Today is Nigeria’s 49th year of independence, and I am thankful for the nation that gave birth to my family and had an effect on my parents and their parents, resulting in at least part of the person I am today. I hope that one day Nigeria will serve as a model to other nations. It will take time, and there is much going on in the country to find fault with, but I believe that change will happen, hopefully during our lifetimes. There are many Nigerians out there who are doing good things both within the country and abroad, but it’s those folks who are doing bad things that get all the attention.
It’s easy to criticize the country (we’ve all done it) but how many of you ask what you can do for the country? I know I personally don’t ask myself that question; I often think “Well, I am one person, and one who isn’t as intimately familiar with some of the problems in the country like others are, so I’ll just cheer on those who are working hard to make a difference, who know exactly what’s wrong with the country and what needs fixing and how to fix it”, so I embrace campaigns like #lightupnigeria and hope that my meagre efforts help. Those are of course mere excuses because I could take the time to get informed, to find the information I need, decide what my contribution will be and do it. I’ve just been lazy!
Since it’s Nigeria’s birthday, I’d like to focus on the country and what we can do to help. One thing you can do is pick a cause close to your heart that affects Nigerians and give back somehow, either by physically helping the organization or through fundraising or donating of funds. Remember the Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria? Maybe you’re in a better position to help out this organization now. If so, don’t hesitate to do so.
If you don’t find anything out there that touches you intimately or inspires you, find it! When you find something that speaks to you, your commitment is stronger in my opinion. Onada started the Bright One Educational Support Fund, and I know there are others in blogville who are involved with charities. A charity doesn’t have to have a fancy website, brick and mortar headquarters or a lovely logo to be effective. Gbemi (I wish she’d update her blog!) held a clothing drive for children in Rwanda and Nigeria and clothing was shipped to those countries, and if you want you can start a drive for anything â€” school supplies, eyeglasses â€” and time it to coincide with your next trip to Nigeria. Choose a worthy organization, a family in need or a neighbourhood, and bless others as you have been blessed. I’m definitely going to do this the next time I go. And to all of you entrepreneurs, why not donate a portion of your sales/proceeds to a worthy organization? Share this information prominently with potential customers and you just might encourage more sales, making it a win-win situation.
This hasn’t been the best of weeks in my life and I really thought it would be a struggle to find something positive to share. But God wouldn’t let me keep earlier drafts of this post that poutingly said things like “this time I’m not going to force myself to share things that I’m thankful for”. Thinking of how you can help others can really lift your mood. It doesn’t mean that the troubles have disappeared, but thinking about something or someone else has given me a much needed break from not feeling my best. To keep the wave of positivity going, please share any organizations you know of that focus on making Nigeria better or helping Nigerians. Maybe you’ll share something that someone else might be interested in contributing to.