‘I am very passionate about youth development in Nigeria’
A qualified nurse and teacher, freelance journalist, mentor, developing blogger and recently a movie producer, Kehinde Omoru is a woman of many parts. In this interview with The Guardian, she talks about health matters and her foray into the movie world…
Tell Us About Your Education And Career
I attended Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, Lagos. I studied English Arts at the University of Ife and qualified with a BA (Hons) in 1987. I also have a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Lagos. My first job was as a reporter with This Week News Magazine in Lagos in the late ’80s. I went into teaching at the end of the 80’s into the 90’s and taught at Corona Schools Apapa and Victoria Island, and at St Saviour’s School, Ikoyi.
How Did You Get Into Teaching Children With Learning Disabilities?
I studied Learning Disabilities Nursing at the University of Luton Buckinghamshire, London, qualified in 2004 and have since practiced as a Learning Disabilities Nurse at a College of Further Education in the United Kingdom.
Feed Us On Your Journalistic Exploits
At the start of my commitment to freelance writing, I wrote for a few years for The Guardian newspaper. Currently, I freelance weekly for ThisDay Newspaper with my column titled: A Teacher’s Diary. My articles are usually human-angled, oftentimes inspired by the breaking news. At other times they are follow-ups deriving from what is or remains of public interest. I often target teachers and parents in my writing as I am convinced that both groups are central to effecting change in Nigeria and indeed in individual nations. Issues around holistic health, education, disability and mental health are very dear to me.
You Have Also Gone Into Movie Production Lately. What Was The Motivation?
I am very passionate about the development of the youth in Nigeria and have been doing some motivational charity work on this. Adolescence, a short movie that I wrote, demonstrates my commitment to the development of a healthier teenage and young adult populace. As you’d find on my YouTube channel, I have written and produced other health and lifestyle oriented short movies namely: Diabetes, Antioxidants, The Way We Are, Making A Case For Ogi, all of which you’d find on my Kehinde Omoru YouTube Channel. I’d love to continue to produce more movies, God being my helper.
Why Are You So Passionate About Health Matters?
Unfortunately, ‘health’ at times is heavy stuff. Many people first begin to pay attention to their wellbeing when they are experiencing illnesses. I’m sure you’d agree with me that this ought not to be so. It is, however, important to note that health means different things to different people and to different cultures. In view of this, I have tried to make my movies and interviews softer, non-judgmental and entertaining. Furthermore, I invite you to visit my Instagram page on www.instagram.com/kehindeomoru for more of my health related posts. I have written several scripts that tackle health and lifestyle issues in Nigeria, and that are common to Africa. These are all waiting to be screen played and produced.
Why Do You Have So Much Passion For Writing?
Writing is second nature for me. My earliest memories of playing with words were in primary school where I featured in dramas, cultural dances and poetry renditions for school occasions. I was a member of the Literary and Debating Society in Secondary School.
Recently, I have turned to other mediums to communicate with people. The visual media is powerful and perhaps more far-reaching. Through television and the Internet, your message can also be delivered to the hearing impaired, the visually impaired, people that cannot read or understand in the language of your delivery (where translation is available), and so on.
Tell Us About Your Movie- Deeply Cut
Deeply Cut is not my first movie. However, it has been more professionally directed and produced. After writing Deeply Cut, I asked Grace Edwin Okon to tweak the plot and infuse the movie with softening and entertaining lines, so that it is at once informing, warning, corrective, as it is entertaining. The beauty of Grace’s ingenious toning and contributions to the plot of the movie is how she’s made the advocative nature of this movie, less scary and judgmental. She screen played, directed and produced Deeply Cut.
What Motivated You Into Writing The Movie?
The immediate motivation for my writing Deeply Cut was our gateman. Our gateman was ill and I insisted on him having a diagnostic test on just about every ailment. He tested positive for Hepatitis B. I became even more alarmed when I researched and found that Hepatitis B is seriously endemic in Nigeria. I refused for our gateman to be sent away and personally took him to a tropical diseases centre/hospital in Yaba, close to the bus terminus, where he was medically seen for a while. He is still with us and we are managing his condition effectively, with the use of infection control techniques that are rigorously followed.
At the moment, with no portal willing to buy advocacy movies in Nigeria, Deeply Cut – so sophisticated and excellently delivered, is my gift to all. If ever I could recoup the funds that went into making the movie, it would immediately go back to produce more advocacy and health-promotional movies. If anyone would like to come to our aid on this, we would be thrilled. I have scripts waiting to go!
My motivation is deep and summed up in this statement, “if you don’t, then who will?” In life, if you don’t use your gifts to help other people, then you are pretty much poor and useless. Deeply Cut and other movies I have made so far have provided ad hoc employments for people and free information for everyone. My earnings have remained the peace and joy I have, knowing that I have helped in some way.