OBIOMA Peace Mmuojama, 26, was posted to carry out her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Kogi state.
When she was sent to a primary school in Mopa-muro Local Government Area (LGA) as her place for primary assignment (PPA), she had the idea to carry out a community service project to provide clothes for children. This will be one of the numerous projects she would eventually execute before her service year would end in 2022.
The community service project is a year-round affair through which corps members work with the local communities to promote self-reliance by systematically prospecting and executing development projects and programmes that positively impact the socio-economic development of the host communities.
The community service project is expected to answer to a felt-need.
So, she went ahead and sew the clothes. She had initially acquired sewing skills through the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Department, SAED.
“I joined fashion and designing SAED group while in camp after which I continued with the training. I saw the need to give back to society so I thought of sewing clothes for all the children at the orphanage home,” she tells The ICIR.
The orphanage here is the Omolayo Home Care Orphanage in Mopa.
The children also asked Mmuojama for shoes and slippers, this she was able to achieve via crowdfunding.
She decided to go the crowdfunding route because she only has the allowance = N33,000 paid by the NYSc which would not be enough. Secondly, it was expressly stated in the NYSC handbook that community project should not be finaced by the allowance.
Using the status feature on her WhatsApp, Mmuojama raised N100,000
“I have to say that I didn’t buy the whole stuff with my money. I got the money from people on my WhatsApp status; since that’s not my first community project, sir, it’s easy. I went there with new clothes, footwears, tubers of yam, cartons of tea and milk, cartons of indomie (noodles), packs of semolina etc. and those children were so happy to have me around.” she tells The ICIR.
The Patron of orphanage, Amos Ajakaye, said he was elated to see her giving back to the community.
“She has good intentions to cater for children. You know, when we talk about orphanages, these children don’t have a father to take care of them. It’s us and people like her who are willing to put a smile on these children’s faces,” he tells The ICIR.
For her next community service project, Mmuojama widened her scope beyond the orphange.
She took skills acquisition to six schools in Mopa-Muro with more than 500 children as beneficiaries.
The Anambra state indegene trained the pupils on how to make and package soaps, using the hand-on approach. This time around she funded it from her person savings she notes.
Speaking with The ICIR, one of the beneficiary schools, ECWA Secondary School Mopa’s principal, Kayode Joseph says “It’s not only the students that benefited from the program; the staff also did. It’s like an empowerment program that interests me a lot. With the situation of the country, it will go a long way economically and will also empower youths because we can’t depend on the certificate only.”
Another beneficiary, the vice principal of Baptist Secondary School, David Motilewa, notes that the training is an eye-opener for children.
“She came for a career talk, and that’s a very good idea. After that, she taught our pupils how to make soaps, and since then, our students have been practising that.
“It’s an excellent job from a corps member; we love to see that kind of work. So, I will be using this opportunity to enjoin people to replicate such,” he states.
Obioma says, she has many felt-needs she identified that would have serve the community, but funding has been a challenge.
One of such is providing water for a community with no access.
“Every project challenge starts from funding,” she says.
“For instance, there’s this community in Mapo where they suffer from a lack of water. I extended my gestures to help them look for a philanthropist who would donate a borehole, but till now, we couldn’t get any help. These people (community) even contributed money to call the surveyor to find the best position to place the borehole. I have met politicians concerning this project, but they kept posting me,” she explains.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: email@example.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M