By Adedayo Adejobi
Despite the economic recession in the country, a non-governmental organisation, the Remi Awode Foundation (RAF) last week put smiles in the faces of 82 indigent members of the of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, Chapel of Divine Blessing, Alagbado, Lagos.
It was at this year’s edition of empowerment programme of the Foundation tagged: “2016 RAF Second Empowerment Service,” where over N25 million cash and materials were distributed to 82 beneficiaries as financial assistance to start up their businesses and reduce poverty among members of the church.
The Remi Awode Foundation (RAF) was founded in on January 2013 by a group of philanthropists, led by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Chemstar Paints Industry Nigeria Limited, manufacturer of Finecoat and Shield Paints, Special Apostle Emmanuel Aderemi Awode, a member of the church and whom the foundation was named after.
Apart from cash distributed to them, they were also empowered with various materials, including deep freezers, sewing machines and other tools, generating sets and catering materials, bead making materials, paints, variety of soft drink, grinding machines, stabilisers, among other items, depending on the needs of the beneficiaries to start or boost their trades and businesses.
In the 2015 edition of the programme, more than 20 members were empowered where over N20 million cash and materials were doled out to the members.
Under the last year’s programme, two members received tricycles (Keke NAPEP); three members were trained as printers, two of them got money for two years’ rent for their shops;.
Besides, some members were empowered with washing machines and irons for their dry cleaning business; some got grinding machines; and others were trained in bead and wire works, fishery, computer repairs and empowered with cash and materials to start their business.
Under its loans and grants, the Foundation in 2014 provided loans to 75 church members with zero interest, while other 92 members benefitted from cash grants given to them in order to cushion their financial challenges.
RAF in 2013 donated a borehole water project with 5,000 liters to the host community of the church, to easy water problem in the area, while in 2014 bought and distributed five cars to the church leaders, and the church prophet and pastor.
The co-founder of the foundation, Special Apostle Aderemi Awode, in his remarks, entitled: “Time, Talent and Wealth”, described RAF as a divine philanthropic assignment aimed at teaching members how to fish and to give them the tools with which to fish.
He, however, lamented the ungodly attitude of some members of the church who collected the 2014 revolving loans worth N8 million and refused to pay back.