Her excitement that Sunday afternoon of October 8 was contagious. It was the world press conference of Arise Women. The venue was the Four Point Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. She practically left no one in doubt where her passion is; to see women be change agents and bring liberation to those under the claws of poverty and deprivation
For Dr. Siju Iluyomade, it’s no use complaining about the problems plaguing Nigeria. Instead, those who can cause change should roll up their sleeves and bring the change they want to see.
That is what she has been doing for 15 years with Arise Women, an NGO committed to bringing smiles to people in poor communities across Nigeria.
The NGO has also been involved in an annual walk programme that has seen some people smiling home with a huge amount of money.
This year at the press conference a prize of 2000 dollars, 3,000 dollars and 2,000 dollars were won by clusters that came first, second and third in the 2022 edition of the walk programme.
She announced that a prize of 15,000 dollars would be won this year in the Walk for Life which is to hold on October 14. The walk will start at 8 a.m. in clusters across different parts of the world simultaneously. There will also be a novelty match on October 21 at the Onikan stadium
Beyond the Walk for Life are the incredible interventions of Arise Women in villages and communities across the country. The body has spent billions of naira over the years impacting lives and giving hope to the hopeless.
Filling a vacuum
She said at the conference that what “the Arise Women are doing is to fill a vacuum in the society. We want to bring about change in our nation. The country is going through challenges in the area of health care, education and other social amenities. We have been to communities where people don’t wear clothes, where they don’t have water, hospitals, and schools. Rather than complain, we decided to confront these problems by providing those things.”
Iluyomade a lawyer by profession said money is not the first thing in lending a helping hand in society. Rather people need to just show compassion and then the money will come.
For 15 years, the Arise Women have shown great compassion. They have the adopt a village scheme where they spot a village and help with social amenities there. The body claims it has zero tolerance for hunger and takes a great step in the area of providing health care to people who can’t afford it.”
The trade mark of the group is the Pink Bucket which it distributes during its Walk for Life programme. The bucket contains basic household needs and they are given to people around irrespective of sex, tribe or religion.
About 5,000 people are expected to benefit from the pink bucket to mark the 15th anniversary of the body. Farmers will also be empowered with fertiliser seedlings among many other social interventions.
Iluyomade, wife of Idowu Iluyomade, Pastor of the City of David of the Redeemed Christian Church of God lamented that the educational system has collapsed.
She disclosed however that the Arise Women have made some incredible interventions in the last couple of years. She narrated how a block of 15 classrooms for secondary school was built in Paduma, a village in Abuja the Federal Capital Territory.
Also read: CRS is matter of life and death for us in RCCG- Iluyomade, lists free food centres: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/iluyomade-free-food-centres/
She said the school building was donated by a woman. She also equipped with computers and books
Iluyomade said if a woman could donate a secondary school facility, the nation could do better in terms of addressing the decadence in the country’s social infrastructure.
Giving further insight into some of the interventions in rural areas, Iluyomade said, “There are brilliant people in villages who just need the right environment for them to excel. It will surprise you to know that there are people who have not seen a computer in Nigeria.
“We took computers to a village called Dafara and we discovered that the people there had never seen one. They were so excited. We built a full-fledged hospital in that village. In the hospital, we built, about 10 people give birth daily from what I gathered.
According to her, “It does not matter who is governing as long as the consciousness of the nation is there.”
Walk for Life
She stressed the need and health benefits of walking every day. “if you engage in walking every single day you can free yourself from many ailments. The walk for life is to tell you to take a walk every single day. It is a cheap way to health. The thread mill does not do the same as walking. Walking is cheaper and by walking many diseases will be eliminated in your body.”
She said Arise Women stand for gender equality, education, clean water, descent walk and economic growth.
Iluyomade emphasised however that Arise Women is not about gender affirmation. “What we want is for the woman to take her place. The woman is the first teacher and the first caregiver in the family. We are your mothers. Because we stand in that place you can’t allow us to fail. You must not allow the woman to be sidetracked,” she said.
Describing herself as an incurable optimist she said, “I run for no man. All I care about is the solution. I dream as if I own the world. I don’t care how much I need to spend. But somehow God supplies every need we place before him. I didn’t expect that school to be buil within short notice. But God raised a woman to build it and donated it to the village.
She said Arise Women occupy strategic positions in the country. “Our first Lady is an Arise woman and a lot of top successful Nigerians. They have been the ones making the organisation make reasonable progress.”
Story by Gbenga Osinaike