What attracted Woman of Substance to our WOS of the week is that she wrote a book for children and has been busy giving out this book free of charge to schools, churches, orphanages as well as individuals on request, writes Oluremi Adeoye.

Arit Aduke Abolade, is a 39-year-old Christian Missionary. Although she was born and brought up in Warri, Delta State, she is from Ibiono-Ibom in Akwa-Ibom State.  A graduate of Microbiology from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, presently, she resides in Abeokuta, Ogun State where she runs a foundation, Stella Teaching and Relief Foundation. She is married to Michael Abolade and their marriage is blessed with two children.

On the philanthropic actions she has taken so far

Through my foundation, Stella Teaching and Relief Foundation, which was commissioned 13 years ago, I have, by the grace of God, been able to train and empower about 150 youths in Aiyepe Ijebu through a character, skills and self development training program I organised during my National Youth Service Year and afterwards; Rural Educational Advancement Program. I have also provided free education to over 200 children from Asabaaba, Asaelegun, Asaelgbada and Agewen villages in Obafemi Owode LGA. I have distributed about 3000 free children prayer books to children across Nigeria. I, with the support of my husband, by the grace of God, have, over the years, weekly distributed non-perishable food items to children and aged people in Agodo community in Abeokuta.

I have done all of this because I have received a calling from God to do so and as I grow in my faith as a Christian, I have received grace to be more compassionate towards the needs of others. My faith in God propels me to do as much to impact lives and do my quota in helping to correct the ills in our society.

How is your foundation being run?

Stella Teaching and Relief Foundation is an NGO and I am the sole founder. I founded the organisation in memory of my mum, Mrs Stella Bassey Assangha. She was my first teacher and the best school teacher I have ever known and even with the little we had, she was always so willing to give.

On what led to giving out her publication free of charge, her response was, the alarming rate of violence, crimes and immorality in our society today calls for drastic actions to save as many of our young children and youths as possible from falling prey to these vices.

Growing up, at the age of 10, I won an essay competition in my church then, All Saints Anglican Chapel, DSC Orhuwhorun, Delta State and an Anglican priest from Lagos, who had organised the essay, Very Rev Thomas Akinola Oluwole, gave me a gift of a prayer book. It was titled “Let’s Pray Together”. It was a beautifully coloured children’s prayer book and this encouraged me to learn the prayers and to pray. My late mum, Mrs Stella Assangha, who was a devote Christian, a single mother had also ensured that as children, my siblings and I prayed twice daily and she would have us fast and pray as a family every Friday. She insisted on these things. Growing up at some point, I strayed, but because I had strong roots in the things of God, I found my way back to Christ. Today I’m a missionary.

This is why I’m so determined to sow these same seeds of godliness in the lives of the children in this generation. If we are able to sow good seeds in their lives today, they will germinate and bring forth the right fruits in the future. To me, this is one major way of curbing the ills in society. We need to channel the minds of these young children to doing right by means of projects like these. If our children fear God and blossom in their relationship with God, they will do right.

We started distribution in May 2017. So far, we have printed and distributed about 4000 copies. This is far from our desire. Especially in a country with over 40million children, our vision is to ensure that over 70 per cent of the population of the children in this country will receive a copy of this book and they will learn to pray. Our desire is to stir up a revival through the prayers of children to turn things around in this country for good.

Challenges

I must confess it’s not been as easy as I imagined it would be. Particularly, since we have to pay for delivery of the books in most cases and the response for support has not been so much. So, we work with the little we have and we continue to believe God for the miracle of greater support for this project so are desires are fulfilled.

Free Education School

For the past 11 years, since 17th September 2007, we have run a free Nursery and Primary School in Asabaala Village, Obafemi Owode LGA Ogun State. STAR Foundation Mission School, reaches out to four villages, Asabaala, Asa-Elegun, Asa-Elegbada and Agewen villages. The foundation provides schoolbooks and other writing materials as well as school uniforms to children admitted from these villages. It also pays qualified teachers to teach in order to encourage children in these villages to be educated as there are no government schools around these villages.