When posted to Oyo State for the one year National Youth Service Corps programme, little did Odunayo Amosu know that so much was lying in the offing for her.
However, with a few weeks more to round off, the 25 year-old Micro Biology graduate from the Lagos State University expressed joy that despite series of huddles across her path, she was able to fulfil her set goals in the service year. According to her, the service year came with different interesting tasks, trials and challenges.
Amosu said that her ultimate dream in life was to touch the lives of the less privileged and the vulnerable. The road to meeting the goal was rough and bumpy, but she stated, “The interesting thing is that I’m able to meet up. I came, I saw and I conquered.”
Amosu was not nurtured with silver spoon. In fact, she did not have the pleasure of enjoying the warmth, care and counsel of a mother for long in her growing years. Just at the most auspicious moment in life when she needed her mother most, she said, “Death came and took her from me. Since that time I lost the priceless joy and bond between mother and child.”
Amosu, who is from a family of seven, lost her mother, Abiodun, three years ago. As the last child of the family, she said that she was the most traumatised.
Incidentally her travail in life turned out to be her strength and driving force to reach out to the vulnerable groups in the society of which widows and orphans are in the majority. Her love for service sprouted and yielded fruits during the service year.
Shortly after she reported to the NYSC orientation camp in Iseyin last year, she met a woman who was torn between her needs and challenges. Amosu, a batch C, 2011 youth corps member was overwhelmed with pity on her first contact with the menial labourer, Mrs. Serah Atilola.
Atilola, according to her, had been engaging in menial jobs such as laundry, running errands and washing plates for fresh corps members in the orientation camp for nearly 10 years. The hapless widow also engages in other domestic chores in the camp.
Amosu said, “You could see that the prolonged washing had affected her palms up to her wrists. I noticed the woman when I ran into an argument scene between her and a corps to member. During my discussion with her I found out that she was a widow with three children to fend for.
“I got interested in her case, advised her to quit the job, get some money and engage in petty trading. The reply she gave touched me so much. She asked, what would she be living on? I decided to take the women empowerment project up and took the project to Iseyin mainly so that she could be one of the beneficiaries.”
While serving at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Amosu embarked on three personal community development projects. Among them was donation of N35,000 worth of food stuff, toiletries, baby food, pampers, detergent, palm oil, groundnut oil and semovita to FOMWAN Motherless Baby Home at Bashorun, Ibadan.
After her first visit to the home on May 31, she said that she was touched by the vision of the founders of the home and the plights of the orphans.
“I knew about the home while passing through Bashorun. As a Christian, what interested me was the fact that the home is being run by Muslim sisters. I was gingered by the desire to create peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims. This, for me, would go a long way to sustain peace. We all know what is going on in this country but in my own way, I’m trying to encourage an atmosphere of peace.’’
Amosu also gave her widow’s mite to a widow, Mrs. Flourence Itua, whose story she read in a newspaper a few months ago. According to the story, Itua, who is based in Lagos, was about to be sent out of the house by her landlord over a year outstanding rent.
“Touched by her plight, I gave her a popcorn machine with a sum of N25,000 to settle her rent,” she explained.
She said that emotion ran high the day Itua came for the gift at Akinyele Local Government Council in Ibadan. The youth corps member added, “After the presentation that I made, an NGO that was motivated by my gesture also gave the woman another sum of N200,000 just a week after.’’
Driven by her pet project tagged, ‘Women are great tools for community development,’ Amosu travelled back to Iseyin after her three-week orientation from November to December 2011.
Driven by the saying that whoever trains a woman trains a nation, she said, “I trained a total of 86 women under the empowerment scheme on how to produce liquid wash, Izal, stove thread, bleach, liquid air freshener etc. for five months.”
On completion of the training, she gave two of the participants two pepper grinders (with Atilola as one of the beneficiaries), with other materials to 15 women to start off their trade. In all, 20 women were provided with empowerment materials while all the participants got a training handout and a certificate each.
In appreciation of her gesture, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Ganiyu Adekunle Salau (JP), Ologunebi Ajinonse II, gave her the traditional title of Atunluse of Iseyinland.
Among others, she expressed her gratitude to the donors who made her project possible, among whom were the West African Seasoning Company, Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Kolawole Taiwo; the Anglican Bishop of Ibadan North Diocese, Rt. Reverend Segun Okubadejo; Mr. Charles Oko, Mr. Bayo Adenekan, and the Commercial Manager, Coca Cola, Mokola, Mr. Kehinde Fadaka.