Interview With The Founder, Gilead Foundation Abdulrahman Baliqees Dasola, Founder of Gilead Foundation in exclusive interview with Almustaqim Balogun spoke at length about her inspiration, passion for social change and youth advancement. The young student leader in the social sector also revealed her plans to contribute to the society by curbing a popular menace of CHILD HAWKING.
What was your inspiration behind founding Gilead foundation?
Ever since I was a kid, I have had passion for hawkers especially child hawkers. I grew up in northern part of Nigeria, – Suleja Niger state to be precise which shares border with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Over there you get to see parents most mothers Niqqabites, they rarely come out in open, we call them “matankunle”. As soon as their kids are able to walk, they start hawking for their parents. Even goods as little as match sticks are being hawked. These children usually get exposed to streets which have detrimental effect on their psychology. Some young ones get pregnant on the street. Some get hit my automobiles. I have instilled a drive in me to do something when I grow up. I have always have the passion and fire in me to do find solutions to it. I know I can’t change the world alone. But I can contribute my quota to the environment.
The name “Gilead” is uncommon. What’s the meaning and motivation behind the name?
There is this person I have always loved. He has so many names one of which is balm of Gilead. Balm is a substance used to sooth pains from aches. It takes away your pain. The world Gilead comes from Israel, a name of a hill which means testimony. If I can empower people, I believe it’s a testimony. What are the mission and vision of your organization? In the nearest future we plan on empowering as many teenagers as we can,to give them skills such as tailoring, catering, makeup and so on. We want them to learn and be independent. Teenagers who don’t need to go begging for livelihood. The long term goal is to establish a vocational school to bring the teenagers for a long training process. We also plan on having reading clubs. Reading increase their IQ and make them make calculated actions.
What are the challenges you guys face while implementing some of the projects?
There is a saying which goes “There are not roses without thorns”. They have been a lot of challenges especially on fundraising. My team members and my team are mostly students. Though we are all entrepreneurs but there is a limit to what we can do. We can’t reach out to aso many people as we wish to,more reasons why we can’t have our facility now. To navigate this challenges we decided to go to schools to use their structural facilities and our equipment to train their students. This is in a form of a mini skill. We decided to start little but we aim big.
Give us a brief about the upcoming events.
I am really excited on the upcoming events. We are planning a rally in form of a roadwork on sensitization of the general public. We plan to go to major markets and sensitize parents on the dangers of hawking and why they should get their children empowered, children could stay at home and bring in money without having to hawk. We have a hashtag for that #HawkingIsNotASkill. Aside from that we have by April, skill acquisition coming up in one of the schools here in Ilorin. It’s going to be a one week skill acquisition. After that we will have an exhibition bringing individuals to view the different products this children have learnt during the course of the program. Are you open to sponsorship and partnership with other organizations?
I have always believed that a tree doesn’t make a forest. Gilead foundation is open for sponsorship and partnership. I believe there is a limit to what we can do but together we can achieve so much more.
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