‘I’m not ashamed to be a newspaper vendor’- Lamidi Opeyemi
Someone once said the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything, This is what Lamidi Opeyemi’s life journey is all about. When you meet her you would think she has it all going well for her till you hear her story. Her zeal and optimism seems to be her secret weapon.
At the age of 10, she sold pepper alongside her mum in their small community in Osun state, Nigeria, this in no little way set her entrepreneurial life journey; from washing clothes for people to making coconut oil, starting a mini importation business and selling Newspaper on Sundays. Opeyemi has refused to stay down, she rose from the ashes of adversity to take responsibility of her life.
In this interview, she reveals how she is balancing her role as an entrepreneur, wife and mother to a brilliant cerebral palsy child and still keep her head above water.
My childhood prepared me for what I do, I was born and brought up in Kuta Ayedire local government in Osun state. My late mother was a pepper seller, she introduced me to the business when I was 10 years old i did it till i finish secondary school.
Being a newspaper vendor
After my son treatment in 2015, my husband business crashed, he became a full-time newspaper vendor, I was also forced to stay at home because my first son is living with a medical condition called cerebral palsy (a neurological disorder that affects movement, muscles tone, motor skills, and posture caused by brain damage that occurs during childbirth or early years of life) he’s fully depending on us to do everything, my husband doesn’t earn much and we have a lot of bills to pay. I started the mini importation business but noticed that I need a business that can bring money every day, I added shea butter business to it, I told my husband that I also want to start selling paper at Ppl bus stop on Sunday since the owner of the paper stand doesn’t sell on Sunday. My mother in law, sister in law and neighbors daughters are always at home on Sunday and help with my special need child while I go and make ends meet.
Managing my business and motherhood
It is very tough i spent most of my time in my mother in law house since she is the only one i can trust with my special needs son, i also make sure my business doesn’t affect my Kids and marriage in any way.
Being a mom to an amazing special needs child.
Yes, I have a 4 years old son(DEMILADE) Living with cerebral palsy fully depending on others to do simple things. Alhamdulillah, I thank God for His mercy upon us, I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone , Thanks to my ever supportive mother in law, who often times take care of him when I go about my business.
My special needs kid and Mothers of special needs kids who are thriving in their chosen career Inspire me .I am most Inspired by several philanthropist whom I’ve never met but play important roles in my life from a distance, it has also encouraged me to give back In my own little way.
Lack of funding for my business is my biggest challenge as my I need good capital to be successful in all my business ventures, not to mention epileptic power supply and the challenge of moving my coconut products.
I have felt like giving up countless times because I feel I’m too young for what I’m facing . However, I always encourage myself that giving up is not the best option.
Being a woman of rubies
I am a Woman of rubies because against all odds, I am making something out of my life regardless of the balls life has thrown at me. I joggling so many business to be a good mom and support system for my husband, whom I respect and honour so much. I am not ashamed of my hustle, i thank God for “nothing can stop me spirit in me” i refused to be a burden to someone else. I am someone’s role model.
Word of advice to who want to go into the coconut oil business
My advice to them is to value their integrity more than money, if you value your integrity you won’t dilute your oil, be resilient and love what you do.
Advice for special needs parents
I will advise them not to be so desperate in looking for a miracle, love your child, focus on his or her ability, talk to your child’s doctor on how you can help you, child. Remember you are not alone in this journey, social media could be helpful if you use it wisely search for support groups for your child diagnosis, seek for help when you need it most, empowerment is important to have a legit source of income. Take care of yourself take a break when you need it most.
The society and reception of Special needs kids
Our society is not well sensitized about special needs children. We need an inclusive society where people with disabilities will have access to what people without disability have access too, some people still believe that disability is contagious which is not true, we need wheelchair accessible motors in our roads, school owners need to learn more about disability so the can give chance for our children with disabilities to have quality education, our leaders need to intervene in our children well being.
October 6 is World cerebral palsy day, wear green in honor of children and adult living with cerebral palsy , remember cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, motor skills and posture as a result of brain-damaged that occurred at birth or the first 3 years of life. Cerebral Palsy has no cure but therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy e.t.c. could improve their lives. There are so many people living with cerebral palsy who are lawyers, doctors, and serial entrepreneur.