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Thursday, November 30, 2023

‘As a child, I had no time to rest as dad abandoned mum to care for five children’

My name is Adeshola Olubunmi. I was born 48 years ago into the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Jimoh, in Kwara State. I am the first child, and I have four siblings. I didn’t enjoy my childhood because my parents had a broken marriage. So, my mother was the one who raised all of us.

It was not really easy, and I still remember how she struggled day and night to feed and take care of us. She did several businesses, and being the first child, I became her personal assistant. We used to hawk on the streets, even under the harsh weather. There was no item that we didn’t sell. The moment the demand for one product dropped, we switched to another.

My mother was the major influence I had. She taught me to be hardworking and independent. As a child, I didn’t have enough time to rest or play because I had responsibilities to bear.

I’m a very industrious woman. I can’t be idle and watch my children suffer

Education
The first school I attended was Okose Primary School, Babanloma, Kwara State, before proceeding to Muslim Community College, also in Babanloma.

While growing up, I admired the presenters I saw on television, and I wanted to become a newscaster. Unfortunately, I couldn’t chase my dreams at that time. After I completed secondary school, I got admission to Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, and where I obtained my National Certificate in Education.

Marriage
I am married to Mr. Adetola Oluwafemi. I met him in 1996 when I was still a student at Kwara State College of Education. He came to attend a programme that was held at my school. After we became friends, we dated for some years before getting married in the year 2000. Today, he is a pastor, and we are blessed with four children. Two of them are undergraduates, the third is about to write the ‘O’ Levels examination, and the youngest is about to start secondary school.

Business
After I got married, I worked as a secretary for an organisation. My husband also had a 9-to-5 job. We were just managing our little income, but after I gave birth to my first child, I couldn’t continue the job. I nursed my child for some months, and during that period, things were very tough. My husband’s income was not enough to pay the bills.

Adeshola Olubunmi

So, one day, I told him that I would look for a teaching job so I could earn and support the family. He didn’t like the idea and encouraged me to start a business instead.
After so much contemplation and planning, I opened a shop and started selling gift items. We were managing the little profits from the business until the day our shop was demolished by government because they wanted to expand the road.

I am a very industrious woman. I can’t be idle and watch my children suffer or beg for food. I have been married for over 23 years, and during that period, my husband lost his job more than six times. There was a time he stayed for two years without a job. So I had to carry all the family responsibilities.

I’ve been married for over 23 years and, so far, my husband has lost his job more than six times

After I lost my shop, I learned how to make hats. Later on, I got another shop and continued my gift item business. I also added fascinators, turbans, auto gele and many others. My daughter is helping me run the business. She is a milliner and also a makeup artist.

Challenges
One of my dreams is to expand my business and make it an international brand. I want to get a bigger shop that has a beautiful showroom for displaying hats and fascinators. I also need a very large space for training my apprentices. So far, I have not been able to save enough funds to sponsor this project because the money I earn is used for family upkeep.

Another challenge is that this business is time-consuming. So far, juggling the responsibilities of being a mom, wife and entrepreneur has not been easy. I spend more time in the shop. My children come to the shop after school, and we go home together in the evening.

One of my retirement plans is to start a primary school or a crèche. I believe I have a calling in the children’s ministry, and I look forward to fulfilling it. However, my husband doesn’t like the idea because he feels it would be very stressful.

Self-fulfilling moments
My goal in life is to be happy and make sure people around me are, too. As a pastor’s wife, I have been using this business to empower women in my church, and it gives me so much joy whenever I see them succeeding too.

Since I started this journey, God has really been blessing the work of my hands. I have trained many people in hat-making and fascinators. For example, in 2020, I had a class of 15 people, and before that time, I had trained more than 30 people.

One of my retirement plans is to start a primary school or a crèche

Today, I don’t worry about house rent anymore because we have built our own house. Also, gone are those days when things were very tough because I was shouldering the responsibilities of my younger ones. I thank God that they are all doing well in their endeavours now. These days, my major responsibilities are those of my household, and the Lord has been faithful.

Leisure
I don’t always have free time. Even on Sundays, I go to church as early as 6:30 a.m. and return between 4-5 p.m. I always spend the next few hours preparing for the new week before going to bed.

If I had the time to meet a public figure one-on-one, I would love to meet Pastor Adebayo of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Advice for women
Whether you are a widow or a single lady, rise up on your feet and save yourself from the embarrassment of poverty. Look for something to do, and stop depending solely on your husband so that people will not start calling you all sorts of names.

Moreover, no one knows what will happen tomorrow. So, don’t be a liability in your society; be a solution.

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