman of rubies and more. She is just the right blend of beauty and brains. Comfortable in her own skin, releasing positive vibes, innovative, and with quick wits. I’m a lady of good values and one of those unique individuals with a heart for humanity.