GLORIA CHARITIES INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHED IN NIGERIA, 9.27.2018
”Tall Oaks, From Little Acorns Grow.”
So, goes the proverb that can best describe Gloria Charities’ humble beginnings.
We want to start by giving glory to God Almighty for enabling us to start Gloria Charities International. It had been long in our hearts but as God’s Word says, “The vision is for an appointed time”; Habakkuk 2:3
Following the successful launch in Edina Minnesota on August 12, 2018, the next assignment was to take the message to where it was mostly needed – Ekiti State, Nigeria. By the approval of the Board of Directors, we purchased the first set of six computers and four Android tablets to take on the trip to Nigeria by me.
Give a Man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for his life time. (Chinese Proverb)
The good thing is that the computers became the singular attraction during the launching ceremony in IYE-EKITI on September 27, 2018.
Leading to that day, we had been engrossed with daily activities at the Mercy 4105b74d-3a70-463b-84f5-345d605cf362.jpgInternational’s 2018 Medical Mission in Osi-Ekiti from Monday September 24. For Bro Sunday Olayinka, Sister Victoria Olayinka and myself, this year took another turn as more administrative tasks were embarked upon, including meetings in Osi-Ekiti and Ado-Ekiti respectively. Majorly, we were exploring the best options for Mercy’s proposed “tele-medicine” service through an international group associated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation including the best internet connections to facilitate the service between the USA and Nigeria.
Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, screen and indoor In the process, we met with technical and marketing officers of MTN, Nigeria’s leading internet provider. During the meetings, it occurred to us that there would be a parallel need for the internet services for both Mercy International and Gloria Charities. Otherwise, giving computers to the schools in Ekiti without internet service was like adding more bricks to their overgrowing archives. We secured written proposals from MTN which we plan to act upon before the end of this year. All six computers survived the rigor of travel from Minnesota to Lagos and from Lagos to Ekiti.
There are two suggestions about future computer purchases – to buy them in Nigeria, or ship from the US in containers. We will compare the cost of each option and make a good decision. The benefit of buying in the US is that we can take advantage of major promotions such as during public holidays and get good bargains. We are yet to find out if such opportunities exist in Nigeria, but we got estimates from Lagos from computer vendors to aid our decision making. Of course, buying from Nigeria, if the cost is right, will save us the rigor of freighting or shipping from the USA.
AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI
Immediately after the launch in Iye, we drove to the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, one of Nigeria’s topmost private universities. Waiting to receive us was my high school classmate, the Provost of the College of Medicine, Professor Rotimi Sanya who had promised the day before to introduce us to the University founder, Chief Afe Babalola for us to present to him the vision and mission of Gloria Charities. Due to delays in Iye, we missed the opportunity to meet Chief Afe Babalola, but Prof. Sanya assured us of his personal support and we can advance our request for a working relationship with the University.
The journey was glorious and at the same time, an eye opener to the inadequacies in the primary and secondary school infrastructure in Ekiti State. But first, our surprise was the amount of money required to transport 6 computers to Nigeria. UPS first told us that it would be $1,400 a-piece. Eventually KLM charged us $900 for all 6 boxes. We paid another $200 to Nigerian Customs in Lagos. At the end of the day, starting with the average purchase price of $250, the final cost came to just under $450 per computer.
PROMISES THAT WE MADE
At the launch in Iye, the Principals of Osi-Ekiti Community High School, St Augustine’s High School, Oye-Ekiti, and the host school, Ilejemeje Community High School, Iye-Ekiti were in attendance with other teachers and students. Before them and all our family and community representatives, we made a few promises –
- That the 6 computers shared among the three schools were only the beginning, more would follow.
- To provide reliable internet connection, where it is lacking, because we would like to see students have access to global academic resources that are available online. Teachers would also be able to tap into knowledge and research information online from renowned instructors and writers on the world stage and share the information with their students.
- To work towards supplying books to the school libraries which we saw were practically empty or stacked with very old books.
- To work with the schools to arrange inter-collegiate competitive activities such as debates, essay writing, science exhibitions and projects.
- To support poor students whose parents may not be able to afford small fees like examination fees or school development levies.
- To institute scholarships for brilliant students to advance to universities.
- To establish Teacher Workshops and seminars as well as recognitions and awards for high performing teachers.
At the launch were School representatives comprising principals, teachers and students. The needs are enormous, but we can help as God gives us the grace.
We want to thank all our Board Members for your willingness to support us with your time, resources and ideas. I must single out our Brother and Sister, Sunday and Victoria ba058592-c2d3-464f-ab3d-0d26f368c831.jpg Olayinka who practically allowed us to conduct the affairs of Mercy Medical Mission and the Launch of Gloria Charities in Nigeria as a twin and joint effort. The cooperation was unmistakable. My wife, Mariam Ajayi provided both physical, mental and spiritual support all the way. I must say that but for her presence at the airport, KLM would have charged me more than the $900 fee. She used her more patient negotiation skills to appeal for that lower rate. Our Chairman, Prof. Johnson Afolayan prayed for us as a spiritual father. Our children also played significant roles in the journey. A big thanks to Elder and Mrs. Johnson Ojo-Fati for providing reliable transportation for us in Nigeria, including a trustworthy volunteer driver. Not to forget our good friends, Mr. & Mrs. Akinyemi Gabriel who housed me and the computers in Lagos until we moved them to Ekiti land.
We are also grateful to our donors and supporters who, seeing nothing we have done yet, are moved by what we say and believe in our vision.
We believe that we are in good hands as we start this mission to make Students of Ekiti State the best and the brightest anywhere in the world. God Himself will bless you in multiple folds. Thank you.