22 year old Corps Member, Oladele Ilerioluwa, improves learning conditions of over 150 children in Ebonyi State
CFS team stumbled upon a tweet making rounds on the twitter space. It was a young girl who had gone above and beyond to improve the learning conditions of over 150 children.
Corps member, Oladele Ilerioluwa— a 22 year old graduate of Microbiology from the prestigious University of Illorin, Kwara state —was deployed to Ebunwana Community, Afikpo south of Ebonyi state to serve her country.
During her service year, Ilerioluwa decided to embark on a solo mission that impacted the lives of over 150 children in Ebunwana Community, Afikpo south of Ebonyi state. When asked about why she embarked on the mission, she said, “I love children and I don’t like seeing them suffer. Secondly, I try as much as possible to make a positive impact wherever I find myself.”
Ilerioluwa’s story is one out of many young Nigerians doing beyond the ordinary while serving their country. CFS has brought to light the impactful works of other young corps member like Osato Elosemwingie that embarked on 8 Remarkable Personal Community Development Projects in One Year (READ) and David Adeyemi’s community development project that reduces vehicle accidents in the 5th-most-populous state in Nigeria (READ).
Today, Oladele Ilerioluwa shares her change story with CFS.
Discovering the challenges in the community
“I was deployed to Ebunwana Community, Afikpo south of Ebonyi state. I passed through the Primary School whenever I was heading to my PPA (Primary Place of Assignment) which was Ebunwana Model Secondary School. I used to see the children of the Primary School go to school barefooted, with torn uniforms and sometimes without any writing or learning materials.
I wondered how these children get motivation to study or how they’d learn whatever was taught to them. I got touched when I saw a boy returning from school one afternoon, and his shorts were being held to his waist by torn pieces of mosquito net- I told myself I was going to do something about it. So, I took a survey round the schools in the community (3 Primary Schools in the community) and I discovered there were children in worse situations.”
Learning aids given to over 150 children
With the funds Ilerioluwa raised for her community development project, she was able to provide learning materials like text books, notebooks and other essential school supplies for the children. She also used part of the funds to provide new school uniforms for about 28 children who were in dire need of uniforms.
The hurdles of raising funds for the community development project
“I had a fundraiser for it. I reached out to family, friends and some elders in the community. It took a lot of my time about 4-6 months to raise enough money. It took energy as well, as I had to travel to another local government to get the materials.
It was emotionally draining too when I couldn’t raise enough funds, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry out the project. I knew I wanted to do this; I knew I wanted to make these children smile. I was determined to do it. Seeing those children everyday made me want to do it. My mom and friends also encouraged me.”
When asked about what she would do differently when raising funds, she said, “I will tell my story more. Build a community on social media where people can relate to what is happening.”
Her words of wisdom to young people
“There is still so much to do. Be the change you want to see by starting from your own corner, community or environment. My advice would be not to wait till one has much money or till when you are famous to make impacts. The little you feel you have can put a smile one someone’s face and they will always remember you.
You may not be happy with where you have been posted, I wasn’t happy being posted to a village where I had to go all the way to a stream to get water, no electricity at all. Do something to leave your footprint in the sand of time there. The people of Ebunwana Community still call me to pray for me and check up on me till now.”
Future plans for supporting Nigeria’s educational system
“Yes, I really want to do more impactful projects in the educational system because I believe quality education is for every child irrespective of where they come from. Although for now I volunteer on some of my weekends to reach out to underprivileged children in the neighborhood. I get them textbooks or writing materials I can afford.”