Empowering the Less-privileged

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The trainees at the skills acquisition programme

Ehime Alex writes that the Life Value Plus Nest Foundation is providing training for the less-privileged through its free skills acquisition programme

Having survived all kinds of hard life- confrontation, dejection, hopelessness from early age: no father, no mother, only to have lived bristly in-between step-mothers before homing on the bridges of Lagos; it became the desire, penchant and passion for Ifeanyichukwu GodsAnchorman, the visionary and founder of Life Value Plus Nest Foundation, to pursue the course of touching and changing the lifestyle of the under privileged in the society pulsate on a daily basis. He has no special talents. He is only passionately curious!

Not driven by pride or any such self-importance to do or accomplish something in life, though life has made him what he is in the circumstance; but he started on a stretch of struggle right from adolescent and living as an orphan, GodsAnchorman could recall back at what he had suffered, and seeing people in similar condition, laments, “It breaks my heart!”

It is not surprising that, GodsAnchorman, is the institutor of Life Value Plus Nest Foundation, a skills acquisition outfit in the suburb of Ojodu-Berger, Lagos. A home of succour for the teaching and training of the less-privileged, widows, area boys, prostitutes, drug addicts, handicaps and other street urchins; despaired, dejected, discouraged and frustrated about life and the hope of living a meaningful life.

For the umpteenth time in the past four years, he has through the foundation touched the lives of a crop of depressed individuals and taken some off the street through seminars, training and teaching programmes where he features reformed ex-prostitutes, area fathers, traditional leaders, police officers, analysts, medical doctors, pastors, and all manners of people who have suffered life frustration.“It is about staying focused to the vision: adding value and potential to life,” GodsAnchorman said.

In Lagos alone, he had picked well over 18 area boys off the street, who are better today as skilled workers in vulcanising works. Narrating this feat, the visionary whom his late father, Lion Akajiebe called “Akunobe” (fire heart) said, “I presumed they (street urchins) could learn the profession of vulcanising within three months. So, when I picked them up from the streets, I registered them at a nearby vulcanising workshop for apprenticeship, paid for all the expenses including their feeding, within the next three months or so they would have been through with the apprenticeship. I then buy them vulcanising machine and look for a roadside space where they possibly startup.

“Quite interesting, well over 11 prostitutes who were formerly sex-workers from different hotels in the city have been impacted and today six of them are married with children. Speaking passionately about it, GodsAnchorman said, “I don’t have the money but I have been driven by my passion to train, teach and impact the lives of the less-privileged.” His passion to affect lives positively seems to have matched the calling for soul winning as the general overseer of God’s Anchormen Mission International. “The motive is simply to win souls and change the life-style of people,” he says.

Weeks after weeks, month after months, Life Value Plus Nest Foundation would organise training and skills acquisition programmes.

The last time, the foundation threw flex banners around the streets of Ojodu-Berger to organise a six weeks free skills acquisition programme, that was between September and October, 2017, no fewer than than 276 interested persons came from all the nooks and crannies of that locality to be part of it. The training which was thrown open to all and sundry, against its usual interest on special cases, had nursing mothers, pregnant women, widows, young men and women indicating their interest to participate.

They came to be trained on various skills acquisition: interior decoration, fashion design, catering, driving, bead making, hat/cap making, shoe making, child-minding, computer proficiency, insecticides and soap making, investment training and paint making, among others. It was an eventful six weeks of intensive training on theory and much more on practical, the resident pastor of God’s Anchormen Mission International, Pastor Chris Igbedion said while noting that, “I saw people serious to learn from 9a.m. to 2p.m. for the first session and also continued in the second session till 6.00p.m.”

Sharing her happiness after the six weeks training as one of the 120 trainees admitted for the programme, Mrs. Helen Osai, 54, a mother of three, single-mother, and grandmother said she doesn’t want to remain jobless.“I was trained on child-minding, and as a teacher I want to use the skill to establish my own school and affect lives through the knowledge I have acquired.”

For Grace Frank, another trainee, she had not only jumped at the free skills acquisition because she had wanted to learn make-up, interior design and hair-making, but also because she didn’t have the money to have gone to learn it. She said, “Where I went to make enquiry to learn the skills, the charges were too much for my family to bear, to my surprise I didn’t pay anything here. Thank God for GodsAnchorman, God bless him.”

In a short exhortation, Pastor Banjo Ephraim had during the graduation ceremony held on October 28, 2017 for the trainees, warned that “It is not enough to acquire a skill but to put it to practice.” Talent, wisdom and determination are the three things that make the difference in a successful person, a motivational Pastor, David Elo told the trainees whilst addressing them.

Excited and enthusiastic that he has been inculcated with the skill to make a difference in life, Mr. John Johnson, one of the trainees said he already has plans to setup a soap making business in the coming weeks. He said, “I hope to start my soap making in the coming weeks with the savings and money am sourcing from families and friends.”

The foundation is not just training people in skills acquisition but also providing platform through which the trained can have access to fund.

Hope was raised for this September batch when they learnt that a U.S. and South Africa partners of the foundation would be giving out a grant ranging from N2 million to N10 million to the lucky ones among them. A representative of Touch Life Global Foundation, a sister organisation, Mr. Martins Abanna, told the trainees during his presentation at the graduation ground. He said, “A minimum of N2 million and maximum of N10 million can be accessed as grants if any of you meets the requirements. All you need is to register with N6,200, have a business plan or idea and you stand a chance of getting the grant which the process is expected to mature within the next three month of your registration,” Abanna added.

The Life Value Plus Nest Foundation training was free indeed because from the processes of registration up to the graduation ceremony the foundation had foot the bills, provided needed training materials and even gave light refreshment to the participants during the course of the training. Thus, from as early as 9a.m. to 6p.m. in-between break period the participants learnt one skill or the other in the hands of their carefully contracted instructors.

Working as the project supervisor, Mr. Bright Uju observed that teaching adults was like “turning raw materials into finished products. Having taught in Ghana and knowing that there is no hard and fast ways to make a better society than to affect the lives of people who are less opportuned,” Uju added, “I saw commitment and dedication in the students, they showed seriousness in all the activities.” It was his hope that, men and women of substance would leverage on such programmes and in a way save people from becoming perpetual gangsters and prostitutes.

The students were able to discover from Amarachi Akinse, one of the instructors that they don’t need much to start something in life. What they needed is “determination”. Take for instance, she said, “The material we used to make accessories are just within our reach. These are things we throw away. For example, you can make a bag out of T-shirt without sowing or buying anything. All you need is just your scissors and the T-shirt.”

“We were curious to learn these skills,” some of the trainees voiced.

Like every other projects, funding has been one of our major challenges over the years. “We thought this times around we could achieve it with what we budgeted. But before we could say Jack Robinson the budgeted money was spent,” GodsAnchorman said while denying insinuation that he is using the foundation to gain church membership. Another burden according to him was getting and paying instructors. Of the 36 instructors contracted, about eight of them back down at the eleventh hour, so we have to find replacement.

However, by November ending, the foundation hopes to take the next batch of its skills acquisition programme to Umuahia, Abia State in South-eastern Nigeria. To them, it is a question of lay the eggs, hatch and nurture it and go round the circle again: lay eggs, hatch and nurture. Just on a continuous basis like that. “We look at our continuity on this programme as a nest. Just like a bird nest. We lay the eggs, hatch it and nurture it. When it grows, we lay other eggs and so on,” GodsAnchorman said.

He furthered said that, “until our trainees gain mastering of the skills learnt, we always urged those who are slow learners to fill continuity form so as to go back to their instructors even after the graduation ceremony to perfect it, whilst calling on government at all levels to play the greater role in rehabilitating and reforming the destitute in the society. He said, “Let them build free acquisition centres across the states where people can go and be trained on different skills. And let them stop the man-know-man thing we hear of often. If it is free, then let it be free. Let materials be provided and everything be totally free.”