By Lanre Bello.
It was William Shakespeare, that great English poet, playwright, and actor, who said through one of the characters in his historical Henry IV Part 2, that: “A good heart is worth gold”.
From the context of the book and the reality of the contemporary world that we live in, it is easy to interpret the expression to mean that as gold is scarce so are men and women with good, pure and sacrificial hearts scarce! The world has become so increasingly selfish that the hearts of men have turned more to the preservation of self than the good of others or even the Eco-space that we all occupy. Yet this is the charge of God, whom will all serve in one form or the other.
As gloomy as these times are however, there are still a few people who believe in the service of humanity. People who see the service of people as an integral requirement of their worship of the Almighty and plunge into that without let or hindrance. One of such people living is Deaconess Omolewa Ahmed, Wife of the Governor of Kwara State and Founder/ CEO of the LEAH Foundation.
I, of course imagine that people would wonder if there is anything spectacular about a governor’s wife’s kind heart since the expectations of this derivative responsibility is to support the work of her husband in an essentially non-governmental way.
But even if we grant this expectation, we should also bear in mind that people execute responsibilities with differing levels of commitment and open-mindedness. Besides, wives of governors are limited in the scope of their work because they do not derive from the constitution and are not funded by their states. They are therefore compelled to fund-drive to accomplish programmes and projects.
However, most important than all of this in my view, is that a heart of gold does not wait until the opportunity of public office before doing good. This is what stands my boss and sister out.
Before Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed got drawn into public office with his appointment into the cabinet of Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki ,CON, this family have shown kindness to countless l people with whom they are no blood relations.
Everywhere this couple lived, you would find the indigent receiving help either to feed, or complete their education, take care of a medical need or just have shelter. Some of them would be people they met with close or distant family members and just decided to lend a hand to in their fulfilment of their ambitions. It was impossible to come in contact with this couple without your life been impacted.
The Life Empowered Anchors Hope (LEAH) Foundation founded by Her Excellency is a testimony of her golden heart.
In the past five years of its existence, hundreds of children have found hope in education through the organisation’s Adopt- a- child initiative. The idea behind the programme is to see that all Kwara children are encouraged to get educated at least unto the secondary level through the provision of basic school needs as uniforms, stationeries etc
There is also the deliberate programme aimed at ensuring that widows in the state are engaged in gainful economic activities. Deaconess Ahmed is passionate about this programme such that an amazing number of women have been empowered through a revolving loan scheme as well as provision of working tools like deep freezers, sewing machines, grinding machines and so on.
What would however pass as LEAH’s focal mission is the dogged determination to put an end to the ravaging effect of cancer on women in Kwara State.
After the shocking loss of two people to cancer a few years ago, Mrs. Ahmed sought the help of God for the institution of a programme which would help reduce the incidence of cancer on Nigerians.
Since there are so many variant of this disease than the world is even able to keep up with, LEAH decided to focus on the fight against Breast and Cervical Cancers, these being the highest killers of women. At the moment, there are 28 basic screening centres all around the state. There, women get screened of Breast and Cervical Cancer at subsidised rates while they also get lessons about how to embark on self-exams.
LEAH also established enlightenment and peer groups in secondary schools as well as some of the tertiary institutions in the state known as the Leah anti-cancer club with the aim of removing the veil of ignorance covering cervical and breast cancers by providing information and education to the youngsters early enough.
But LEAH’s founder is not fulfilled with the organisation’s accomplishment yet. She maintains that the ultimate intervention as far as cancer is concerned, is the establishment of a hospital that would treat people that are diagnosed and provide all needed ancillary service. Raising funds for this facility has been her resolute engagement for the past three years.
As daunting as this particular goal seem to be, Mrs. Ahmed, an unapologetic Christian and believer in the ability of God, is convinced that it will be accomplished in the same way in which God has brought help her way on the project so far.
One single prayer that I have for this honest, God fearing wife, mother and sister to many, as she marks another birthday today, December 30th is that all of her dream, most of which is about making life better for others, will receive the seal of Heaven and that this New Year will bring accomplishments never imagined.
Happy birthday dear sister and boss!