Hopez Chioma Offor is a model, designer and trainer who has through her various projects trained aspiring models to launch their careers in modelling. The philanthropist, who is an ardent awdvocate of cancer awareness, speaks with CECILIA OGEZI on her passion for mentoring young children.
What about your yearly programmes?
I have many projects and each year I start with the Launch Your Dream (LYD) programme which is to encourage the young to build their talent in modelling. This was birthed in 2013 as a result of hunger to help the talented young ones in the society. If you look around you will find there are talents everywhere wasting mostly in Africa. Our vision is to discover, train, mentor and explore and open their minds to launch out to the world. It is open to people of all ages; building creativity and entrepreneurship in models to become role models.
The training affords them to be models with other skills. To maximize their potential and in a way that it can translate into profit. No man is born without a talent but ability to discover and develop it and launch out is key.
Training young children is fulfilling for me. When you catch them young you see their exuberance and vibrancy as well as energy come out in everything they do.
Are your programmes basically on training?
No, not just trainings. They include seeing the need for Africans to speak for Africa and stand for peace in Africa. My vision and story spurred me to start Africa Fashion For Peace(AFFP).
African Fashion For Peace is a fashion gala for charity which holds every year in an attempt to intensify advocacy by putting in place necessary structures for enduring peace in conflict areas around Africa organised by my fashion company Hopez Tude Rizons. I do this in partnership with relevant stakeholders, diplomatic communities and development partners. The company hopes to drive recreation of social capital with African communities by constantly engaging African models and designers as strong advocates for enduring peace.
What is the idea behind this?
The idea behind designers showcasing African fabric from international and local designers is also aimed at unlocking socioeconomic and environmental opportunities, thus paving way for economic diversification growth by providing job opportunities. We take the event round Africa and beyond Africa to strengthen advocacy for lasting peace in conflict areas as we believe there is still much to be done and we will not relent to add our voice to sustainable peace round Africa.
What inspired you into fashion designing and modelling?
I started fashion and designing when I was very young. My mum was a seamstress hence I was learning under her tutelage. Now I choose to branding Ankara because I believe African prints are unique and beautiful. I launched my brand Hopez Line publicly in the Abuja Fashion Night of May, 2017.
What are your cancer awareness programmes?
I also run an NGO under the brand name HopezTudes Rizon Foundation that is mainly focused on raising awareness on cancer and cancer related illnesses. It is a personal experience for me because I lost my mother last year to breast cancer and there is still much to be done in raising awareness on this disease. Aside financial support we give to cancer patients, we are looking at engaging a medical team for a medical outreach to help lessen the burden the families carry on drugs and other things. We also offer assistance needed at the various stages of the cancers.
What is your drive?
I am driven by the desire to touch lives and give hope to those who due to life experiences do not even believe they can achieve anything anymore. We try to reach out any way we can and give the needed assistance.
What would you say best describes your brand?
Creativity and versatility with a good finishing, without which the work is incomplete.
How is the reception for your brand?
It is very good, Ankara is in vogue so you see people wearing more of the fabric and so my bags, clothing and accessories are made to suit. It is wearable and fashionable. There is a bit of everything for work, relaxation, events and a lot more.
What would you say is fundamental for anyone who want to succeed?
Finding your passion and that is only possible if you discover yourself in our mentorship programmes that is a major area of focus to bringing young people to discover their selves. To come to know that a certain field or profession is what you want in life is not possible without discovering yourself and that will put you on the right path to achieving success.
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