Lola Idris Debayo took her Lolo Foundation to feed some of the most vulnerable people in Agege, Lagos last Friday.
Apart from the food, Lola and her team came bearing gifts and money for the less-privileged who thronged the venue where about 700 were fed.
After the event, she took time out to talk to www.naijagistland.com. Read excerpts here…
My name is Lola Idris Debayo, I’m a Nigerian but based in the United Kingdom. I’m a wife and a mother. I’m the CEO of Lolo Foundation and also run Lolo Kitchen.
What birthed the vision to feed the homeless and how long have you been doing this?
I would say this Foundation was born out of my personal experience and passion. I was once homeless and I know what it is to be vulnerable. I took it upon myself to give back and help these people.
So we started Lolo Foundation and we have been feeding the homeless twice a month for the past 16 years in London. However, tlhis is the first time we are organising on this scale in Lagos, Nigeria.
What is your impression of the programme in Lagos and why the choice of Agege?
To God be the glory, our outing to feed the homeless people in Agege was a success and we can only give thanks to God almighty for making this possible. We were able to feed over 700 people and also share some clothes and money.
It was a very different experience coming back home to help my people and also create awareness about the hardship, struggle and turmoil that alot of Nigerians have to go through on a daily basis.
Apart from feeding my people it is also my intention to showcase the level of poverty in Nigeria to the world through my platform so that we can come together to help each other because together we are stronger and can make a difference.
What were the challenges you faced in organising such a massive event?
Well what I can specifically mention is organization and logistics. Due to the everyday challenges faced by an average Nigerian we had some difficulties in putting things together.
The weather, traffic, unstable price of ingredients and not to mention bad roads that slowed us down and didn’t let us get to the venue on time.
I’ll also mention that the homeless people in Nigeria are not so organised unlike the ones in England. Also logistics is easy in the UK unlike in Nigeria but all in all we give God the glory.
Where do we go from here. Is this a one-off event or something that will come up regularly?
Definitely not a one-off. What happened in Agege opened my eyes to the fact that our people need help so we are motivated to do more for them.
I am looking at doing this four times a year and hopefully we would extend our reach to as many locations as possible. There are plans also to extend our programme to Ghana and Uganda.
We continue to seek support of well-meaning people because the support will aid us to reach out to more people in more locations.
What kind of support in form of sponsorship did you get for the event?
I have been blessed with the people around especially my family and friends but we are yet to have a major donor that sees my dream and is ready to support the foundation all the way.
I am hopeful that as the charity progresses that God in His infinite mercy would empower more people to support us, because I believe in the power of numbers.
Together we are stronger and we can make all the difference. As the Yorubas would say, “agbajo owo la fi nsoya, ajeji owo kan o gberu d’ori” which literally means there’s strength in numbers.
What drives you to be this passionate about giving to the needy?
Like I said earlier, I was once in a vulnerable position as a homeless person when I first got to England so I can relate with these people.
Also when I was younger, say in my twenties, I usually gather people around especially kids in my neighbourhood in Surulere and bought them gifts and give them money.
I derive joy from giving and I know a lot of people do too, and I will continually emphasise the power of support.
Yes, please. I owe a debt of gratitude to my husband and my children, my brothers.
Ms Ria Bourne and family, Mr Segun Williams and family, Mr Afolabi and family, Mrs Doris Addae and family, Mrs Sandra Dawodu and family, Mr Tim Aláṣẹ and family, Olórí Desiree Oshishina and family, My Re-birth family, Mummy Bamigbola, Mr Segun Ibironke and family, Mrs Adeseke Odojukan and family, Ms Minema Uko and family, Ms Mosun and Mr Kayode Ogundare are all appreciated.
Also special thanks to my Lolo Foundation Lagos team, without you all we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. God bless you all.