In what seem to an espionage mission owing to her very tight schedules The Alimosho Mail crew was able to track the founder of Kami Empowerment Foundation formerly known as Kami-J Hearing and Speech Impaired Foundation. The mission started as early as 8:33 am with a whatsApp chat with her requesting to meet with her which she obliged and requested us to meet her at the popular Odo-Eran market on Governors’ Road in Ikotun, along the busy LASU-Igando expressway where she was to do minor shopping with respect to the fact that she had informed us earlier of her imminent trip next day. We got there and put a call through to her as she pleaded for some minutes to join us, on meeting her one does not need the service of soothsayer to know that she a hard worker, a giver, always thankful, full of smiles and sready to listen while she also attends to her numerous messages buzzing via her mobile phone. Our curiosity to meet her eventually ended but for her schedule which would not permit us to have a chat at that point as she had other things to do at the Ikotun market; this prompted us to ride with her on a tricycle popularly known as (keke Marwa) where we eventually settled for this brief interview as she was heading for another meeting. Excerpts
Can we meet you ma?
I am Mrs Motunrayo Mariam Williams Johnson the founder of Kami J Foundation now Kami Empowerment Foundation.
What is Kami Foundation all about?
Thank you, Kami Foundation came as a result of a personal challenge, when at seven months my son was impaired of speech and hearing as a result of measles he had and was operated upon by Dr Adeyinka at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), then I was about to celebrate my thirtieth birthday. For the goodness of God, government, family and friends that showed me love during that period; I felt I should give back to the society as a mark of thanksgiving for the grace of saving my son from permanently being impaired and to reach out to the less privileged, so I decided to use the opportunity to visit the homes but while I was preparing for the visit I was inspired to start a foundation so as to reach out further to those who are not opportuned to know what to do or how to go about such impairment challenges because I was fortunate to have friends and family that advised me.
Is your foundation limited to Alimosho alone?
Good question, we are no longer limited in any form, prior to the completion of our registration with CAC we were limited to a Foundation for only the Hearing and Speech Impaired but now we have been elevated to an Empowerment Foundation thereby boosting our scope of operations. With this we have been able to expand our scope to include the Kami J job Search which is solely responsible in job placement for every applicant in Nigeria without minding your tribe, ethnicity and religion.
The Kami J Job Search on WhatsApp was how we got to know about your foundation and am sure most readers will be interested in knowing about it, could you shed more light on it?
Thank you, the whole idea of helping people to get job started about ten years ago when I realised how I was helped by Senator Semiu Kukoyi as a teacher in Lagos Model College Kankon, Badagry and I felt life is not about receiving alone but to also give to others then I started helping others to get jobs, during same period Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu employed several thousand into civil service I was a beneficiary and also instrumental in helping at least three people to get employed and since then year in year out I have been helping at least one person into civil service, this year I have through my little efforts help three people. The Kami J Job Search is a free service of creating awareness on available vacancies for qualified job seekers to apply and there have been testimonies.
Are the jobs for Yorubas alone?
No, no no no. Kami Foundation does not discriminate in any manner be it by tribe or religion, we are open to everyone, for instance am a Christian but all the people that got job recently are Muslims also we have had a beneficiary from Edo State.
For the ten years of your operations are there regrets?
So far so good no regret, but my pain is that people fail to understand the essence of living which is giving, the need to help others; though I understand that giving is a grace from God, I’m always pained when I see people that God has blessed with much resources not helping others.
We have seen most politicians coming up with beautiful programs such as this with the aim of it suiting their political interest; what is the political undertone of Kami Empowerment Foundation?
No, I was taught on how to be a giver by my mother as I saw her willingness to share or give anything she had with our church members and friends with ease and I learnt it from there also my spiritual leader Pastor Olumide Emanuel of Calvary Bible Church Idimu always emphasise on the need to give and to always ask God not to give you that which you cannot let go, so my life is that of giving and it does not have any political undertone whatsoever, however as a result of my interest to serve I’m appointed by the leaders to serve my people, I will not hesitate but not to contest for any political office. It is worthy to note that by virtue of my work, I have built relationship with some of the leaders which if am asked to serve in any capacity I would but my desire is to rise to the level of a permanent secretary in the civil service.
What are your projections for Kami Empowerment Foundation in the next ten years?
Waoh! I see Kami Empowerment Foundation touching more lives in every nooks and crannies of Nigeria and even beyond by establishing branches across the country, having group of schools, Orphanage home, having a wing of the foundation taking care of the widows and helping more people in getting jobs. Very soon we are moving to Osun State to empower some people, why Alimosho and Badagry seem to be benefiting more from us is basically because I started my life in these two areas and have also tried to go beyond them by reaching out to a school in Oshodi.
You have made so much reference about your mother, what else would you like us to know about her?
She is doing very well over there in Badagry.