“Despite hardship, Nigerians still give to the needy”No Case Matched!
Mrs Adebukola Adediwura is the founder of Givers Arena, a non-governmental organisation committed to helping the downtroden, eapecially women in need. In its two years of existence, the online organisation has succeeded in putting smileson the faces of individuals and communities by meeting specific needs ranging from provison of community borehole, payment of childrens school fees and empowering widows with stipends to either start a trade or boost existing ones.
In this interview with Temitope Ojo, Bukola speaks on how the organisation came into being, challenges and what has kept her going.
How did you come up with the idea of Givers Arena?
Givers Arena was borne based on a covenant between God and I. When I was passing through trying times and tribulations, I prayed that if God can at least avail my family two square meals in a day, that I’ll offer myself as an instrument and be a blessing unto others.
And 5 years later after the covenant that I made, Givers Arena (Adex Adebukola Crowngold Foundation) was birthed.
And to the Glory of God, the group has been a channel of blessing to a whole lot of people.
In all honesty, would you say Nigerians are givers in the true sense of the word?
With the Nigeria situation presently, things are indeed dry for most people. But one thing I’ve come to appreciate us with as a people is: even at our lowest ebb, we still lend our hearts to giving towards the needs of others. Giving may have dropped in volume over the years but it is imperative we admit that we can not remove the art of giving from the heart of Nigerians.
How do you raise funds for the various projects that you’ve embarked on?
It has not been easy. Imagine asking someone who is in dire need of help to come and attend to someone else’s need.
But here’s what we’ve been doing strategically that works for us:
When the need arises, we share the narrative as objective as possible and solicit for help within the core of the group.
As at January this year, a sub group was created which we tagged “Destiny Helpers”.These set of people are committed to certain amount of money monthly, this we deployed to empower 10 people on a monthly basis for now. We still hope to get more donors.
So we have the intervention approach for emergencies and the effective project donor approach for budgeted projects. We are however growing and meeting our targets with celebrated milestones.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered since you founded the group?
A whole lot. But the major challenge is adequate funding as common to most foundations. You can imagine someone coming to meet you with various challenges, and you have no one to turn to for help.
On many occasions I just empathize with them and pray. But I know that’s not enough. How do you pray for someone who has not eaten? How do you pray for someone who sleeps on bare floor in a canteen that pays her N300 daily? How do you pray for a man who tells you he wants to run away because back at home, they need food?
Funding has been our major challenge and we are looking at growing beyond syndication from within the group to sharing our projects with society enough to attract funding from other sources.
Have you ever felt like giving up on the group?
Yes! Many times…. But each time I look back at my Why, I just go down on my knees and ask God for Grace… Like magic, He’ll attend to such request that is weighing me down.
People are passing through a lot. I’m human and once in a while I do feel like running away from people’s complaints.
What has kept you going?
The grace of God. And in one way or the other, God will just send someone to me to encourage me even without discussing anything with them. I know it must be the work of the Holy Spirit.
Tell us about some of the projects you’ve done, beneficiaries and how you choose them?
We’ve embarked on so many projects with the help of God..
Water project for a community school,
Donations of items to orphanages
Distribution of writing materials to various public schools,
Empowerment to various people, Hospitals visitations and donations of items, visits to inmates and Prisons donations, Yard sales, where items were bought at unimaginable reduced prices… Eg.. A derica of rice was sold at 100n
Just too many to mention.
How we pick beneficiaries?
GA was registered under the CAC in June 2017 and to make it a standard organization, we are structured.
We have zones that cut across the whole country with a Zonal and Assistant Zonal Coordinators taking charge. If we need to empower someone in Abuja for instance, I don’t need to go there as I live in Lagos, but the leaders there will do their work by doing a thorough investigation on such before items or funds will be released.
What’s next for GA in the next 5 years, where do you hope to see GA?
GA is just 2 years old… And with what God has done, is doing and will continue to make happen, we can only imagine how bright the future is for us. Most times I stand in awe of God for how He’s helping us and I believe Him to do more.
In 5 years…. I’m looking at GA having a vocational training center around the country. I’m looking at us having a micro finance bank that can give loans with low interest rate in order to help various businesses. I’m looking at us having a building for the homeless.
We believe nation building is everyone’s business not just the job Of political leaders and it will take the combined efforts of all of us to make this happen. We have taken a position and hope others find their own voice.