Beautiful, cerebral and kind. These are positive adjectives best suited to describe social entrepreneur, Funmilayo Adekojo Waheed. It is not every day you meet a young female Engineer and academician who has empowered over 10,000 women as well as have over 500 undergraduates calling her mummy because she pays their school fees. But that is the true life of Engineer Funmilayo, the amiable lady behind Funmilayo Ayinke Humanity Foundation. Yet, for someone who spends hundreds of millions to help people every year, it is curious there are no airs around her as she is as natural as they come –warm and unassuming. To her, money is good, but useless when you don’t use it to add value to people’s lives.
The stories about Funmilayo’s philanthropic activities dot the social media space, yet most of those who had benefited immensely from her milk of kindness have had little or no opportunity to meet her in person. But last Friday February 14, was a day for the unassuming philanthropist to get a bit of rewards for her good deed. On a day to celebrate love, hundreds of students, youths and other beneficiaries of her not-for-profit gathered inside the Mayfair Hall on Otunba Jobi Fele Way, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos for an event tagged Valentine’s Day Hangout. This excited people –majorly undergraduates and graduates alike –had gathered for the purpose of meeting Funmilayo, their mentor and helper, who has given them hope and thrown lifelines at them in the midst of intractable challenges.
Emotions ran high among the guests who came from different parts of Nigeria. There were powerful delegations of the National Association of Nigerian Students who were present to honour Funmilayo as their matron. They all poured encomium on the lady who has always been the giver but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the beneficiaries thronged the venue of the hangout with loads of gifts including paintings, cakes, roses, and various other items for her.
In her address at the hangout, Engineer Funmilayo, who was there with her husband, Professor Waheed Adekojo, an Engineering Professor and former Deputy Vice Chancellor of FUNAAB, went down memory lane to what inspired the setting up of the Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation. She also gave details of how far she had gone with video slide to show what she has done for widows and single mothers. According to her, the Foundation caters to the needs of various groups of indigent people and she is happy with the way Nigerians have responded to her show of love. Her proud and loving husband, Professor Waheed couldn’t hide his emotions. He expressed his excitement seeing people appreciate his wife and how she has touched their lives positively.
The major highlight of the day was the electrifying performance by former BBNaija star and guitarist, Debbie Rise. Her performance left many guests asking for more as she seemed to have something for everybody from the elderly to the youths who just could not have enough.