”I seek that day when no African will go to bed hungry” –Toluwase Olaniyan
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.” Mother Teresa
While majority of young men are seeking means and avenues to enrich themselves and make a name in politics, business, religion, media, education, and entertainment industry, a young man has decided to move along a less-travelled path to greatness. Toluwase Olaniyan, an accountant by profession has discovered his unique calling-feeding the poor! Yes, that is what gives him fulfilment. This eloquent and humble man spoke extensively on his passion to ensure the poor have food in their stomach. Quizzing him on what inspired him to venture into such a thankless ministry, he reflectively stated, “I schooled in Zaria, and I saw the beggars there, and the kind of food they eat, which was in no way fit for human consumption. And when I got to Lagos, I realized it was the same here. I just felt I had to do something”. To him, it was particularly unnerving to see that this poor beggars had nothing and no one to celebrate with during festive periods like Christmas, Easter, Sallah, etc. They had no food and no clothes. That was when he resolved to make this set of people feel loved by celebrating with them. In this era and age where we have so many religious fanatics and bigots, someone has chosen to stand out and abide by the universal principle instituted by the Creator of the universe which is LOVE. Everyone claims his or her religion is the best, while adherents of other religion are termed ‘pagans”. How pathetic! It’s quite instructive to note that we are first and foremost humans, created by the same God. And since we have the same source, it logically follows that we are brothers and sisters. This must have been on the mind of Toluwase Olaniyan when he embarked on the mission of feeding the poor on Sallah day. Hear him “It all started with sleepless nights, burning passion and desire to lighten up the lives of many who live around me. At Easter we had it big on the streets of Lagos sharing love and materials with the less privileged.
It’s now getting bigger, I am not a Muslim but my dream came real celebrating this festive period with my Muslims friends particularly those less privileged ones who live and beg on the street. The smiles and happiness on their faces gave me hope. Some people say I have a Beggars Ministry. That’s okay by me. If this was what I was born to do, it’s about time I did it, and did it well.” Little wonder the beggars in Lagos regard him as their FATHER!
“I look forward to that day when we would pull resources together to feed and cloth Africa. Chasing hunger and poverty out of the continent, restoring dignity I mean full dignity to the man with the black skin”.
Speaking on his plans to permanently affect the lives of the under-privileged poor, Toluwase said the burden was very great in his heart, so much that he contacted some of his friends who also shared the same vision with him, and together they formed a group called “We Care Initiative” whose main objective is alleviating the suffering of this group of people. ”We shared about 150 parcels of cooked food. I had to ensure the food was what I could eat. Infact, we all ate the same food. It never ceases to baffle me why some people would give to others what they themselves cannot eat. So we went about distributing the food, clothes, and toiletries to as many beggars as we could find. As you can see, the responsibility is enormous so we are aiming at recruiting more volunteers into the team.” Speaking further, the Kwara state born accountant who currently runs his own H.R Consulting and Entrepreneurship firm stated that the team is currently trying to build trust and goodwill among the beggars, and when that is done, they will move on to sponsoring the children of this beggars in school, inorder that they might grow up and take their parents off the streets. Speaking further, Toluwase stated categorically that most of these beggars are old folks who cannot engage in doing tedious jobs. However, they could be trained on crafts making like weaving of mats and baskets. He observed that there is a peak period when begging is most profitable. This peak period fell between the hours of 5am-12 noon. It is his belief that the women who are trained in crafts making can display their baskets and mats by the roadside and offer them for sale, rather than begging for alms from passers-by.
In conclusion, Toluwase enthused, “We are planning to give out a thousand Nigerian flag to all the beggars on 1st October, because they are also Nigerian citizens, irrespective of their financial or social status. We are also planning a massive FEED THE POOR programme on the next muslim festival which should be in September or thereabouts. We are calling on individuals and organizations to come be a part of that programme. We need every support we can get”
Toluwase expressed appreciation to his Team. “Thanks to my Amazing team who made this real. Thanks to the hausa traditional head at Ijora. I’m most grateful to God Almighty who has planted me in this generation. Today! The future of Africa looks better! Heaven rejoices. Candles lighting other candles…”
Members of the “We Care Team” are Moses Ihiabe, Tolulope Disu, Chichi Progress, Tolani Olaniyan, Doyin Aboyeji, and Linda Okoroji
This is practical living. Let’s emulate this exemplary display of love and service to humanity!
(YOU CAN REACH TOLUWASE ON 08030724533)