Oluwatunbi counselling students at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Grammar School

For Miss Blessing Lydia Oluwatunbi, founder of Blessing Liberty Foundation International, total abstinence from sex remains one of the moral attitudes that must be inculcated in the lives of pupils in primary and secondary schools, writes Ehime Alex

Every dream or aspiration starts one day. Miss Blessing Lydia Oluwatunbi could recall how she began to nurture an idea whilst she was serving the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – a scheme set up by the Nigerian Government to involve the graduates of the country in the development of the country – at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School, Ojodu, Berger, Lagos; seemingly, the secondary school she attended.

And, after she had attended the Day Star Basic Leadership Academy courses and its Advanced Leadership Programme, the vision became more glaring and the passion to do so more scintillating. It was in one of the teachings with Pastor Sam Adeyemi, an apt motivational speakerand visionary of Daystar Christian Centre, that the motivation to found Blessing Liberty Foundation International was consummated. “You can change your world; just one idea can rule your world. Make a change in your environment,” were the words of Pastor Adeyemi that kept resonating in her memories thereafter.

Speaking psychologically, one’s view of the future is shaped by one’s past. Again, Blessing could think back as a little girl in secondary school how a female classmate of hers got pregnant (unwanted pregnancy) and the mother of the said girl took her (the girl) to a quack doctor to abort the pregnancy. Misfortune fell, and within the next three days after the abortion was conducted, the girl died. “It was so painful to me that I couldn’t help. I didn’t have the opportunity as at that time tohave ministered to her. This story kept me in motivation that when I grew up, I would impact my generation.”

Life is worth it when one lives to affect one’s generation. “You can’t give what you don’t have. I am a typical example of sexual purity and I have a very strong upbringing,” that is why I have decided to set up the foundation to affect the lives of the youths of our generation positively.

The Blessing Liberty Foundation International is a youth pre-emptive empowerment initiative which focuses on building culture, moral uprightness, mental soundness and spiritually balanced life among the youths. Its basic concentrations are sexual purity counseling and career development.

The world over, there is serious moral decadence in many homes – broken homes– where the usage of the internet and other jet-age medium and devices are being put but to full-scale abuse, Oluwatunbi would lay emphasis.

Why do people always want to excuse themselves for doing the wrong things? The truth is, when a child is from a broken-home, it tells on the emotional intelligence of the child. It distabilises and demoralises the child. In the long-run, such a child might suffer teenage pregnancy, or began to indulge in drug addiction, Yahoo Yahoo and all those social vices inimical to his/her life, the family and the larger society. It is this lack of proper home-training, not really poverty as some persons may claim, thathas been the bane of youthful exuberant and for self-indulgencein amoralacts. All of these worry Oluwatunbi. “Our message is straight, we want to stop young ones from getting involved in unwanted pregnancy, masturbation, incest, lesbianism, homosexuality and other such immoral acts.
“Abstinence from sex is the best practice for our young ones, whether in school or not in school.” The campaign is about “Boys, zip-up:Girls, button-up.” To achieve the goals and objectives of the foundationis to carry the campaign of sexual purity to primary and secondary schools where we can mentor and inculcate the right moral values in the lives of the youths.

For years now, in the month of October, the foundation organizes a youth-oriented programme which it had christened, ‘Celebration of Freedom’ to sensitise the younger ones of the importance of total abstinence from ‘unholy sex.’ In line with driving the campaign of sexual purity to the letter, the foundation had as at last year published a book with the title, ‘Sexual Purity In Our Times’, a book relevant for both singles and married people. Oluwatunbi desires that the book be bought by anyone and shared to the teenagers within their reach to read.

The yearly youth programme is also designed to help guard and assist the young ones on their career path. In 2009, Oluwatunbi could recall also the case of a young boy whose father lost his security job and the mother, a roadside coin-seller could not cater for the continuous funding of the boy’s education. They (the parents of the boy) had resolved that their son would leave school to learn menial work. But the foundation helped responsibly in returning the boy to school, “Today the boy is a graduate of Federal College of Technology, Akure, with a degree in Mining Engineering and is currently a youth corps member serving in one of the states.”

At the maiden edition of the youth programme, the foundation had just about 24 students in attendance. That was 10 years ago. But now, the last time the programme was held, over 4,000 students were in attendance from various schools in Lagos. Apparently, getting a large venue/space for the programme is already posing a big challenge for the foundation.

The likes of Teju Baby Face, Patricia King (Midnight Crew) and other celebrities and popular entertainers had graced the programme. Whilst MTN, Milo, Coca-Cola and Indomie have supported the course, Oluwatunbi would tell.
The Blessing Liberty Foundation International has impacted positively on many.
“I am one of the beneficiaries of Blessing Liberty Foundation International. The founder, Miss Blessing Oluwatunbi has used her love and dedication for the younger ones to affect students’ lives in this school. Besides others, she painted our classroom. We love her!, said Kapko Kemi Marvellous, Punctuality Prefect, SS3C, Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School.

Another said “Her programmes have taught us how to be self-dependent, holy, keeping ourselves sexually safe until we are matured to get married. She was my class teacher while I was in SS1. She does talk to us about sexual purity. Most of the things she has been talking to us about are now reality in our eyes,” said Adetoyinbo Doris Oluwakemi, Safety Prefect, SS3C, Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School.

Ayere Progress, Classs Captain, SS2A, Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School, said “The foundation has impacted a lot of positive values in my life. While I was in primary five, I remembered clearly that when I came with my elder sister to the programme, what I learnt was that I should always put God first. Two, if I am with my friends, I should be able to differentiate those I call friends from those I relate with generally. Three, it has also taught me good morals not to steal and take what does not belong to me unlawfully. Also, it has helped my prayer life and social life too. Blessing is my class teacher.”

The Vice-Principal Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School, Mrs. Ojo Joke, said “Blessing is a modest teacher. She does things to promote teaching not minding what it cost her. She has been a counsellor to the student, though she is not a counselor of the school. She is everything you can think of to the students; providing seats to those who have no seat, buying uniform for students without uniform, going extra mile to buy some gadgets that the school even needs. She source for funds on her own from reliable sources. Even when she gets money for her personal uses, she will divert it to buy things, like all those game equipment you see in her staff office. She would not wait for the government to give her money to do things before she will do them. She has been a blessing to the school and the students. Someone who can spare her time and not even bordered; gives out her precious time and money. She is a pride to herself and the school. At her age, if you can find a young girl that keeps her virginity the way she has done, is real. It is my prayer that her labour will never go in vain.

“She was my student some years ago. She graduated from this school, went to the University and came back to this school to impact the lives on younger ones. We now met as colleagues. More than 10 years, I have known blessing.
“While a student, she was and still an obedient child. There are several programmes she had done in this school that touched my life. But, one particular one was when she brought some French teachers to minister to us. Alone the line I was touched.”