Success begins with the first step…often into the unknown…with no other evidence than gut instinct…and the courage to be.
The Akabusi Charitable Trust (TACT) is an organization dedicated to the rural communities of Nigeria. It came out of my yearning to get in touch with the country of my origin, a faint memory since being abandoned in the UK by my parents and in particular my mother.
To be fair to both Mum and Dad it was an act of love, to give me a better highly prized British education. However with an inadequate understanding of time and distance and the limited ability we have to control macro politics or social dynamics, their dream was to become their worst nightmare. Three thousand miles of Atlantic sea, a three-year civil war, and a Greco Roman education rendered nature a distant relative to nurture and never the twain did meet.
I’ve spent fifty years trying to connect the dots – to make sense of my past and embrace my present in order to create my future. Experiences in children’s homes, military establishments, international sports teams, national media studios, corporate suites and of course a twenty-year marriage (now divorced) have helped me work things out, but I’m still discovering myself.
J. R. R. Tolkien is quoted as saying, “all who wander are not lost.” With no clear goal save to engage with Nigeria, I began charitable work in that country. That was just over ten years ago, in 2001. This past month – a decade on from my first experiences of digging bore holes “water and sanitation” setting up business (micro finance) – I was able to review the wonderful fruit TACT is bearing. I was proud to shake the hands of the latest cohort of women to graduate from the TACT Women2women program; women who now successfully demonstrate that they have the desire to better themselves, be part of the economic development of their local community, and leave a legacy.
It made sense of the hard work of so many people who have banded around my dream, and given blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen. TACT aims to help build Nigeria one person at a time, by developing programs to support people in Imo state. One of our key target groups is women, and widows in particular. TACT has therefore set up a project called Woman2Woman with the aim of encouraging women in the developed world to help those less fortunate than themselves in Nigeria, A small grant of £100, paid in two installments, can make a huge difference to the life of a widow in Nigeria and her family by enabling her to start a small business and become economically self-sufficient.
Unlike other micro finance schemes, Woman2Woman does not demand repayment of a loan but is a grant to promote the best possible chance of success.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900’s in the developed world and is an official holiday in many countries across the globe. Every year humanity celebrates with a multitude of events held in honor and support of women and their contribution to mankind.
I personally want to take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at TACT to thank the many women in the west and their forward-thinking male counterparts who have continued to support the growth and development of woman in Africa as we forge ahead and help “build Nigeria, one woman at a time.”