| By Augustine Adah |
FOR several years, Olabiyi Ojatunwase, a physically challenged cobbler could not afford to buy materials he needed to start a shoe mending business after his completion of the skill training. But last year, succor came his way when he became a beneficiary of Grace and Hope Foundation founded by Peace Joe. It was a donation for the physically challenged persons in Lagos and Ogun State, at Meiran, Lagos. Today, the young man with hearing impairment has not only started a profitable shoe mending business in Otta, Ogun State, he has also but has engaged an apprentice in his shop.
Apart from Ojatunwase, Amaka Adekoya also received N5,000 which she promised to invest in selling recharge cards. “I thank God for Mummy’s gift, it would help me in the business of selling recharge cards” she said. More than 10 persons including widows benefited from the financial assistance. The idea was to stop some of them from streets begging.
Joe, who could not complete her secondary school education because she lost her parents when she was a teenager, got the drive to put smiles on the faces of orphans and others who are neglected by the society. Joe said she did not want the neglected to go through the horrible life experience she went through thereafter. “Life became unbearable for me after the death of my parents. I could not continue my secondary education and to feed was a problem for me” Joe said. She claimed that no single support has come from any group or organisation since she started the foundation. The money and all other materials given to the people in the past eight years came from personal savings and support from the family and Church members. “Every January, I join a group where we make monthly contributions and by August, it would be my turn to collect my own share of the contribution which I use for the project,” She said.
But Joe has a bigger dream for the physically- challenged persons in the country. She intends to acquire land in one of the Lagos suburbs to build a school and health centre where education and health facilities would be provided for them. The mother of eight children, appeals to both individuals and organisations to offer a helping hand to orphans and widows who are most vulnerable in the society. She believes our society would be a better place to live if those who are financially strong are ready to assist those that are financially weak.
To accomplish the lofty dream, Joe has, for the physically challenged persons and widows, she need additional support from people and government. Since 2004, Joe, through her outfit Grace and Hope Foundations has been assisting physically challenged persons and widows. The assistance came inform of cash gifts for some of them to start petty trading, sponsorship of some of them trained in vocational skills. Some orphans were given accommodation by the Abia State born evangelist.
— Dec. 2, 2012 @ 12:11 GMT