July 24th, 2024

Friday concert raising funds for Nigerian women’s centre

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 9, 2022.

Photo by Korede Ahmed Children form a circle as they play in a courtyard earlier this week at the Ogan School in the Village of Ogan, Nigeria.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge resident is hoping to gather enough funds to kickstart his next project in the village of Ogan, Nigeria with a Restoration Concert taking place Friday at Southminster Church.
After a successful charity project completed last summer in Ogan, Fola Soboyejo is hoping to collect enough funds to begin his next project, one that will be completed in stages.
“The concert is a fundraiser for the Ogan Women and Youth Centre charity projects. We did something similar over the last five years, the reconstruction of a collapsed school block building,” said Soboyejo. 
He said the event is called a Restoration Concert, because the building of the centre will help restore the village.
Soboyejo said the village is having problems with children not having after school activities and getting into trouble instead.
“They will be drawn into gangs and the learning of drugs and prostitution because there is nothing to do,” said Soboyejo.
Soboyejo said the school project was successful thanks to fundraisers organized in the past and now he is hoping to have the same result with this new project.
He said the school building collapsed due to gradual deterioration of the 70-year-old clay structure.
“Money was raised to construct really big classrooms, a computer laboratory, three bathrooms for girls and three for boys. They had portable toilets before, now they have standard WC toilets, a deep water borehole with submersible pump and storage tanks and a library,” said Soboyejo.
He said the reconstruction of their school has stabilized the village and now they see the need for after school programs and that is what the Women and Youth Centre will take care of.
“This will be a safe gathering place for mothers who have been toiling and struggling chasing their children to really engage with them and a safe environment to learn hobbies and things like weaving and braiding fashion, hair care, painting, sculpting, learn to play musical instruments, drama, poetry and things like that,” said Soboyejo.
The Ogan Women and Youth Centre project is estimated to cost a total of $99,500 by the time is completed. Soboyejo said the first thing they need to complete is the foundation which has an estimated price of $18,500.
“If we are able to collect $20,000 in this stage, we will be able to start building the foundation this summer, which is my dream. Every dollar counts,” said Soboyejo.
The fundraising is being done through Bridges of Hope, which Soboyejo said was their umbrella foundation.
For the concert taking place tomorrow, local talent has offered to help. One of them is Dr. Wayne Burton an OBGYN who is also a performing artist, songwriter and recording artist. He will be playing the piano.
“If we can help one town, maybe another group can help another town. I’m sure there’s lots of need out there but I certainly was excited to lend a hand as an artist. I always love to perform so it’s something I love to do anyway,” said Burton.
Soboyejo said that when he approached Burton about the concert he jumped on the opportunity right away after checking his very busy calendar.
Burton said he would love to see many of the children he has delivered through the years with their parents at the concert if they are old enough.
Another musician that was happy to lend a hand and who will also be playing the piano is James Moore.
He is not only involved with the concert, but he has been in contact with the children at the Ogan School, recently restored.
“I thought it would be nice if we enabled and encourage the children to communicate with other children all over the world, so we’ve actually had several sessions with the children from the Ogan School and children from Denmark and China and I’ve actually talked about this with other friends and you know there’s a real interest in this,” said Moore.
He said a couple of years ago he had the first Zoom conference with the students so they would know he was not imaginary.
“This new initiative of the woman and youth centre, I think it’s a natural progression from the school,” said Moore.
People interested in donating can do so in person at the event or online at http://www.ogandev.org

Follow @APulidoHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments