THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET
-Olori Wuraola Ogunwusi
About Olori Wuraola Orphan Aid Project?
The orphans are young children, sometimes babies, who for one reason or the other were denied the privilege of having parents and families. Some lost their parents during war and other conflicts. I strongly believe that each time we look at the orphans, it should remind us that we are privileged to have our parents and families, as it were.
So, you can imagine what life would have been like without our dear families! No one to love and be loved by; no one to cry to, no one to teach us, nurture and inspire us. It is very sad to live and have no one to depend on for the basic disciplines and life statutes, no family culture and aspirations, no reputation whatsoever, no defence, no pride, and worst of all, a possibility of a totally misguided and uncharted future!
The Olori Wuraola Orphan Aid Project was inspired by a compassionate desire to step into the gap and fight for a future for these children. It was a desire nursed and worked towards through the last few years, long before I became a queen.
I have also been passionate about the sad living condition most of these homes are in. A lot of my friends and family will testify to how I had disturbed them to all partner with me to renovate most of the homes.
At the time I did my bit, and now I feel I have a bigger platform to reach out to more people and carry them along in supporting.
I believe that someone has to prove to the children and to the world in general that they are not a mistake of existence! God did not make a mistake in creating them.
No matter how unlikely it may seem in their situation, Nigerians are very passionate people and a lot is being done in the area of philanthropy.
But compared to what needs to be done, it is a drop in the ocean! A tremendous lot still remains undone. The project is therefore my modest effort to do my bit in reaching out to others.
The truth of the matter here is that none of us chose where and when we are to be born. It is a privilege from God Almighty that most of us have the backgrounds that we have, and are where we are today.
We can show appreciation to God for his many blessings in our lives by assisting in the lives of these children. We can give them love, care, nurturing and a future. A lot of these children are awesomely talented.
It will be great if we assist in their self-discovery and help give them a future and a purpose-driven life of self-actualisation, making them relevant and a source of value to the society.
What are some of the unique things that you would be doing?
Our core objective is the rehabilitation of the dwelling places of these orphans. That is one of our main concerns and this gave birth to the maiden edition of the #GIVE BACK concert.
For this, we have targeted twenty orphanages all through the south Western part of Nigeria.
We will be raising funds that will be used to improve infrastructure at the orphanages. You will be shocked at how deplorable some of the structures of these orphanages and the sore state most of the children are living.
We will also be equipping them with schools’ supplies and basic medical equipment, and we will also be taking care of talent discovery, education, in terms of scholarships and, in some cases, entrepreneurial empowerment in various degrees.
Tell us about the Giveback Concert and some of the things to look out for
The Giveback Concert was conceived from a desire first and foremost to give love to these children. February is the month of love. In February, everyone will be with their loved ones, sharing and giving. But who remembers the children in the orphanages? I am driven to give these children something that will last them a lifetime in terms of memory. Most importantly, to use the avenue of music which is the common tool that brings people of diverse backgrounds together, and to open their minds to the plight of the less-privileged.
What gives you the motivation to do the things you are doing?
I am inspired by God and the spirit of humanity. There is something in every person that cries out to help each other. It is love and humane spirit.
Everyone has a desire to help but difficult schedules, financial constraints and the fact that we all have individual difficulties, often make it rather hard to step out in that
extra and seemingly unrewarded cause of assisting the helpless.
But the truth, however, is that God’s real reward lies in there. I wish we all could do more. I wish we could all muster more courage. I am inspired by the fulfilment that comes from giving.
I want to reach out, to be able to tell others that, ‘look, no matter how little you can do, it is very important and it will go a long way in saving the lives of these orphans.’
To tell people not to hold back but to reach out and touch a life! It will make all the difference if we all get involved.
Let’s talk about some memorable moments as wife of the Ooni of ife
I must say that being married to the Ooni is like being married to any other man, except with its peculiarity, as you know.
He is exceptionally kind and supportive. In that, I must say that I am blessed and I give glory to God! Memorable moments?
Well, the day we were married for one; it was a day I will never forget. Every day, I can tell you, has been memorable in our lives because no matter what the day brings there is always something to take from it.
It’s been eventful.
What are some of the things that you share in common with your husband? What qualities attracted you to him?
We share a common passion to make the world a better place by helping the less-privileged.
The House of Oduduwa Foundation is established to do just that. My husband has a tremendous passion for the youth. He is very much involved in entrepreneurial empowerment of young people, helping them to discover their
innate abilities, merge them with opportunities within their environment and carve an economic niche; thereby creating employment for themselves and ultimately for others.
This is what I think the world needs now.
Government cannot do it all. If we all lend a helping hand, we will realise that we are helping ourselves in the long run.
On my own part, I am giving my best at empowering women and helping the orphans. It is all an effort towards doing that which most people feel is not their responsibility. Getting involved in underprivileged peoples’ lives is not easy, but if we do not do it, we will be left with a society that is less human.
What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the lives of women and children in Ife?
I will love to see better health care, more inclusion in business financing, more education, a stronger voice and reduction in marginalisation in terms of land tenure, and better respect for women, especially reduction in abuse and cruelty from family and husbands. I will love to see more cooperation among women. I will love to see more visibility for the contributions of women, especially in terms of agriculture, to the national economy and therefore more investments from foreign bodies and corporations.
These are a few of the changes I would love to see, not just in Ife but the entire country.
Let’s compare life before you became Olori and now. Is there anything that you miss?
I am not sure, it’s been a while. I have almost completely forgotten what life was like before this status. Maybe I miss the ability to be anonymous now. Of course it wasn’t all the same. But of course this is where I am now. I am a queen and this is my role and I have become part of it and it has also become part of me.
I am happy; I’m in a good place. I love my husband and I have strong duties to him and his office as the Ooni, and that is all that matters now.
Who are some of your role models or mentors?
I learned almost all I know from my mother, God rest her soul. A strong-willed woman with a larger-than-life image and a pure heart almost like a child.
I have also had the privilege of meeting some great people. I have read a lot about so many people too. It will be unfair to mention one person and not the other and there are so many.
However, now, I have become a role model of myself and I concentrate on improving myself and making my life a source of inspiration to future generations. I also learn a lot from my husband. He is a well of wisdom.
Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?
God and love are my greatest motivators. I also believe in fairness and purposeful lifestyle by which you set attainable targets and do your best to give a good account of all that you were bequeathed with, in all ramifications.
What is your definition of style?
As the Ooni’s wife, you can’t just wear anything at all. There is an imperative demand on you to respect your office and status as a matter of duty.
Yet, that is not an excuse to be drab and uninspiring. So, I create my own style to look as much as myself and not anyone else and still look good.
So that defines a line of best fit: respectful, dignifying and yet exceptionally nice and classy.
Anything that fits those limits, and I don’t compromise on comfort.
What are the items that you treasure most in your wardrobe?
I am not sure. There are quite a number of valuable things there. I don’t let all that define my life, but I am also not attached to anything in particular.
How do you relax?
A good book, a peaceful space, and making sure I have my pen and paper to scribble down ideas as I get inspired, and, of course, precious time with my husband.
We try to create those moments despite our very hectic schedule.
What is your majesty’s advice to young people?
My advice for them is to set a goal, go for it with tenacity. You will have distractions but pick yourself back up and continue to move; be honest in your dealings.
Even the bible says, “should a man be diligent in his ways, he shall stand before kings.” Allow people the luxury to have different opinions about you but always remember who you truly are, and that will take you far.