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Prospective employers rejected me -Gas explosion survivor who defied odds to become herbal medicine maker

In a world where adversity can extinguish even the brightest of dreams, we meet Damilola Olumade, survivor of a devastating gas explosion. Scarred but resilient, she defied rejection and created a new path as a herbal drug manufacturer and distributor

Join us as we explore her inspiring journey from tragedy to triumph.

My name is Damilola Olumade, and I am from Lagos State. I was born in Lagos Island in the early 1990s into a humble family. My parents gave birth to four children, and I am the third.

My father died when I was still a toddler. So, my mother raised her children single-handed. She is a very hardworking woman who did all kinds of trades to earn money. Although it was not easy, God saw us through.

Education
The first school I attended was Ideal Model Nursery and Primary School in Lagos Island, before proceeding to Eva Adelaja Senior Girls Grammar School in Bariga, Lagos. While growing up, my childhood dream was to become a medical doctor, but I ended up studying Hospitality Management at Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin.

The gas explosion incident

Illustraive photo: Explosion from gas cylinder

It all started in September 2020. On that day, I had gone to the kitchen to prepare a meal. While I was there, I didn’t know that gas was leaking out of the cylinder. So, the moment I lit the gas cooker, there was an explosion. In a twinkle of an eye, the flames engulfed my clothes, and everything was burning so fast. I ran out quickly and started screaming for help.

By the time my clothes were removed, I discovered that my body had been badly burned. I was in so much pain and was rushed to the hospital, where I spent many months receiving treatment. It was a very challenging period for my family and my mother spent all her savings on my medical expenses.

Damilola after the incident

After I returned home, my life changed from what it used to be. I couldn’t interact with people anymore because I was ashamed of my scars. Gradually, I fell into depression and was always wearing a sad look.

I didn’t know that gas was leaking out of the cylinder. So, the moment I lit the gas cooker, there was an explosion

The worst part of it all was that my mother’s business fell apart because of a lot of debt, and it pushed us into hardship. Being a graduate, I wanted to work as a professional in my field, but I was not offered a job. So, I applied to work as a receptionist, customer care service representative, or even a sales representative, yet no one hired me. All my job applications were ignored without a second glance.

And that’s when my journey took a surprising twist. I set out on a challenging mission to become an entrepreneur. With bravery and a strong will to guide me, I embraced my inner strength to break free from discrimination and redefine what it means to succeed.

World of herbal medicine
After facing countless rejections in the job market, I turned my attention to something that had always fascinated me: local herbs and their healing properties.

my life changed from what it used to be. I couldn’t interact with people anymore because I was ashamed of my scars

I began my journey by immersing myself in the world of herbal medicine. I read books and sought guidance from knowledgeable individuals in the same field. With each passing day, my understanding of the therapeutic benefits of herbs deepened, and I became more confident in my ability to harness their healing potential.

Back at home, I set up a small workshop where I could process and prepare these herbs with great care and attention to detail. I formulated potent blends and concoctions, and that was how Herbs by Mopeola started.

When people heard about it, they started approaching me, seeking relief from various ailments and conditions.

With each successful review, my confidence grew, and I expanded my range of herbal preparations to address a wider array of health issues. I make salves, ointments, teas, and tinctures to alleviate pain, soothe skin conditions, boost immunity, and promote overall well-being.

my mother’s business fell apart because of debts incurred for my treatment, and it pushed us into hardship

Challenges
Herbs by Mopeola is not well known at the moment, and that’s why I’m investing in advertising and branding. My goal is to become a global brand in the next five years. So, I’m putting in my best.

The major challenge I’m experiencing right now is a lack of capital to expand the business. Unfortunately, getting business loans in this country is not always easy. So, for now, I’m just building from scratch.

Self-fulfilling moment
In this life, I have experienced a lot, and that’s why, whenever I have money, I always donate to the less privileged. There was a time I visited the Modupe Cole Memorial Home in Yaba. As soon as the kids saw their gifts, they were very happy, and I was also filled with joy.

Another self-fulfilling moment for me is whenever I receive positive reviews for my products. After living in sadness for many years, I am glad that I finally found my purpose in life, and I’m enjoying the experience.

I make salves, ointments, teas, and tinctures to alleviate pain, soothe skin conditions, boost immunity, and promote overall well-being

Leisure
Whenever I’m not working, I love to spend quality time on TikTok. I have great fans on that platform, and they have been very supportive. Also, the first popular figure I would like to meet one-on-one is the Nigerian successful businessman and philanthropist, Abu Abel. I also admire Nollywood actress Iyabo Ojo.

Abu Abel

Word of advice
A major lesson that I have learned from my experience is that, in the face of adversity, our disabilities become the catalysts for showcasing our remarkable abilities.

When we embrace our disabilities, we unlock a world of unique abilities that inspire and empower others. So, let me ask you a question. What is holding you back from unleashing your potential?

Excuses are the tools of the weak; those who dare to succeed find a way, not an excuse. Social media can be a great way to show what you’re good at. Sometimes, videos of your talents can become very popular, and people might even look for you and support you.

So, in conclusion, I am encouraging you to embrace your uniqueness, trust your intuition, and pursue your passion unapologetically—your path will unfold with resilience and purpose. Cheers to the better days ahead.

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