•Tells City People
Charity, they say, begins at home. This is not to seek as industrious Barrister Oketola Olorunwo Sam-Obaleye, daughter of a highly celebrated clergy; late Primate Omolaja Olorunwo of Olorunwo Cathedral Church spoke at length revealing how what she learnt from her father while growing up inspired what she is now doing.
Barr. Oketola Olorunwo is the founder of Tower Foundation, an NGO, which is committed to rendering support to the female folks in rural and urban areas. The organisation has been to a number of towns and villages in Abeokuta to touch the lives of people. The foundation recently visited Yobo village in Abeokuta where it rehabilitated the village health centre, sunk a borehole for the community, embarked on free medical check-up and distributed food items among other materials to the people. By so doing, many lives have been touched and smiles put on the faces of people in the village.
Many wonder where this heart of generosity comes from and below is what the philanthropic Oketola told City People Magazine.
How did you start the Tower Foundation?
I think it started 15 years ago. It was launched by Senator Ibikunle Amosun. In fact, I have been doing it when I was at university, but I just thought of doing it officially. It’s been 15 years now that Tower Foundation is doing what it knows how to do best.
15 years down the line, it is quite a long time, how have you been doing it?
Mostly, the funding comes from me. I think I’m not just lucky getting funding from people outside. But the Lord has been faithful; I have been able to do it. At least, 90 per cent of the funding comes from me then with the help of my siblings, then some friends, they do help out sometimes with their own widow’s might.
Why did you choose the part of humanitarian service?
You know, I was born into a clergy home. My father is a primate, a founder of a church. So, I think I got it from my dad and my mum. I remember most of the time growing up I saw my parents giving out money, giving out foods and scholarships to some of the church members and everybody. I grew up in humanitarian work. So, I would it’s more or less like a natural thing.
How was your upbringing like?
I was born into a clergy home and I have now a Pastor in charge of one of my dad’s church branch at Akute. I’m a Reverend in Methodist Church too. I think it’s what Jesus taught us too; doing good work, doing good deeds, so I’m just doing what the Bible tells us to do.
How do you blend your work with your humanitarian service?
I see it as an opportunity to serve God because that is my motto in life. Service to God and humanity nothing more. In fact, I’m even much happier than the people I’m doing something for because I see it as more of fulfilment. So, I feel this is what I’m born to do; being of service to God and being of service to Humanity.
What does your foundation stand for?
Tower Foundation is basically for the empowerment of women and the girl child. I am passionate about them. I believe that once a woman is well informed and is in a better frame of mind, they would be able to train their children in good morals and value. Then we will have a better home and a better society at large, I believe more in empowering women. I have a motherless home. I’m building another one now at Abeokuta, also a shelter home God’s willing next year. That should come with my birthday next year where we can have women who are hopeless, there we can shelter them, teach them one basic skills or the other and then get them ready to the society at large.
It appears you are so particular about the females; do you have anything in stock for males?
Though primarily I’m for women but I have some men whom I have bought cars for, Keke NAPEP and motorcycles just to empower them to be able to help their families. I’ve even sent some to learn one skill or the other. When I see a promising young man who I can help, I would be willing to help.
What can you say about the personality of your dad Primate Omolaja Olorunwo?
I got most of my good part and the other part from my dad. He’s an Owu man. I’m a little bit tough too. I can be very edgy too, I can be dogged if I want to. That I got most of this doing good deeds from my dad being a clergy. I was brought up with just doing good deeds, just doing good works and that has been part of my life. That is what gives me joy and that is what gives me fulfilment. So, I got most of these from my dad and my mum. My mum can give her last kobo out to help a person in need. She’s so particular about the people around her to make them comfortable. She’s particular about their welfare.
This year your dad turns 85, what message do you have for him?
He’s going to be 85 years young because you can see he’s even more active than I am. So, I wish him good health, a sound mind and long life so that we would be able to enjoy more of his goodwill.
What advice do you have for those looking up to you as a role model?
I want them to believe in themselves that they can achieve anything with hard work and with God. You can achieve anything you really want in life.