Princess Feyikemi Ayoola Egbeyemi, founder of Princess Videun Foundation, in this brief chat with Global Excellence magazine’s DAMILOLA ELEMORO, shares her passion for giving, reasons for setting up a charity scheme, her family, and more. Excerpts…
Who is Feyikemi Egbeyemi?
Thank you. Oluwafeyikemi Ayoola Egbeyemi has worked for 24 years of her life in the private and public sector. I’m a proud Rotarian and that is my first tag. We help people with the little we have. Having come from an humble background, I know the little you do can go a long way, I saw my parent do that when we were young and they are still doing it, so that as shaped me.
Has there been any regret helping people?
I wouldn’t say there have been regret, rather you learn, I learnt, you discover that the opportunity you can give to one man who succeed someone else will abuse it, so I help people who really needs help. Let me give you a typical example, when we stated about three four years ago, we observed what Central bank of Nigeria is doing and we said ok, let do something for the people.
And we said how much do this women need to trade, and found out that with as little as 20 thousand Naira, they will trade and still feed their family. And once you feed a family, violence is reduced, teenagers won’t be on the street, they won’t be molestation and once a home is happy, the country is happy.
Among those women, we are doing a common banking. What we do is do a group of 12 and ask someone to be the leader of the group, this leader make sure that they all pay as at when due. I remember when I took this idea to my village, people said it’s because it’s my constituency and people where asking why it was for only women, and I explained to them that if you give a woman little she would take good care of the family.
The level of mathematics on their head, you will be shocked at it. In about six months, we are progressing to the youth ,we are going to work with some international development, we want to build their skills and create an economic hub where you have all the profession, so I don’t have any regret rather am emboldened.
How do you source for funds to run your charity activities?
We don’t have funding from outside. Three of us have been able to put some funds together. It’s a way of getting people out of the street, you hear of crimes everywhere, it is because of joblessness. Like they say an idle hand is the devils workshop. If there is no money, you know how we Nigerians behave. When we started this foundation our focus was just women and the youth, what we are trying to do is to create a base then we can involve banks and some institutes.
Talking about peculiarities, we have several foundations across the country, what stands Videun Foundation out?
That is my private foundation, but the other foundation is organized by a group of people, we are a charity with a purpose. We found out that, when people don’t work for something, they don’t appreciate it, like I said earlier I got tired of giving people money and they don’t do anything with it.
Imagine giving someone a car and the person says to you ‘’the car you gave me is too expensive to maintain come and help me’’ and lots of them like that, so I said to myself that I think am giving wrongly, so when we started this, I told the women it’s not charity, we will help you but you will pay little interest, what we do is give a group of 12 money, when they pay back we give another set of 12 and they having been paying, so we are business charity organization.
Please tell us about the project you are embarking on?
We are looking at the health sector for our constituency, like they say health is wealth if you don’t take care of your health, it is the same wealth you will use to take care of your health. During the Easter period, we are going to have an health campaign, to let people know that you don’t need to spend much to live a healthy life. There will be checkup and treatment. In the past, we did free malaria test and treatment, there will also be dental test, those who need replacement will be referred to the general hospital.
What do you derive from this?
Joy, let me give you an instance, three years ago I helped a young man who was blinded by cataract and diabetes. I took it upon myself, he was referred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (Luth) and they were able to restore the other eye that was going blind, what give me joy is the fact that I can give hope to people.
Do you have interest in politics?
As a child in your family, if you constantly provide solution they will make you a leader, by circumstance of what I do, people say you are our own, and anytime there is an opportunity, we will push you forward, and I consider that an honour .
Talking about the empowerment are you limiting it to your constituency alone?
One needs to be sure of what you want to spread around, we started 5 months ago and we are trying to be careful, we don’t want to jump the gun yet, we want to stay in that area at least for 1year.
What has been the feedback so far?
The feedback is tremendous, am happy seeing people’s lives being transformed. We started with just 10 people and now we have over 200 people. So you can imagine if we have enough money how many lives we will be able to touch
In six years time, where do you see the foundation?
In high places, we have started involving people that matters and we have started distributing the foundations goals, and have been receiving feedbacks.
Yes, but it’s a home for teenagers and not orphanage , I found out that lots of them are traumatized. Incidentally, I have spoken to some of them and have come to realize they need help. There are lots of homes for the children but none for teenagers and they are the future of the country. I have told God that when I turn 50 years old next year, I will venture into that.
I have two boys who are teenagers and I know how they feel, times they want to be heard, and if you are not there they will talk to strangers that will advise them wrongly. I have a site I have started building in Ogun State, I want to take them were they will be able to think.
Share with us your beauty routine?
I don’t have any, the most important thing is to find your inner peace, we’ve all passed through our deep waters, the most important thing is to move away from negate people and don’t carry grudges.