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Olatunji Ifetayo: My skill acquisition scheme has impacted many lives

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Olatunji Ifetayo

Olatunji Oluwadamilola Ifetayo is the founder of Lynas for the Needy, a registered charity in Nigeria. She is an author and the CEO of Shantilove Nigeria Enterprise, which deals in made in Nigeria home and office essential products. Her love for humanity compelled her to organise free skill empowerment training every month to reach out to 1000 people per annum. In this interview, the 32 year-old wife and mother of two shares her inspiring journey.

Childhood Influence
I can say my childhood prepared me in a way for what I do now, because childhood for me wasn’t rosy. I came from a background where I met my two parents hustling to cater for my siblings and myself.

I was born in one of the ghetto’s in Lagos; our house was a ‘face me I face you apartment as it is fondly called. A house full of commotion and hawking was the order of the day. Virtually, all the neighbour’s children in my house would hawk after school.

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We used to have a small kiosk outside the house where we sold provisions and drugs too. One day, I had to join the neighbour’s children to hawk too; the scorching sun spelled my name boldly in capital letters. I did it for two days and paused the third day because my parents must not hear about it.

The ghetto life is not a good place for growth, especially when there is no positive influence in the environment. I can remember a lot of my friends were wayward; some dropped out of school, while some got pregnant at an early age and regretted it. I did my nursery school and part of primary school in this ghetto. The only saving grace was that my parents later relocated to a better environment; maybe I would have joined my friends in the neighbourhood and peer group and thereby make some regrettable decision that would have affected my future too.  I thank God for the parents I have; they might have had little, but were bent on giving us good upbringing. Ghetto is a place where the number of bad children surpasses the good one, I can go and on. I thank God I came out unscathed.

Inspiration Behind Lynas
Lynas for the needy foundation was birthed by my passion for humanity and the compassionate heart I have as an individual. The Holy Spirit inspired Lynas for the needy foundation when I was alone asking for my God given purpose on earth and how I can be of value to humanity.

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We cut across different states in Nigeria, donating to the needy, raising giants of tomorrow and helping them unleash their potential and letting go of their fears. We go to orphanage and destitute homes to empower them with skills and also celebrate every birthday celebrant anytime we hold our outreach; we make sure they have a memorable birthday. We also rescue children from the street and put them in orphanage homes or children care centres for proper intensive care. We have registered nurses and doctors among our team that helps us with medical outreach, while others team members also join for a successful outreach.

We sponsor education of children in rural communities and help with education material to enhance their good education. Our food donation on the street is also another way we touch lives every time. Lynas for the needy foundation is a registered NGO that has been touching lives since its inception five years ago and we are still on the path to put a smile on people’s faces.

About Lynas Free Skill Training
Yes, I organise free skill training and empowerment to reach out to 1000 people yearly, because I know how it feels to be jobless. I am a living witness, as I couldn’t get a job immediately after my NYSC. Many graduates of today are also looking for a white-collar job whereas the industries available cannot serve everyone a job and it is sometimes based on man knows man factor.

I believe these unemployed ones can keep themselves busy by acquiring a skill to forge ahead and be responsible and accountable. Through this more jobs can also be created resulting in industrialisation in the society.

Lynas Impacts So Far
My skill acquisition scheme has impacted many lives, which includes graduates, undergraduates, single mothers, dropouts etc. Over 4000 have been impacted since I started; I do both online and also train the less privileged in rural communities.

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Managing Shantilove Nigeria
Shantilove Enterprise started small like every other company; I am vast on skills and that was what birthed the company. I started in Ilorin and with consistency and hard work, was able to pull through. We are into manufacturing essential cleaning products and other craft to solve problems of poor sanitation, create job opportunities for youths and alleviate poverty in the society. It is a registered company under Corporate Affairs Commission and has been managed by me as the CEO and a few staff for maximum production.

On Finding A Balance
Well, I will say it has not been easy managing my responsibility as an author, CEO, striving humanitarian, mother and wife. However, time management has been the balancing factor and I thank God for an understanding husband who supports my career and gives me all the encouragement I need to keep pushing for my personal growth and development.

Challenges
The challenges have been funds, especially during lockdown period; money doesn’t come in like before and travelling to other States to facilitate skills where I get paid has been on hold.

Three Women Who Inspire Me
The three women who inspire me are Mrs Folusho Alakija, Mrs Idowu Awosika and Mrs Ngozi okonjo Iweala. These women have few things in common; humanitarian, integrity and they are advocates for gender equality.

Advice To Women
My advice to women is that we should not be a hindrance to our greatness by making fear to mar our dreams of becoming, or give in to fear by not pursuing our purpose on earth. Every woman is unique in her own way. Let’s come together to make the world a palatable place for ourselves through genuine love, support and collaboration because together we create magic with our magic wands.

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Let all women always stand for the truth and justice and be a pillar of trust, confidence and integrity. Let’s also advocate for gender equality to enable us to break the ceiling glass in various sectors. Lastly, do not let your poor background or challenges of life stop you from being more, because you are made for more to change narrative.

You can be whatever you want to be only if you believe in the power of your dream, believe in yourself, shun fear of known and the unknown, keep your head in the game and keep focusing on your focus because no one is a nonentity.

God deposited a seed of greatness in every human. Nurture your seed and be a good tree for others to plug and get nourishments. The world needs women of great values to survive. Every woman has in them greatness. Believe in yourself and unleash your potential.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
What makes me a woman of rubies is that I am committed and passionate to giving back to society, and my positive impact is felt in people’s lives. A lot of people talk about my authenticity, servant leadership, ingenuity, humanitarian service, and I count all this as a privilege to serve my generation.

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