My Journey To The Future (Episode 4)- Praise Ogabi
During the course of my NYSC, I had a whole different life outside my primary place of assignment which was my CDS (Community Development Service). In fact, our director back then called our CDS our secondary place of assignment. I joined the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) CDS group. It was a group structured around motivating youth corps members to carry out activities geared towards achieving the seventeen sustainable development goals.
On one of our outings as a CDS, we visited the School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja. It was a very emotional experience for me. It was moving to see visually impaired children, teenagers and some already in their adult years singing so sweetly about the mercies and faithfulness of God. It made me raise certain questions in my head like, what was I really living for? What impact had I made so far? Was I truly giving life my best?
I came away from that meeting feeling very touched, and although I didn’t know it then, I was going to go back to the school to ask- ‘what can I do for you?’
Weeks passed and soon it was time for us to commence our group and individual projects. I racked my brain and wondered what I’d do as my project. As I sat on the sofa in the room I was staying, a thought flashed across my mind- ‘why don’t you carry out a project at school for the blind, Jabi. It sounded like a good idea so my first step was to get to the school to find out is they would be open to partnering with me to raise funds to meet their immediate needs.
When I got to the school, I introduced myself and I asked what I could do. I was directed to the admin officer who happened to be visually impaired herself. She told me all about the school and their immediate needs. She told me how much they needed braille paper and braille machines, foodstuff, toiletries and day to day necessities. I thanked her and left.
The next step was to get a team whom I’d delegate some of the work to and who together, we’ll be able to raise some funds. It was great working with a team on a project like this. The project was tagged ‘PROJECT LEVERAGE FOR THE BLIND’. It was centred on raising funds to meet the immediate needs of the School for the Blind, Jabi. It was also focused on raising awareness about the school and encourage people to make donations to the school by partnering with us or on their own individual platforms.
We started off by creating a project proposal and budget and showing it to the school. Upon their approval and a letter from them showing that they endorsed the project, we started sourcing for funds. At first we started by writing to big organisations hoping they would at least support us with some of the food items on our list but we didn’t receive a positive response from them.
We restrategized by focusing on the people we knew and were able to raise a considerable part of the money that way. We would forever remain grateful to Mr Femi Akanji, founder of Racing for SDGs who rallied his friends and donated about a quarter of the entire sum.
After getting the money, our next step was to get the items for the program and this was also quite successful.
The day of the event dawned and I was quite jittery and nervous as I hadn’t been sleeping well. the same the event turned out beautifully well and I must say it was a learning experience all round.I was given a letter of commendation from both NYSC and the School for the Blind, Jabi. These are letters I’d forever treasure.
Despite this resounding success, challenges awaited me in the not too distant future. Read about it next Monday on the next episode of MY JOURNEY TO THE FUTURE by Praise Ogabi.