Adetokunbo Adetola Abigail is a 20-year-old Nigerian girl who is striving hard to see that children’s rights in Nigeria are protected. The NCE holder has not allowed her educational qualification to affect the good she has to offer the nation and children at large.
NAIJ.com correspondent recently got in touch with the young girl after getting to know she recently organized a walk in Alapere area of Lagos. The walk was to sensitize children and parents on the need to protect the young ones from all sorts of abuses.
The rate at which children are being molested and abused has become a major point of concern to people who are ardent lovers of children. Abigail runs an NGO which she calls Kiyeseni; a weird choice of name.
However, the interaction she had with a NAIJ.com correspondent will reveal all you need to know about her, the passion she has for children and her drive. It is intriguing to know that this young girl has achieved so much with little or no financial support.
Read the excerpts from the interview below:
Can you tell us more about yourself, family background and academic qualifications?
I am the only girl in a family of six. I finished my NCE programme last year October in Kwara state College of Education where I studied Biology/Integrated science. I'm 20 years old. I was born in Lagos but my father is a native of Ondo state.
How long have you been into this programme?
I have been running this programme for about six years now although this is my first walk.
What prompted you into doing it in the first place?
I have always had this passion for children since I was younger. I want to do all that I possibly can to make this world a safe place for them. To positively push them to be the best they can be.
How would you rate the reception of people since you began the awareness?
My team members and I took to social media platforms to publicize while my parents helped in sensitizing the areas. We got amazing support and the people from the streets we walked were curious to know. Most of them sent their children with us to the talk venue.
Funding is a major issue with NGOs, how have you been coping?
Funding! It has not been easy. For this walk and talk (we had a talk too), my team members and I asked family and friends and people for funds. I sincerely appreciate them.
What was your ambition while growing up?
I have always wanted to be a teacher. Not just any teacher but a professional one (smiles). I am steadily getting there.
Has anything changed about it?
The passion keeps me going. I see children and I feel peace. They deserve the best. They are the tomorrow we depend on. We create a safe place for them to maximally develop, they maximize their potentials. That in turn creates the better life we desire.
What motivates you to continue doing what you are doing?
The fact that l am 20 is true. I have had my wings clipped several times because of that but here am I. Still keeping on. The area of support is another area that gives me headache. What is a foundation or dream without support, finances and publicity?
The area of expertise support matters too. If we want the people to know the legal implications of subjecting children to abuse, it is possible I read up on that but what if it has to be delivered in a particular language?
Tell us about the foundation and what made you choose the name
The name KIYESENI has a story behind it. My mom told me that I was born very small. I was not a premature baby and she did every right thing a pregnant woman does but I was just so small that when she was leaving the hospital she had to wrap me with a towel before putting me on her back.
A friend of hers came visiting few days later and almost sat on me because she didn't know I was there. She actually gave me the name KIYESENI which means 'watch out for this one'.
I decided to use the name because when I look at the children I've been privileged to help and work with, they are really one of the best our nation desires. What she needs.
KIYESENI foundation has to do with everything that deals with children. We help put out-of-school children back to Schools, provide relief materials to them and their families, create awareness on issues dealing with children, organize educative programmes in the communities and a whole lot of other activities.
Which major challenges have you tried to overcome since you began?
Sponsorship is one of the major challenges.
Have your parents supported since you started?
My parents and brothers have been very supportive since I started. I remember when I would just barge into the house about a child or family needing help and how my parents would run around to make sure it is done. I cannot thank them enough.
Meanwhile, the NAIJ.com video below shows what some children in Nigeria are going through. These ones are pleading with the government not ti demolish their homes: