Free food is not enough!

Posted October 10, 2020 from Nigeria

I work in the Riverside communities in Oriade Lagos and the real target group is females. 

In our Colleen Centre we have our animals and our food bank.  The food bank is supported by my sister Julie Zenterra who I met here on Worldpulse. 


Our food bank is a life saving initiative that provides free foodstuffs to women in need every Sunday, except on emergencies.  We also support few sick men.

About two years ago, a girl walked into our centre with  three children  to ask for free foodstuffs.  I was curious because I know many people who visit but this particular one was a stranger.

She mentioned that she lives in Orile, Surulere area of Lagos, its far from Ibasa....but someone told her about our programmes.  So she decided to verify if it is possible to donate free foodstuffs and still pay for the transportation of the women in need. 

As expected, I asked about her history.  She told me that she is a widow and the husband died a few weeks earlier. I was surprised and asked why a small girl should have 3 children and already a widow.


She revealed that she was 26 years old, a first child with six younger siblings and that she gave birth to those children.. she is an orphan and has orphaned children too. Hmmnn.

Her name is Lara Odulana. She is perite, beautiful, intelligent but very sad. 

Her husband's family members were angry with her, threw her and her children out because her legs were not good. The husband died from kidney failure. 


She had to return to her mother and six siblings who all live in a single room. The poverty that forced her into that marriage now dealt with her mercilessly. 


We gave her more than enough foodstuffs because of her children  and her siblings and mother. 


I knew that receiving foodstuffs monthly will never solve her problems.  So I asked her what she had at hand that would empower her to support her big family. 


She answered that she had nothing at hand. And that I should be giving her foodstuffs, she will find a way to support her children's education. 


As a Transformation expert, I know that there is no woman without anything at hand. I pressed her further assuring her that, knowing of what she has at hand wl not stop me from giving her free foodstuffs. 


Then, she informed me that she is poor and blah blah... but I explained that what is at hand could be a certificate or skill.... she told me that she has a Diploma in Banking and Finance, she has tried endlessly but couldn't find any employment opportunities, so she started an evening lesson for kids in her street, this was not successful because almost all schools have extra lessons for their students. 


The certificate is a good thing at hand and I asked if she could go back to school, her face lit up, but the fire quenched before she could even smile, she said that it was her dream, the husband promised to support her but it didn't work out before he died because Nigeria is too hard to succeed for the poor people....

Hand outs will never empower a poor woman except it is the educational handouts sold in  universities. 

So I promised her that we will support her education, so she had to go back to school, because it was her dream and the best thing to do now. If for nothing, higher education will put her in a better position to access available employment opportunities  and increase her chances of survival. 


Higher education will change her life forever. 


We enrolled her for her Higher National diploma last year at the Lagos state Polytechnic. To study BankingandFinance., its a three year programme because she already did the Ordinary National Diploma before her marriage. 


She passed the entrance examination and she proceeded to study, moved into the school area while her mother takes care.of all the 9 children, that includes the 3 grandchildren. 


We pay her school fees, accommodation fees, educational books and handouts.  She is doing well academically and emotionally stabilised because we provides her family with  foodstuffs and herself with good quality education, free from all charges!


Whenever I am not buoyant to pay her fees, I usually inform my sister to help me and they always do. She will soon be through with her education. 



I cant explain how I feel. I cant. 


Our first contact, she was very sad. She told me how her in laws sold her husband's chairs and TV and radio and mattress, just few days after his death, and how the late husband was buried with just the dirty clothes that he wore. She wept like the butter widow that fateful day.



Deep within me, that sad day, I resolved to help this woman back to health. Because, she was sick, emotionally sick and traumatised by the incident and the reaction of her in-laws.  


It has been two years now, the in-laws didn't bother to check on the orphans, they sold everything, she was left with nothing but we gave her something to live for that day.


Her laughter of yesterday said it all.


As I usually say it here and everywhere, I am not on earth to transform the lives of thousands.  I am here to support a few women to Transformation.  These few women will definitely be supported to experience genuine and forever Transformation. 









Comments 9

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J Brenda Lanyero
Oct 10, 2020
Oct 10, 2020

Hello Olutosin.
This is really a good work you are doing and am just so happy and shading tears as though I know that lady.
I pray you get the resources to enable you support more women. You work is really trans-formative as when you give her something to enable her support herself, she will not keep coming back or begging all the time.
Thank you for the work well done.

Oct 10, 2020
Oct 10, 2020

Amen to your beautiful prayers my sister. My dream is to establish a sustainable business to support my dreams without begging for help fromany organisation

Thanks again.

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 10, 2020
Oct 10, 2020

Dear Tosin,
Once again your wisdom is woven into your story. How important it is to take the time to explore together even in a time when all seems impossible, to find what past experience or talent lies beneath, and to bring it forward again. A story of what talents women have that we might have forgotten in a new crisis, but also the power of supporting each other. May the wind continue to carry you dear sister in all you are accomplishing.
Much love,

Oct 11, 2020
Oct 11, 2020

Yes my sister we all have something in our hands that can liberate us. We must detect it and use it judiciously.

Nini Mappo
Oct 12, 2020
Oct 12, 2020

Hello again Olutosin,
Your story reminds me of a song "You turn my mourning, into dancing, o what a happy day, you turn my mourning, into dancing, you dry my tears away!" You gave life through continued food provision, restored hope, and are helping to build a tomorrow for a mother and her children. I think of their outcomes before your intervention and their outcomes at present and beyond, and celebrate you!

Oct 13, 2020
Oct 13, 2020

I celebrate you too my lovely sister.
May we be more and do more Amen.

Karen QuiƱones-Axalan
Oct 26, 2020
Oct 26, 2020

Hello, Sis Olutosin,

I'm happy to read that you helped another woman transformed her life. You inspired and encouraged us as always. You have transformed a lot of women's lives already, and they will do the same to their circles of influence. You are starting a revolution of transformation in Nigeria as they pay this forward by helping more women. Thank you for daring to lead to set more women and girls free from the snares of an oppressive culture. Celebrating with you as you take off shackles after shackles and set women free!

Yes, the song Nini shared is apt!

Oct 28, 2020
Oct 28, 2020

Thanks for your encouraging comment my lovely sister.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Dec 16, 2020
Dec 16, 2020

Greetings Olutosin,
this story is very sad all too commonplace for us living and working in Africa and countries whom need to step up and help their citizens.
Many in Africa, men and women are educated but unfortunately cannot find employment.
We agree education is the key and handouts will not teach "a man/woman how to fish" but education and opportunity will nail it!
It is a blessing the support you give Lara, more blessings on you as well.
Keep educating and inspiring. #westandwithyou!
all my very best wishes to you,
Mama Queen

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