From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
it was jubilation galore as Al-Nusi Imran Foundation, held its maiden empowerment programme. Set up in 2016 to reduce poverty in the society through the provision of working tools for artisans and support for businesses, the NGO, though Islamic in outlook, did not limit its beneficiaries to Muslims alone.
The event held at the Ibara Housing Estate Mosque, Abeokuta, Ogun State, was chaired by Alhaji Elias Bameke, who also doubles as the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), of the foundation. Items such as sewing machines, industrial whipping machines, generators, deep freezers, barbing equipment, popcorn making machine and cash, were doled out to 12 carefully selected persons, to grow their businesses.
Bameke explained that at the inaugural meeting of the foundation held on November 19, 2016, its promoter, Olamilekan Adegbite, made it clear that his vision and aspiration was to honour his late parents, serving as sadaqatul jariyah for both the parents and himself.
Adegbite, who is Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, was to institutionalise his earlier efforts of reducing the poverty level within the catchment area as he noted that begging was fast becoming a culture amongst the people.
The chairman disclosed that the event would be on yearly basis, tasking the first set of beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity to grow their businesses and reduce the rate of unemployment in the society. He said the committee would continue to monitor the beneficiaries’ progress.
The guest lecturer, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Fatai Opebiyi, said giving back to the society was not only spiritual but a way of redistributing wealth among the people. He added that economic empowerment of citizens should not be seen as a sole responsibility of the government noting well-to-do individuals can also help in making life more meaningful to the populace.
He commended the promoter for deeming it fit to give back to the people, urging the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the tools for them to empower others in their own little ways. He tasked other wealthy individuals to emulate Adegbite by using their God-given resources to contribute positively to the society.
A beneficiary, Akinde Olaitan, who was given a popcorn making machine and a generating set, described the gesture of the foundation as “humane and life-enhancing.” She pointed out that prior to the empowerment, she had been trying frantically to secure a job. She said she would ensure the tools were properly managed and maintained, so as to help others.
For the trio of Akinbode Ramota Oluwakemi, Alaran Kafayat Olajumoke and Adefe Olufunke Saheedat, who were given cheques to support their businesses, the programme, if sustained, would not only reduce poverty, it would equally create several entrepreneurs who would in turn contribute to the economic growth of the society. They the empowerment couldn’t have come at an appropriate time than now when the nation was battling with recession leading to job losses.
Sanusi Adekunle collected barbing equipment including rolling chair, clippers and sterilizing machine. He said though he was trained as a barber, but lack of fund debarred him from procuring his own barbing equipment: “With this set of barbing kits, my days as a journeyman are over.” He advised his fellow beneficiaries not to see their empowerment tools as political largess, but tickets out of economic inadequacies.
In the same manner, Akinwande Muyibat Ajoke, Ademoye Falilat Adenike and Shoremekun Olabisi Fatimoh, who all got an industrial whipping machine each, declared that the machines would add fillip to their tailoring jobs. They said money that was being expended to do whipping on clothing materials elsewhere, would be channeled towards improving their businesses.
They lauded the foundation for the gesture towards economic emancipation of the people urging it not to relent on its efforts in making sure poverty is mitigated among the people.