My name is Abimbola Esther Akinsanya, a graduate of English language from Obafemi Awolowo University. I am a Christian and was born into a very humble family of 8. 5 siblings and my parents. I grew up in Ebute Meta area of Lagos, and I have a strong interest in Charity, media and communications.
I run a Ngo called Lend a Hand for the Development of Africa formerly called Bimbo and friends. We hope to fill the void created by the inadequate access to quality education and health materials in local communities. We do this by giving educational and health support/supplies to young adults in various local communities. We have been able to reach out to over 5000 people, and we have different schools and communities as our adopted centres.
Presently, we have 4 boys on our scholarship scheme, and we have been able to give over 2000 sanitary pads to young girls. I started this move when I was in 300 level at the university after I realised that I would rather be a part of the generation of people who acted on a situation rather than just talk about it. I wanted to be a change agent, and I believe it became stronger after talking to God about it, and I was convinced God would have me do this.
However, before I took being a social entrepreneur seriously after I graduated from the University, I realised my love for the children I came across was very overwhelming. I would be at work, but my attention would be on the next line of action to help improve the lives of children as regards education and health. What I studied in the University- English- did not really prepare me for what I’m doing now but it is definitely not a wasted effort because it helps me communicate properly especially when I want to ask for fund support for projects (lol).
Starting this organisation wasn’t easy, but I am deeply passionate about helping especially when I reflect on the things I had to surmount growing up. From selling pure water in Oyingbo and experiencing hunger and deprivation first hand, I can truly tell you I know how those young kids feel.
However, I started as a student and didn’t know much about structuring an organisation or its funding and all, but I had to learn, read and talk to mentors. It was a bit challenging striking a balance between the organisation and my academics then, but I thank God it went well. At that time, I was getting 10k from my parents monthly, ‘how do I get to do things?’ But I guess learning and growth have made things easier now. Thank God. (lol)
And I can say my journey has been one of God’s grace as “na baba dey carry me”. It’s has been one where I continually inspire and motivate myself and team members towards why we started and why we must continue reaching out. I am totally aware that challenges are normal and a part of every success. Sometimes it’s funding. Sorry, scratch that a lot of times. (lol). But challenges are in phrases, sometimes all we need are more volunteers or certain government policies in our favour. That’s why my number one inspiration is God. This may sound like a cliche, but it’s not! God has been the One that keeps me going; He is my strength when I am weak. Also, the joy on the faces of the children who look at us and say ‘Thank you my life is better’ keeps us going, it’s an awesome feeling.
Since I started this organisation, I have had a lot of memorable moments. In summary, it is the joy and satisfaction from what we do. For example, some boys on our scholarship scheme were dropouts but seeing them back in school and doing super well academically even earning double promotions. Haha! This brings me to my knees.
In 5 years, we pray and hope to have our centre, more lives reached across Africa, more kids in school and more girls becoming aware of why they are on earth and more fundssss.