Stanley Ihedigbo

Mrs. Folashade Afolabi is the founder of Matilda David Foundation (MDF), located at the  Iyana-Odo, Igando Road, Egbeda area of Lagos State.

Folashade’s passion is to lend helping hands to vulnerable people, especially women and the youth. This, she said, is the central ideal of MDF. The foundation, which she started a few years ago, trains, teaches and mentors its target audience.

MDF recruits teachers, instructors and partners with facilitators who match the intellect, leadership potential and drive, which the organisation expected in its trainees.

To ensure the target audience receives the best and quality knowledge, Folashade explained that their instructors and facilitators come across the globe, and are a distinguished group of industry practitioners and experienced educators. What these sets of people share in common is the belief in the transformative education and the commitment to giving hope by empowering the less privilege, thereby helping and shaping lives.

She said: “We’re into empowerment of the Nigeria youth and women. Nigeria women are not supposed to be housewives. They are hardworking and are meant to support their families. As a Christian, there is no place the word of God told me; women should not support their families. However, I do agree that women should be submissive to our husbands even as we are supporting our families. We started this empowerment programme a few years ago, unfortunately, we didn’t have our graduation ceremony in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this 2021, we decided to combine 2020 and 2021 graduands.”

She further explained that running a foundation for skill acquisition had not been smooth and was not a walk in the park.

She said: “When you’re trying to gather people with different cultural and ethnics backgrounds, to help them, it’s not always that easy. But we thank God it has  always be successful at the end. My husband, Barrister Taiwo Afolabi, has a foundation that supports the less privileged in the society. I thought to myself that it was better to the less privileged how to catch a fish than to give them a fish. I started the skill acquisition centre to help the youth and women in the society.”

Folashade revealed that one of the challenges of trying to successfully run such a skill acquisition centre was the inability to attract funds, especially from international donors.

“We made efforts in 2020; unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow us to attend an international conference in New York. However, locally, we’ve been able to get partners that are supporting the foundation,”  Folashade said.

Folashade advised that it was high time for Nigerians to realise that the government couldn’t do everything for them.

She noted: “We’re helping government in the area of employment and some jobless Nigerians have been taken off the streets through our activities. For instance, we have a widow who acquired skill on shoemaking from our foundation, and today, she makes shoes for bankers, schoolchildren and others in the society. Another woman, who finished with us in the training of makeup, relocated to Ogun State and now, she’s doing very well. The foundation has being able to take people off the street and empowered them. Even, there was a time we sent some of our trainees to organisations for industrial training, and they were retained. What this means is that the foundation is giving people the best empowerment to excel in life. We teach them many things, which include baking, confectioneries, fashion designing, event planning, shoemaking and now, we’ve decided to add photography. We are adding photography because some people are coming to the foundation for photography training. Also, some learnt bead making and we provided a platform for exhibition of their products, which makes the trainees ecstatic that people are patronizing their handworks. We also provide them with working tools and funds.”

According to Folashade, to make sure that the trainees had a fuller experience of the skill acquisition programmes, during graduation ceremonies, the foundation invited entrepreneurs as guest speakers.

She stated: “These entrepreneurs usually share their experiences, which will be of a great benefits to the graduands. They have no reason to look for jobs after their skill acquisition programmes. I usually advise them to build themselves, because if they are doing well, they’ll be able to employ other people and then these people will be able to support their families. My prayer for them is to be great entrepreneurs and provide the necessary goods and services to their communities. We have many testimonies on our efforts at the foundation with respect to those doing very well, after their training and empowerment by the foundation.”

Folashade stated that as the poverty in Nigeria was increasing, it was now vital, than ever before, for everyone to cultivate the habit of assisting those, who do not have much.

She added: “People should not fail to stand up to help. Again, people that have the wherewithal should help by setting up industries and employ the youth. If reasonable percentages of the youth are employed, we will have less street urchins, be it male or female. Again, we will have less issue of prostitution and crimes in the society. The rich Nigerians should stop taking their wealth overseas. They should invest in the country for the sake of employment of their people in order to help the nation.”

Folashade said that the foundation initially romanced with the idea of extending the programmes to other cities in Nigeria and had also started outreach programmes.

She also mentioned: “We’ve been visiting one local government after another, to help people with their health. This is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be fatal following an underlining illness. If there is no underlining illness with an individual, the person will not easily die of COVID-19. COVID-19 doesn’t kill so easily. We go out there to test people for High Blood Pressure (HBP), Diabetes and other ailments. After testing them, we treat and provide free medicines. Thus in this year 2022, we will start another arm of the foundation in Ogun State.”

Folashade, who fervently believed in the importance of skill acquisition, opined that rather than for graduates to be wandering, searching for employment, they should identify their passions and then keyed into it through skill acquisition.  

“They should make a living from their passions, rather than resorting to cyber or other crimes,” she stated.

BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis

Caring is Sharing ... Think It's Cool? Please Share to Any Icon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *