Lotus Initiative is an NGO focused on alleviating the plight of the less privilege, widows and orphans. An organization that started earlier this year and is making great impact in touching the lives of people one at a time. In this exclusive chat with Ibadankiniso, the brain behind the Initiative, Ms. Abimbola Adejumo, talks about herself, what inspired the establishment of Lotus among other things. Enjoy
Question: Can we meet you? -Tell us about your family and educational background.
Response: My name is Abimbola Adejumo an indigene of Ibadan, born and bred in Lagos , the first in a family of six but three from my mum. As for my educational background, well, I had my primary and Secondary education in Lagos, OND in Business Administration at the Osun State Polytechnic Iree, HND also in business Administration at Yabatech ( Yaba College of Technology), BSc. Economics at the Lagos State University and other qualifications in view.
Question: When and how did you start the Lotus Initiative? -What prompted you to go into it?
Response: It all started like a joke this year March 2018. How? To begin with, I am a cheerful giver. I enjoy going out of my way to see people around me smile even If it means denying myself for the moment. Sometimes early March of this year whilst on phone with my younger sister Ladun and somehow the conversation got into the situation of the Lady who comes to deep clean her house every forth night. I felt terribly sad having heard as narrated by my sister that a child as young as 3 complaining to the mother her teacher taught her nothing again at the popular “ jelosimi”. I asked my sister to seek the cleaners permission to enroll and pay her daughter through primary school. The lady was happy and the child got registered in April. Shortly after the incident, a friend I call chairman put a question up on his Facebook post and fortunately for me it had a winning price of 20k attached. As soon as I received the alert, I confirmed to everyone on his post and asked those who wouldn’t mind me sharing my winnings with them to inbox me their account details. Believe you me I spent additional 50k because the messages in my inbox kept trickling. But just one angel amongst those that inboxed me said to me, auntie Bimbo have always known you to be this, why not start your own foundation? I thanked her and asked if she wouldn’t mind joining the team and here we are today to the glory of God and support from my partner, my friend of over 2 decades( Folashade Akinyemi), Ajibola Babalola ,Adeola Adeniyi, Ladun Richard-Taiwo and a big sister from another mother who happens to be a lawyer by profession all assisted making it come into limelight.
Question: What is your inspiration?
Response: What inspires me most is seeing people with nothing become great in life. If they can, Yes WE CAN .
Question: How do you come about the name Lotus?
Response: It took myself, my partner and friend Shade weeks to arrive at a name because I wanted a name that will depict the lives of those we intend to touch. Many thanks to the google search engine came The Lotus Like a lotus flower, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world. Like I often say “despite the struggles, problems or trials we experience in life, we all have the ability to shine and rise above it all”.
Question: What exactly do you hope to achieve with your Foundation?
Response: By the grace of God, we aim to enhance the quality of life of vulnerable children and women from disadvantaged backgrounds through improved access to education, better social and welfare opportunities with a view to alleviating poverty in grassroot communities in Africa because we believe we are responsible for each other.
Question: What do you consider your greatest achievement? The Lotus Initiative because within a very short period we started, It has afforded me a bigger chance to impact lives.
Question: What were your major obstacles during the initial points of your foundation?
Response: So far, EFCC and our inability to obtain a SCUML certificate to open a bank account for the Lotus as we speak. Really don’t understand why documents signed, stamped and approved by the corporate affairs commission in Abuja would be refused by another governmental agency as invalid for SCUML registration.
Question: What are the areas of intervention of Lotus Initiatives?
Response: Apart from educational intervention, we also intervene in empowerment program for widows ,Skills and Vocational training for women and health and well being support for our target audience
Question: Can you list projects executed so far by Lotus
Response: So far, we have the uniform project for 10 public schools in Ikorodu area of Lagos as a work in progress. Secondly, we have successfully registered and paid Tuition for 4 lucky scholars on The Lotus Scholarship program to get back into school this September with additional 5 new set of lucky scholars to be supported with free tuition as they resume back to school in September by God’s grace.
Question: Do you have partners? individuals, groups or government who fund your projects?
For now we only have few members on our board, friends and families who have supported in kind and cash but we looking to partner with private companies and other agencies to fund our projects.
Question: What are the ongoing projects of your Initiative?
Scholarship award program for out of school children, provision of educational materials for children in rural communities, skills and vocational training for women and empowerment programs for widows are projects we outlined to achieve as we progress.
Question: What legacy do you intend to leave behind.
Response: Something I know for sure is that we all have an opportunity to make a difference. We don’t have to be a Gadhi or a Martin Luther King to leave a positive mark that will linger long after we are gone. I just want to be remembered for my good heart as an imperfect being.
Question: What are the ongoing projects of Lotus?
Response: Our ongoing projects include: -the uniform projects (sewing of 500 uniforms for 500 pupils from disadvantage background and low income families in Ikorodu Lagos. Lotus Scholars program: Giving out of scholarship for basic education for out of school children and children from very low income families.
Question: Thank you for talking to us
Response: The pleasure is mine