Abdul Jelil Adebayo
Helpline Foundation for the Needy was established two decades ago, and then nobody gave it a survival hope.
But with sheer determination and focus on the vision and objectives, the storyline has changed and the name has become a household name not only in Abuja but across the six states that constitute the North Central zone.
This Friday at the International Conference Centre, ICC, Abuja, friends and beneficiaries of the scheme will gather to click glasses and thank God for the journey so far.
According to the Founder and Chief Executive, Dr Mrs Jummai Ahmadu, Helpline Foundation is a charity organization that started informally in 2003 as Pure Saints Home.
However, in 2010 the home got registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja.
At inception, she explained that the focus was solely to provide scholarships, books and relief to help children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the FCT to stay in school.
And since then, over the years, it has expanded its programmes and beneficiaries to include but not limited to various vulnerable groups in all the North-Central States and also extended its activities to Enugu State in South-East.
For two decades running, over 3, 000 widows, vulnerable women, young people and children have benefited from the various empowerment programmes designed and implemented by the Foundation.
Jummai said each of the programmes are designed to meet the specific need of the target demography and have over the past sixteen years recorded a high rate of success.
Narrating the story of the foundation, Jummai said since 2003 it has been that of empathy toward building a society where everyone, including women, girls, young boys, people living with disabilities, and other marginalized groups have equal opportunities and access to socio-economic opportunities.
This, it is believed, will set them on the pedestal to achieve their full potentials and goals; despite the huge limitations posed by access to financial resources.
“We are determined not to fold our hands and do nothing, so we wake up everyday committed to touching lives through our various empowerment programmes.”
According to her, over 80% of the beneficiaries are women, and the approach revolves around providing sustainable sources of income that will move them above the poverty benchmark, and get them in capacity- building and education.
For two decades running, over 3, 000 widows, vulnerable women, young people and children have benefited from the various empowerment programmes designed and implemented by the Foundation
This, it is hoped, will enable the women and girls get engaged in and in participation, partnerships and collaborations, knowledge-sharing and policy advocacy.
Also, the Helpline Foundation Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme for Vulnerable Women and Widows is an initiative that empowers women and widows in under-resourced communities around North-Central States.
The women are grouped into clusters based on their proximity to each other and given the financial resources, interest-free loans and training they need to start a new business or grow an existing one.
The scheme, Jummai said, operates on a rotational basis and does not attract any interest as the loans are repaid in bits by the different beneficiaries and transferred to a new beneficiary.
This method, she further explained ensures that after every 10 months, each cluster is able to add 10 new beneficiaries, which eventually yields a broader impact on these communities.
Since inception, according to her, the Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme has benefitted over 700 women across 30 different clusters in FCT, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Niger and Enugu States.
Helpline Foundation, she said, is currently working on expanding this number through aggressive partnership drives which will enable donors and other partner organizations adopt some communities and fund the scheme.
The scheme also provides trainings and skill acquisition to youths, women, and widows in over 30 communities.
The goal is to help these groups gain the skills and knowledge they need to improve their lives and secure better future for themselves and their families.
The training covers a wide range of areas, including leather works- bag and shoe making, catering, organic skin care production, soaps and disinfectant production, entrepreneurship, financial management, and digital literacy.
By providing these skills and knowledge, she said they were aimed at equipping participants with the tools they need to start or grow their own businesses, secure better-paying jobs, or improve their lives in meaningful ways.
In addition to these training programmes, they also offer ongoing support and mentorship to the participants, helping them put their newfound skills into practice and overcome any obstacles they may face.
Through the Voice of the Girls’ Parliament (VOGP), the foundation offers hands-on mentorship, skills acquisition and creates experiences that build confidence in middle and high school girls, thereby propelling them to become future leaders.
The VOGP is a hands-on way for girls to get a realistic view of life in the political trenches; during their meetings, they roll up their sleeves for some serious parliamentary debates and elect principal officers, including a speaker, deputy speaker, whip, committee chairpersons among others to occupy various seats for a year.
The VOGP creates a platform where these girls share their experiences, and that of their peers, discuss challenges, proffer adoptable solutions, flex their political muscles and develop their public speaking and debating skills, and networking skills.
The outcome of their parliamentary sittings are transmitted through proposals and advocacy visits to policy makers.
The Helpline Foundation for the Boys Center, Karshi, is also a unique initiative that is dedicated to empowering young boys and helping them tap into their creative potential.
Since inception, according to her, the Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme has benefitted over 700 women across 30 different clusters in FCT, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Niger and Enugu States
The aim is to provide an environment that nurtures their growth, while also instilling important qualities such as leadership, empowerment, and advancement.
The centre is open to all young boys between the ages of 19 and 24, but membership is strictly voluntary and requires the consent of parents or guardians.
The Helpline Foundation for the Boys Center is more than just a place for young boys to come together and work on their creative projects. It is a community of like-minded individuals who are dedicated to helping each other grow and achieve their goals.
With the right environment and mentorship, it is believed that these young boys will be able to achieve great things and make positive impact on the world.
Helpline Foundation for the Needy’s Food Bank is one of the very first to ever be launched in Nigeria.
It has its storage facilities located in Kuje Area Council and Area 1, Garki Abuja.
Helpline empowers rural women farmers with seedlings, rented farmlands and other resources needed to engage in farming activities.
After every farming season, the farm produce are purchased from these women and stored at the storage facility for onward donation and distribution to various beneficiaries.
Friends and partners of Helpline Foundation also donate food items, toiletries, clothing and other relief materials to the food bank.
These items are distributed on a quarterly basis to those in need of it within different under-resourced communities.
Who is then the brain behind this success story. She is Dr Mrs Jummai Ahmadu. She is currently the Acting Director, Reforms Co-ordination and Service Improvement Department, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA.
She is an astute public administrator and committed philanthropist. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Abuja.
She is a member of the American Management Association, Chattered Institute of Administration, Chattered Institute of Corporate Administration, among many other professional bodies.
Dr. Jumai is also the Co-convener of the Africa Women Conference, a platform which seeks to bring policy makers and influencers from across all sectors of the African economy together to discuss and proffer solutions to the issues that affect African Women and Girls.
She is married and blessed with many biological and adopted children – Dr. Jumai Ahmadu’s mantra over the years have been, Nobody is too poor to give and nothing is too small to give.
. Abdul writes from Abuja via email@example.com