Rebecca Ejifoma writes that for Dr. Oluwaseye Yomi-Sholoye, her passion for philanthropy continues to shine through as was evidenced by her recent two-week tour of 17 orphanages, less privileged and special need homes For Dr. Oluwaseye Yomi-Sholoye, philanthropy has been a life-long passion. Therefore, in a bid to channel her philanthropic gestures the right way, her foundation- The Dr. Yomi O-Sholoye Foundation was borne.
At a time when so many wealthy Nigerians are splashing their wealths on what many would term as ‘mundane’ and ‘trivial’, Sholoye stands out by daring to be different in making the well-being of the down-trodden in the society her priority. When it comes to philanthropy, her goal is to change the narrative with her determination to put a smile on the faces of the less-privileged in the society through her foundation.
For more than two weeks now, the renowned philanthropist through her foundation, went round to several less-privileged homes, orphanages and special need homes and schools bearing gifts and making donations running into several millions of Naira.
Given the financial expenditure made towards making the visits a success, one might wonder if the donations were to mark her birthday as she was asked in one of the homes she visited. Her answer was in the negative. According to the soft-spoken business mogul, she is driven by the passion to leave this world a far better place than she met it and also fulfil a pact
she made with God to give back to the society if she is so blessed.
She said: “The main motivation, first of all, is passion. I have a passion for the youth, for the well-being of the less privileged, the children and the young ones who are said to be the future of this country.
“So, we do not have a choice but to take care of them. Moreover, I have almost been in a similar situation, sometime in my life when I was a young girl, I almost became helpless, my immediate family had some issues and I knew how it felt.
We suddenly went from a family that had all we needed to one who does not have anything. It was just with the help of some people that we managed to scrape through the difficult situation.
“At that point in time, I made a vow that if we become wealthy again in the future, I will always look for ways to help the less privileged because I know that they need that help, they need that love. I have been in that position and I know how it felt. So, I just wanted to reach out to them, to let them know that we really love them.
“To assure them that I am interested in their well-being, upbringing and advancement and that we will always
come around to visit them to show them that some of us still love them and care for them.”
It was this passion that prompted her to organise visits to about 17 Motherless Babies’ Homes, orphanages, less privileged homes and special need homes, where she doled out gift items in and around Lagos in the last two weeks. She donated food items, instructional materials, personal effects and cash as she went by. One of such visits took her to the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children at Surulere.
During the visit she doled out with different gift items like bags of rice, cartons of noodles, groundnut oil, beverages, toiletries, deodorants and so forth. Not only did she bring gifts to the children, she met the children and interacted with them, where she sang and danced with them, all with the aim of lifting their spirits.
“They are like any one of us, so they need that love and we need to show them that we love them, we need to lift up their spirit and emotions by coming around and playing with them, providing their needs and generally playing with them. When it is also the end of the year, we will party with them, so that they may know that they are not lonely and alone in the society,” she
Expressing the gratitude of the school, the Principal, Sister Jane Onyeneri, said it was a great thing that Dr. Yomi-Sholoye and the foundation came to visit the children with the gifts and food items. She also used the opportunity to solicit the assistance of the foundation in solving the water problem that has bedeviled the school.
“We are so happy to receive Dr. O-Sholoye here today and to see all the great gifts that she brought for the children, I sincerely thank her. I showed her our tank that needed a replacement and she has promised to replace it right away. I am speechless and so grateful and excited that God has brought her today to our midst. We are also praying that God will continue to bless the good work that she is doing,” she prayed.
Through Yomi-Sholoye, fortune also smiled on a 19- year-old Lucky Njoku, who helps around the school.
The Mbaise, Imo State-born Njoku who was reportedly picked up from the streets by Sis. Onyeneri and brought to the school had finished his secondary school education but could not go further due to lack of
funds. While bringing up his issue before Yomi- Sholoye, the principal sought assistance for the young man, a request that was granted on the spot. She granted the young man who wants to study Bio-Chemistry at the University of Lagos, Akoka, full scholarship. The fortunate young man was beside himself with joy.
Sis Onyeneri also acknowledged the passion of Yomi-Sholoye as she promised to do whatever she could to partner the foundation, while praying for God’s protection on her.
“We are going to be partners because both of us are doing the same job and we are passionate about what we are doing, so, we are going to work together. So, thank you so much for your kindness”, she enthused.
On her part, Yomi-Sholoye expressed her gratitude to the management of the school for taking good care of the children and providing the children with a very conducive living environment.
“We are happy to be a partner with the school. The managers of the school have shown love, genuine love and care for the children, the way the school has taken care of the children is heart-warming, the knowledge base of the children, their learning enhancement models are so interesting.
“The children are so happy and lively, I am so excited, the environment here is very clean. The children had read, sang and prayed and it gladdens my heart as they seem to be grounded in the word of God. “Our foundation is based on the word of God as well, so to see the children this grounded in the word of God, reading, citing bible verses is fantastic. We cannot but see how to partner this
school and increase the knowledge base of the children in our own little way and support the school. We are excited, we love what we see, we love the children, so we will be coming intermittently to ensure that we address the needs of the
On her final lap in the series of the visits, Yomi-Sholoye was also at the Heritage Homes located at Anthony area of the Lagos metropolis, where she also donated similar gift items to the home.
She also reiterated that it was not going to be a one-off donation, but a continuous exercise which she promised would go beyond just donating things, but taking care of big projects that any of the homes might have.
“I want to assure you that this visit is not going to be a one-off thing, it is going to be periodic.
“As a matter of fact, we are going beyond just donations and visit, we just issued a scholarship to a young man at the Pacelli School of the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, we are also interested in the
facilities at the homes we have visited, we understand that they need a new water tank at Pacelli and we have made a promise to do that for them,” she added.
Speaking on her foundation and what it aims to achieve, Yomi-Sholoye said it is is geared towards youth empowerment.
About five weeks ago, the foundation had hosted about 7, 000 youths at 10 Degrees Events Centre, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos where she urged them to re-dedicate their lives to serving God and humanity. About 250 of those youths are currently undergoing apprenticeship vocational training skills in the metropolis.
“Our foundation is solely dedicated to youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, and eradication. One of the major projects we are currently executing is the empowerment of 5000 youths, which was unveiled at the 10 Degrees Event Center, Oregun on September 22, 2018.
“The beneficiaries of the first batch of this youth empowerment programme, numbering about 240 young men and women, just commenced their three months of training where they will be taught vocations, life-skills, and sales/business skills.
“When they complete their training in three months’ time, there are options where we can help them get placements in the various vocations they have studied, and for those who are interested in setting up businesses, we will assist them with funds to start up. We also have other leadership training like the employability training which will come up between October 30-31, 2018. We will train young graduates on how to be employable” she concluded.
Although the visits to Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children and Heritage Homes wrapped up a two-week visit and donation campaign to several orphanages and Homes in Lagos state by the foundation, she however admonished other well-to-do Nigerians to inculcate the habit of giving back to the society.