Different types and categories of Foundations are established as non-governmental organisations to play important roles of funding diverse programs that assist the poor and other less privilege or vulnerable group of people. They are also to play important roles in advancing social changes in our society. 

One of such non-governmental organisations is Clarion Golden Foundation (CGF) established with main focus on support for Widows. Our correspondent recently spoke with the officials of the foundation which has it temporary head office in Badru Street, Off Iju-Ishaga, Ifako-Ijaiye Local government of Lagos State.   

Honourable Emmanuel Abiodun Olaibi is the founder. He spoke to us first. Below are the excerpts:

What is your designation in regards Clarion Golden Foundation?

I am the founder of Clarion Golden Foundation (CGF) formerly known as Clarion Golden Organisation with head office in Ifako-Ijaiye Local government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.

When did this journey start and what kind of organization is Clarion Golden Foundation?

We have started since year 2015, and the organization is a foundation established to gather widows for supports, to care for the less privileged children and empower the youths.

You mentioned supports for the widows first, does that mean that they are the main category of people you target.  If this is so, why?

Yes, the main category of people that our foundation target for support are the widows.  The reason is that more than often, especially, nowadays, once a woman loses her husband in this part of the world, they begin to face a lot of challenges, especially, from the family of their late husbands.  Most of the times, they are denied access to what the husbands live behind, most times, not even minding the children the deceased left behind.  Most widows are prone to becoming vulnerable to harsh life as a result of maltreatment from their husbands family and even the society sometimes.  This is the main reason we have established the foundation.  Though, taking care of the less privileged children and providing empowerment for the youths are also part of our priority.

How far have you gone with the achievement of the aims of the foundation so far?

We have been able to steadily achieve the objectives of the foundation, especially, as regards the support for the widows.  Firstly, we do make sure that widows who still have age on their sides are provided means of livelihood to keep body and soul together.  For instance, for those who want to go into trading, we provide funding, for those who can cope with salary job, we fix them in different places, especially, in government agencies like “cleaner Lagos”.

As we speak, we have more than 25 of them working in “Cleaner Lagos”.

When you talked about the problems widows face after their husbands demise, you made mentioned of neglect of the children left behind, are there specific plans to help those children like their mothers?

Yes. More than often, we discover that our efforts to alleviate the sufferings of most of the widows are not felt as they face bigger challenges taking care of their children alone. Therefore, we do encourage them to bring their children to join the youth section of the foundation.  By God’s grace, we have been able to fix most of them to places of work, especially, within Lagos state agencies like LASTMA, Lagos State Neighborhood Security Corps.  We have also been able to fix one of them in the Nigerian Police recently, and of course another one entered Nigerian Navy through us.

So, what exactly are the programs of the Foundation for the youths?

For our programs for the generality of the youths, we have relationships with state governments, especially, Lagos State and local governments, as well as politically elected officials like members of state and National Assemblies, especially, members representing our immediate constituencies within Ifako-Ijaiye Local government.  We have a close relationship with Honourable Adedeji Adewale representing Ifako-Ijaiye constituency 01 at Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Usman Hamzat, the Executive Chairman of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government. 

These government officials always listen to us when we approach them with the needs of these widows because they belief and know that our efforts are indirectly helping the government to take of its people.  They are also willing to assist when we approach them with youths-related issues.

Meanwhile, at the very beginning of this establishment, we enjoyed the robust support of Honourable Adekunle Olayinka popularly known as KOPI, who was at that time the SA to the Lagos State Governor on D.A.W.N. (State on Developmental Agenda for Western Nigeria).  It was through him we were able to secure job placements for our youth members in Lagos State.

What are the challenges so far?

There are many challenges, but we thank God we are able to surmount them as they appear.  Part of the challenges we face is the impression of some people about the foundation. For instance, while some belief that the main motif for this foundation is political relevance, others think we are doing this because of joblessness, when others think we don’t use funds collected in the name of the foundation for what it is collected for.

So, what are your reactions to this?

We do not let it bother us much.  The reason is that we cannot stop people from seeing us from different angles.  We know what is the assignment God has placed in our hands, and how best to approach it for best results.

Are there presently any expectations from government?

Of course, we have expectations presently. But we understand the government is still very busy now considering the fact that we just have new government at the center and the fact that government at all levels are trying to cope with the realities of some changes policies.  This is why they have not been able to readily attend to some of our issues, especially, as relating to youths. We have some Cvs sent to them that are waiting to be attended to.  But they have promised to look into the request as soon as possible, especially, as regards job placement for the youths.

Have you been able to access assistance from influential people or Philanthropist within the society?

Recently, when some influential people in the immediate community saw what we have been able to do so far, especially, our efforts to help the community, we have received personal invitation. We have been able to things that are so much appreciated by our community.  For instance, we have been able to secure transformers for some streets.  We were also able to secure step-down transformer to Eid area.  We were also able to draw the attention of the government to F.A.C.M Primary school at Iju-Ishaga which has seen the school built like a model school during the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. So, individuals have approached us with their promise for support.  Though, we are yet to start to receive the support.

Is it right to say your activities is limited to Ifako-Ijaiye?

Our activities have root in Ifako-Ijaiye LG, so it is natural that most of our program will focus on the area, but, it does not mean we do not have beneficiaries from outside or that we only focus on Ifako-Ijaiye alone.  For instance, we have beneficiaries from Alimosho LG, some come to our meetings from Ogun state communities. Infact, when we considered the population of people from neigbouring Ogun State communities, we have recently established a branch of the foundation in Itoki area, along Agbado-Ijoko road, Ogun State.

In what other ways does the community benefit from the activities of your foundation?

Apart from direct efforts to help people in the community, our youth members participate regularly in community service programs organized by the foundation.  We also use our resources to propel the community services.  Example of such is the “Light up Ifako-Ijaiye” which involves making sure that street lights across the streets are working and are adequate.  We also involve in environmental sanitation programs which involves clearing drainages off blockages to forestall incidents of flooding.  We also help to draw the attention of government to areas where government intervention is needed, say like when there is a need for road repair etc.

Your words for the Youth, the community and the widows

My words to the youths are that they should all think first of what they can do for their communities, before what the communities can do for them.  Your efforts for your community and your nation do never go unrepaid.  Records of whatever you do fr the community or the people are kept.  You will know the worth of your efforts in the past when you need anything from your community or its people, which is when you see good recommendations and commendations from the people.  For the widows, do not see the death of spouse as the end of the world.  They should not dwell too much on their challenges because of the new status to avoid depression or sickness that has to do with mental states.  They should approach people or groups that can assist them and put smile on their faces, like what we do in Clarion Golden Foundation.  Whenever they come to us, they leave with joy and happiness.

Mrs. Folashade Adesanya is the Administrative Manager for Clarion Golden Foundation and she explained to our correspondents the modes of operation of the foundation.

What are the ways Clarion Golden Foundation operate?

We operate in the manners of taking care of vulnerable widows in our society and the less privileged, as well as young adults who have challenges in the academic pursuit and those who could not find work.

As a Foundation, in what ways do you think your activities have rubbed positively on the society?

We have brought a lot of positive changes to the society.  Firstly, since its establishment, this foundation has been profiling widows and youths, coaching them and modeling them towards making greatness out of their individual lives.  We especially talk to young ones on the danger of drugs, vices, gangsterism and cultism.  We also always console and provide succor for the widows and work it out with them on how to make the best of their lives.  We do tell them that becoming a widow is not the end of their lives.

By the Grace of God, with the little we can gather from all our sponsors and supporters, we are able to provide means of livelihood when needed.

 Do you have access to foreign funding, if not, what efforts are you putting in place for foreign donation for CGF?

We have taken a lot of steps to get foreign funding with the assistance of our board of Trustees. The chairman of the BOT is especially based in Canada and has been able to secure the interest of some people based over there.  We also have some other people abroad who have shown interest in our activities, but we are still working on the necessary steps to make this possible.

What are your expectations from individuals within the environment here?

Our expectation is high from individuals in this community.  But firstly, must show deep gratitude to those individuals, our ogas who have been so supporting.  First among the list is the newly appointed Lagos State commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Honourable Adekunle Olayinka (KOPI) who was instrumental in helping our youth members to secure jobs with the state.  So is the member representing Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 01, Honourable Adedeji Temitope Adewale who is always giving our list of widows priority whenever he organizes relevant programs.  He always promises to give us more.  We can’t but also always show our deep appreciation to the executive chairman of Ifako-Ijaie Local Government, Honourable Usman Akanbi Hamzat for his innumerable acts of supports especially, towards academic supports for our youths.

Where Do You See Clarion Golden Foundation in the next five years?

I see CGF in higher ground with tentacles in more communities across the globe as our focus is to reach out to widows for support, cater for less privilege children, empower the youths and assist single-parents scattered across all over the world.  So, I see us covering more part of the global communities in the next five years.

Your Final Words

My words of appreciation to all our pillars, as we earnestly look forward to more support to be able to do more.  It is our prayer that God gives them more opportunity to be able to give us more support.  May the Lord continue to keep them and bless them more abundantly.

Meanwhile, the youth Coordinator of the Foundation, Comrade Akinwale Olusola Adebayo also spoke with us on the youth section of the Foundation.

What is the focus of Clarion Golden Foundation for the Youths?

As we all know, joblessness is the main challenge the youths in the society face.  The foundation has its portion of the problem.  Our main focus for the youth members of the foundation therefore is to provide job opportunities.

What specific steps is the foundation taking to address joblessness among the youths in the foundation?

The officials of the foundation starting with the founder, Honourable Comrade Emmanuel Olaibi and the Admin Manager, Comrade Folasade Adesanya put it upon themselves to always approach the government, especially, Lagos State government to find openings for our young members who need job.  They also always approach public office holders in the local government as well as philanthropists in the community who provide means for vocational training for skills acquisition for these youths so as to get reliable means of livelihood.

Do you only involve youths who are registered with your foundation in your activities?

No.  The activities and benefits of our foundation are not limited to registered youth members alone, just that we lay emphasis and we are particular about being registered with us for record purpose and for reliable figures to work with.  But we offer assistance to anyone who approaches us for assistance though we encourage registration with us.  This implies that we will give priority to those who are registered with us more than the one-off beneficiaries.

Your final words to the generality of the youths

My words to the youths is not to wait for what the government will do for them but rather create opportunities for themselves.  There are so many skills you can learn online which can put food on your table and which will add values to you in form of knowledge and experience which is an important prerequisite for securing bigger and better jobs.  Continuous acquisition of skills is what that can help you key into opportunities when they come.

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