Salmat Musah popularly called Mayasalis is a young Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist. At only 26, she says she has lost count of the less privileged people she has empowered to lead meaningful lives. She spoke with NKECHI ISAAC
How was growing up?
I was born in Warrake in Owan East local government area of Edo State to the family of Alhaji and Hajia Salisu Musah and Habibat Salisu Musah, both from Imiegba town in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State. I’m the sixth child of my parents.
I’m the president and founder of MayaSalis Entrepreneurship and Vocational Empowerment Foundation (MEVEF).
How did MEVEF start?
I am an innate humanitarian. I have done several humanitarian services that never got captured by cameras and neither got mentioned in the social media. I registered Mayasalis Entrepreneurship and Vocational Empowerment Foundation (MEVEF) with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2018 after my encounter with a one-year old boy who almost died because his parents couldn’t afford his medical treatment or even get him admitted in the hospital at the Kuje General Hospital Abuja. It was such a painful experience that dared me to take up humanitarian services more seriously. I have an innate love for humanity and that makes my humanitarianism easy. I am from a loving family that is very passionate about others and wants to see everyone happy. I would say humanity runs in us.
At what age did you start your business enterprise?
I started humanitarianism actively from age 14 and I have done several projects that were never publicized until recently.
How have you been able to accomplish what you do, who is bankrolling your work?
I have never received a kobo from anybody since I started humanitarian services for over a decade now, yet I run series of projects back-to-back daily, monthly and yearly with countless beneficiaries. I have done all I have done in the past and at present with my own money. It’s quite interesting because I keep at the back of my mind always that “humanitarianism is not a proof of wealth but of selflessness”. I’m from a very humble background, my dad was a farmer and my mum a petty trader, yet I have lost count of people that I have helped. It shows that it’s all about love and commitment. People just get inspired by my work and promise to help but none has been able to do that yet.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
In my 26 years of existence I have been able to empower countless people. The most recent is the free skills empowerment training I rendered to the community of Anagada where I empowered women and youths in September 2020 despite the global pandemic. In 2019, I also carried a free skill acquisition in Edo State. I have carried out several visitations to hospitals and orphanages. The one so dear to me is the little boy, Bolaji, whose hospital bills my friend and I were able to foot and revive his mother’s business. Every day, I receive calls from parents of kids I have helped, begging me to come and take the children because my kindness kept them alive. Whenever I see smiles on the faces of those I have helped, I have joy and feel satisfied.
Do you have any regrets?
I don’t have any. This is because whatever I’m involved in, I go the extra mile to make it work, if it turns out contrary, I still feel good all the same.
What are your plans?
I plan to build a free vocational study centre for the vulnerable. I want to build a school different from what we’re used to. I wouldn’t want to talk much on that for now, I believe in results.
What is your advice to fellow women?
Women must learn to be productive and being more than just wives and children bearers. Every woman must learn to add values to herself. I am an advocate of self-reliance.
What do you say to the youth?
They should stop waiting for Nigeria to be great rather contribute their quota to make Nigeria great. Achieving the Nigeria of our dream is a collective responsibility. Let’s be responsible citizens and watch things fall in place. They should also be selfless, smart, hardworking and humane to one another. For me, I have pledged to contribute my quota towards making Nigeria a great nation and there’s no going back.