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Thursday, June 13, 2024

I’d love to ask Bill Gates how he succeeded so immensely -F&AIO founder Augusta Martins-Inyang

It was a typical Monday morning in the bustling city of Calabar. While I was walking down the street, I saw a beautiful lady rushing off to work. I couldn’t help but notice her impeccable sense of style; she wore the most attractive clothes.

I had seen her before in the neighborhood, but on that day, there was something different about her. Maybe it was the way her hair flowed in the wind or the way her clothes seemed to shimmer in the sunlight. Whatever it was, I couldn’t help but be captivated by her beauty.

Since I was curious about who this fashion-forward woman was, I began to observe her daily routine. Every morning, she would drive her kids to school, and in the evenings, she would return home with the same drive and determination.

Due to her confident demeanor, I thought she was a banker, but later on, I discovered that she is the founder of an organisation that teaches young children entrepreneurial skills.

Her passion for her profession was evident in the way she spoke about it. You could see the fire in her eyes and hear the enthusiasm in her voice.

Today, we are thrilled to feature this incredible woman and her amazing work. Get ready to be inspired by her story!

Early life
Mrs. Augusta Martins-Inyang was born in the early eighties in Calabar municipality, Cross River State. She is the fifth child of her parents. After she was born, she fell sick and was not responding to medical treatment. So, her mother took her to a female herbal doctor, who treated the unknown ailment.

Augusta grew up in a middle-class home. Her father was a businessman, while her mother was a teacher. Parents exert the greatest influence on their children. Each word, movement and action of a parent have significant impact on their child and surpass the influence of any other external force or individual. Augusta’s parents influenced her positively. While her mother was very strict in raising the children, her father was liberal.

“Growing up was fun, and I enjoyed the moments I spent with my family. I learned a lot from my mother. Since she was a teacher, she used to teach us at home. On the other hand, my dad ingrained the reading culture in me. He used to give me storybooks, and after reading them, he would ask me to narrate what I read to him.”

The first school Augusta attended was Immaculate Conception Primary School in Ikot Ansa, Calabar. Her parents sent her to the best schools because they believed that education is one of the keys to a successful life. She had her secondary school education at Army Day Secondary School, Ikot Ansa, Calabar. When she was still a junior student, she acted as a class prefect and also enjoyed playing football. After she completed her ‘O’ Levels examinations, she obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE) from College of Education Akampa; and a first degree in Educational Administration and Planning from the University of Calabar.

“While growing up, I wanted to become a lawyer, but I changed my mind when I heard about the assassination of the Chief Justice of the Federation (Chief Bola Ige), and the assassins could not be traced. I told myself that since the Nigerian government couldn’t protect such an important personality, then any lawyer who defends the poor and stands for the truth could also be killed by the powerful and evil men in the country. My mother motivated me to pursue a career in teaching, and that is what I do for a living. Today, I am a wife, mother, and instructor.”

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Friends & Augusta International Organisation 
The Nigerian educational system is often criticized for its lack of emphasis on extracurricular activities. Many argue that schools in Nigeria focus too heavily on academic pursuits, such as memorization and examination performance while neglecting the development of students’ social and practical skills through activities outside the classroom.

After spending many years in the teaching field, Augusta started an organisation called Friends & Augusta International. The organisation aims to bridge the gap between education and being self-reliant through extracurricular activities and to make children socioeconomically equipped to function in the society through entertainment and entrepreneurial skills.

“After I realised that children can actually do more in school apart from reading, writing, and participating in sports activities, I started wondering why entrepreneurial skills are not taught in school.

“Entrepreneurship education helps students to develop a range of skills, including creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and team work. These skills are valuable not just for starting a business but for succeeding in any career or life endeavour.

So, a few years after I got married, I started teaching children how to be self-reliant and financially independent. Initially, I started with the children from the school where I worked, but later on, other people heard about us and joined.

Since we commenced activities in Calabar, the reception has been awesome. The children are always excited and ready to learn something new, and the parents always anticipate our next event.”

Impact of the organisation
Over the years, Friends & Augusta International has transformed timid children into confident and smart individuals who showcase their talents during school events. These children have also created a financial pathway for themselves and serve as a source of inspiration to others.

“In the next 10 years, my dream is to transform this organisation into a brand that is recognised worldwide. We will have our head offices in major cities and representatives in rural areas. By then, I believe, the educational system would have embraced entrepreneurship as a vital subject.

“I always feel a sense of pride and fulfillment whenever I see children showcasing their skills and creativity. I have heard parents talking about the progress their children made after joining Friends & Augusta International. All these testimonies inspire me to keep up the good work.”

Running an organisation can be both rewarding and challenging. One of the most significant challenges is securing adequate funding to sustain programmes and operations.

“We often go on tours and organise intelligence-based programmes for children. So, at every point, we are always looking for sponsors and partners, and that has not been easy in a civil service state like Calabar.”

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Augusta is a happily married woman with three children. She said she is fortunate to have a family that supports her vision and mission immensely.

“The work I do is very challenging and requires bravery. However, I’m grateful for all the encouragement I receive from my husband. He has always been my first sponsor and manager. Due to his support, I’m able to juggle between work, family, church, and other aspects of my life without feeling used or stressed out.”

Augusta loves reading motivational books and listening to sentimental music. She also enjoys watching movies and playing indoor games.

One person she would love to meet is Bill Gates because she is curious about how he became so successful in life.

“I won’t call myself a feminist because there is so much misconception about that word. I believe that males and females are unique in their ways of life. Therefore, I respect the roles of men the same way I love to be respected.”

Final word
To all the women out there, Mrs. Augusta Martins-Inyang wants to remind you that you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. Setbacks and failures are simply opportunities to learn and grow.

She also encourages you to work hard and believe in yourself. One day, every good thing you ever wished for would come to you.

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