Pastor Sharon Ajide was 26 when she won the overall prize for the maiden edition Future African Leaders Academy in 2013. She tells National Standard how the seed of conviction to change her society, which she said Pastor Chris sowed in her, has grown into a blooming oak of service to mankind. Excerpts:
DID you see your winning the FALA awards coming?
I just want to thank the President of the Believers Loveworld Reverend Dr. Chris Oyakhilome. He gives me the wonderful opportunity to be relevant in ministry. For the award, which is now a foundation, I never knew they were going to call me.
What is your motivation for all you have done?
I won this award on 31st December 2013. I was just doing what I am passionate about that is delivering service to humanity. I was inspired by our dear Man of God in the year 2007 at the fourth national youth conference where he said a man or woman of conviction cannot be stopped. And he asked us to go back to our community and be the change agent. Right after then, the project I started out with was mass failure in Nigeria.
Sustaining the tempo from 2013 till now how has that impacted on you?
It has even opened my eyes for me to do much more on the global platform. I have been exposed and trained by the FALA team, and that has been a continuous process. These various trainings have aided my progress.
So what else have you been doing since 2013?
Royalty Youths Foundation is my main initiative. I am its executive director. We focus on qualitative education, and particularly the girl child education. We look out for young people with academic challenges. We address their needs through our free tutorial centres, established and run by the Royalty After-School Student Support Programme.
Can you be more precise on Pastor Chris’ mandate?
He once told us success is looking out for humanity’s needs, and meeting them. So we started out, having spotted mass failure as a challenge to students in Lagos state. We zeroed in on Alimosho area with major focus on maths and English language. A total of 1,752 young people participated,70 percent of these students improved and did very well in Alimosho. We later extended our focus to chemistry and physics tutorials. On the girl child education, we, for instance, had a programmed in May–Keeping It Real meant to address challenges faced by young girls. We got professionals who spoke to them,exposing them to advanced knowledge, technological advancement, and sex education.
How do you admit the students into the tutorial programme?
At the beginning of every session, mostly the month of September, we scout for interested students in their schools. At least six schools have keyed into the initiative, namely: Millennium Senior Secondary School, Idimu High School, State Senior High School Moshalashi and Olorunfemi Senior High School. Through the Saturday and Tuesday tutorials we’ve been able to impact about 2,758 students in about 65 schools. Most importantly, we share the word of God with them. We gave the opportunity to listen to Pastor Chris’ recorded messages, especially the one from which I learnt the importance of giving back to the community. It is entitled ‘Pastor Chris Inspires generation next’. Over 3000 people attended, we gave 500 copies of books to those who partake in the programme
How have you been funding your activities?
The $25,000 FALA award was for the project. But we have done much more with higher cost, friends. Private companies and organizations give us financial support. I spoke with Learn Africa, and they supported us with 750 books. I have also got a scholarship worth N1.5m to attend the Lagos Business School for a course in social sector management. So I have been able to extend my works to Ghana, South Africa, Djibouti, Mozambique, Gambia, Russia, USA and others.
What did you study before winning the award?
The principle of leadership is key. As for study, I am an accountant. I had intended to take my studies to a professional level, being certified by ICAN. But as a member of the Believers Love World Inc. back in school we were taught about serving humanity. Studying accounting is about crediting and debiting. And I’m now accounting for the souls of the people won to Christ. By extension I’m depopulating the kingdom of Satan.
I am also focusing youths within 13-25 years age brackets. I want to give them the mindset that they can acquire skill and become young entrepreneurs, especially the girl child. She won’t have to depend on boyfriends to take care of herself.
Are there challenges you are facing doing all these?
Funding is the major issue. But for me I have conquered it, knowing my source is from God. So I rely on Him and I am getting on. Also teenage pregnancy and child labour are other problems. We found out 50percent of the parents now encourage their child to do petty jobs to earn incomes for the families.
If you had not won the FALA award, what would you have been doing now?
I would still be practising my account. I still do as church management serve. But I run these projects to serve my community. I came to Christ Embassy when I was 18. Where I was before, I never knew about giving back. It’s here the Pastor taught me that. And what do I have to give back? I have boldness and confidence to air my view and defend others, especially females. I had always wanted to speak, but I lacked the opportunity to do so until Pastor Chris really helped me. I started effectively in 2010. That’s what I’m giving back to society now.