Ariyike Writes: Love, Life & Charity

When I was practicing law, I had several meetings with different people who wanted to register Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Some of them had no clue as to why they wanted to register the NGOs. After much consultation and talks, I realised that some of these people were not so passionate about the supposed NGO, they just wanted to have a reason to have a red carpet event/party, have fun and take pictures. Sometimes, it seemed more like a publicity stunt than a genuine concern for humanity. I once asked someone who wanted to register an NGO (to create awareness for AIDS) if she would be able to hug a person living with AIDS and she said no. If you’re fighting for a cause that you truly believe in and you’re not ready to “enter” the field, then you’re not yet ready. Ask the Slums2school team what it’s like to run an NGO then you’ll know that it’s serious work.

If you know that running an NGO is not top priority on your list, please don’t bother registering one. There are too many NGOs already fighting for different causes. If you’re so passionate about helping others, you can become a volunteer/spokesperson and align yourself with the NGOs that you truly believe in. Nowadays, it’s as if every Tom, Dick and Harry aspires to own an NGO for individual reasons. Can you even donate part of your earnings to support your own NGO?

When I see international celebrities who embrace humanity causes like Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck Halle Berry, Sir Elton John, George Clooney, Charlize Theron e.t.c, I see them going to villages and war torn countries. I don’t see them as fashion icons but as living legends for taking time out of their busy schedules to go into the field to try and make life better for people they don’t know. I only wish a lot of our celebrities knew how to use their influence a lot more positively. But then again, everyone has their priorities and if making a positive impact in the lives of others is not a priority to one then that person cannot be forced.

It’s applaudable when I see people who give to others. If you give out as little as a pencil or a packet of noodles to another person, so far you gave it out from the bottom of your heart and out of love, you’ve done well and that person would remember you for what you did for him/her.

Recently, I was online looking at pictures of a celebrity who donated food items to an orphanage home and someone put up a comment that the celebrity should have donated books. I think it’s unfair when celebrities are bashed even after they’ve taken out time to give back to the society because they could have spent their money on other things. If you think about it, it’s not just celebrities who must give out to others. Eveyone should try and become their brother’s keeper by showing love and kindness to others. Before you reel out negativity, ask yourself when last you showed an act of kindness to another? Have you ever thought about sponsoring someone’s education? Have you ever offered your gateman food? When last did you visit an orphanage or old peoples home to volunteer for them? People lost their belongings to the heavy flood, did you donate your old clothes? During Sallah/christmas, have you ever given your staff extra money or presents? Can you now see that charity begins with you?

I was in Ajegunle in September for Vocal Slender’s Ghetto love project where we donated and got people to donate new school bags, shoes, snacks, food items and school supplies to about 500 children who had been carrying their books to school in nylon bags. The planning process didn’t take us more than a month and we were able to achieve so much. You should have seen the look on the children’s faces when they received their package. Some of them were so excited that they cried tears of joy. Some of their mothers were so happy that they even started dancing. These are part of the things that make me smile. Wouldn’t life be more beautiful if we all showed love?

The people that embrace humanity causes are not necessarily the richest set of People. Sometimes, when I partner with a charity to support them, I give them my time, I volunteer and when I can afford to donate money or gift items, I do it. Don’t think you can’t help others because you haven’t achieved all you planned to achieve, you still have time to get it right. Every day you wake up is another opportunity at success. One prayer point I include in my prayers eveyday is “Lord, make me a solution”. As long as we’re on earth, there would always be problems to solve. Instead of contibuting to or complaining about the problem, you can become a solution.

Today, I want us all to share stories of what we’ve been through this year, what we’ve achieved, how we’ve touched lives and our expectations for the rest of the year. I’ll also be here to contribute in the comment section. Let’s make this fun and interactive and let’s be thankful for life and good health. If you’re able to log on to bellanaija without being assisted by a doctor or nurse, I’ll advice you to say a big thank you to God because right now, somewhere, there’s someone fighting for his or her life. Be thankful.

You are all invited to come for our Christmas charity party on Sunday, 8th of December 2013 at N-tyce Lounge, 1310 Karimu Kotun, Victoria Island Lagos from 2-6pm where we’ll be giving out items (old and new) to some charitable organisations in need. It would be nice to meet all the bellanaija commentators. {You can read more about it here}

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Ariyike Akinbobola is a lawyer turned TV presenter/producer at Spice TV, a fashion and lifestyle channel. She studied Law at the University of Lagos and was called to the Nigerian bar in 2006. With a diploma in T.V presenting from the London Academy of Media, film and T.V. She also organises a monthly event every first Wednesday of the month called “Best of Both Worlds” networking cocktail party. She’s married and blessed with children. Follow her on twitter@LadyAriyike to find out more.

26 Comments on Ariyike Writes: Love, Life & Charity
  • purpleberry November 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Nice write up. One of the best things I had the opportunity of doing this year, was to give lunch to a boy I found hawking on the street. Pity I could only do it for 2 weeks because I had to travel but it felt really special to help somebody.

  • mia November 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

    it bleeds my heart to find out that there are people who do not even know what to eat today or where their next meal is coming from. i totally agree with you, it is obvious that our government is irresponsible, let us start taking care of ourselves. let’s fill the potholes on our roads, stop treating our gate men,drivers or house help with such impunity and start giving some of the less privileged people some consideration. you might think you’re yet to buy that latest phone, but there’s a nursing mother who does not even have food to eat to be able to breast feed her baby. the poverty is deep mehn, let’s do a little to make the world a better place.

    i plan to gather some of my friends to make a donation of at least N5000 this xmas period, so we can buy groceries and some clothes for motherless babies and the less privileged around us.

  • St. ed November 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Ok

  • iwalewa November 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    My belief is you dont have to be extra rich to give out. With the little i have,i still try to do what i can do. My neighbour had problems- husband lost his job,wife had leg issues and could not work.rent expired and they could not pay and they had to relocate to the village. their last kid is a brilliant chap who was in jss2 and i neva wanted the boy to drop out of school. i took it upon myself to see the boy through secondary school. i wish i could go further to see him through university as well.
    i have occupants in my house who are not my blood relations but i accomodated them,feed them,gist with them ,encourage them to school,work and pursue their dreams.
    For my birthday next year,i plan to solicit friends’ help to distribute school items to school children in public schools.My target is primary schools. I grew up in Oshodi and its a daily routine to see school children go to school in slippers,carry their books in nylon bag. i spoke with some of them and i realise that they re willing to learn but their parents cannot afford these things. i pray every day to God to bless me . I hate to see a child suffer.

  • Safra November 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Ariyike, there was an article you wrote a while back that was to have a part “2″ have you posted it?

  • Tiki November 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    The gateman in the compound next to mine is a young Hausa guy (maximum 23), with a pregnant wife (she’s got to be about 17!) I’m pleased to say I think I’ve made a difference in his life with the help I have given him. Howeve rI always ask him to do a little something in return eg. clean the yard, etc. I have a healthy fear/disdain of people who only receive handouts when they may very well be lazy.

  • Ariyike November 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the comments…It always feels great to see People who are willing to help others without having the “what’s in it for me” attitude. @Purpleberry, @Mia, @Iwalewa, God bless your kind hearts, you all have done well. A lot of us have heard this several times but it’s so true that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

  • Seyi November 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Love this article. Giving to charity is not only about the money you give, but also your time.

  • Berry November 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I grew up with the saying “givers never lack” “God loves a cheerful giver” “the measure you give and more shall be returned to you” and so many more of them charitable sayings my father gives us every other time. there’s this sweet joy helping people gives. my sister once told me true generosity is when you give to someone that can’t repay you back and I saw that exact saying on a poster. truthfully i don’t know how to blow my trumpet but helping people gives me peace and hope for the future cos i truly believe in the saying that givers never lack and the life of my family is a testimony. i have loads and loads of foster siblings and you can never differentiate us if you are not a very close family member, the younger ones don’t even know. i have loads to share but i don’t really know how to share them, but i want to encourage everyone reading to do good, be good to people, help those who are in need of your help; kind or cash, never tell them next time, as my mother would say; giving will make up for your sins..loooool. and please it has to be from your heart, don’t give because you are compelled to, don’t give to bribe God, don’t give so people can applaud you. Be a cheerful giver.

  • Crystalwhite November 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Yes ,It is good to start with what you have and the people around you.There is this cripple i stop by most mornings to give money for breakfast,I not only give him money but when am not too late i actually stop and chat with him,I go as far as holding his hands. I ve come to enjoy the joy and smile i see on his face when he sees me I now noticed apart from the giving he appreciates the little chats,smiles and handshake we share,and I noticed most people are so scared to give cos i get a lot of strange looks from passersby,well as if I care.
    For this year ve decided to celebrate my birthday @ the motherless babies home,sometimes the food stuffs we take to them are hoarded by the Staff or carted away,so ve decided to hire a caterer,cook eat with them and share the little i have. We cant solve all the problems we could start from some where. Ariyike keep up the good work,God will bless you.

  • Ariyike November 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    @Safra, thanks for asking about Part 2 of the Headmaster. You’ll get to read it in my book. Details coming soon :-)

  • Ann Shirley November 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Great post! I think man people think that just giving money to charity and talking about it is enough, but it’s really not. You need to physically do something to help. The celebrities you mentioned like Brad Pitt and Angelena Jolie are amazing because you see them physically visiting these third world countries and helping out with giving meals, clean water, etc. My pastor is another individual that works like this. he created a global medical relief that allowed him to work in China to help create one of the first children’s medical hospitals.

  • Ariyike November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    @Tiki, Seyi, Berry, Crystalwhite, It’s good to know that good People like you still exist. There’s so much that needs to be done but sadly, so many People do not realise that you don’t have to be rich to help. I’ve gone to motherless babies homes here in Nigeria and I’ve met volunteers from different parts of the world. There are some People who have dedicated their whole lives to charity. As Seyi said, charity is about giving your time. Even if you can’t afford to give out money, you can decide to spend time with these People when you have some spare time.

  • biodun November 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    This is surely not a platform for advertisements but am deeply touched with the comments I see here. God bless this lady who fed a boy on the street for two weeks. You all have the opportunity to make more people smile this December as Ariyike will be organising a charity event which comes up on the 8th of December. Kindly show interest and I’ll give you further details about the event. But for now, you can just call 08181921323 for info
    God bless

  • Project Alert on Violence against Women November 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    One of the ways you can support a charity is to buy a box of cupcakes and help us raise funds to support women and young girls who have been victims of sexual and domestic abuse. Every box of cup cakes you buy hires a lawyer for a girl that has been raped, financially empower a woman who has been thrown out of her house by her husband, provides temporal shelter for abuse victims and put smiles on the face of women and young girls who have been abused.
    You can call 09091387872 and place your orders. Cup cakes will be delivered free to any location in Lagos by Baker’s World
    With 3000 you can wipe tears out of a woman’s eyes and give her a reason to smile
    If you are not in Lagos you can click the link to donate through PayPal http://goo.gl/ruUWol
    or donate to our survivor’s fund
    Account Name: Project Alert Survivor’s Fund
    Account Number: 1013113653
    Bank: Zenith Bank
    Check out our website for more information about our work http://www.projectalertnig.org
    follow us on twitter @projectalertvaw
    Thank you for supporting our cause

  • Ariyike November 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks Biodun, you can also add this number, 08093626314. All the details are on my blog reflectionswithariyike.blogspot.com/2013/11/ariyikes-christmas-give-n-take.html?m=1

  • omolaraei November 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    i promise myself to reach out to as many people i see this xmas no matter how little or big it is God helping me so touched

  • Chaste Charity November 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Inspiring …We are proud to say Ariyike made the list of our 53 heroes living their lives for the Benefit of others…If you dont get involve in Charity Guys…who we… see u on the 8th of December

  • Cancel Reply November 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Funny you mentioned Vocal Slender. I was recently wondering what happened to him after the “Welcome to Lagos” documentary .He had one hit song and no one heard about him again!

    Great post Ariyke and great initiative with your Christmas charity party. I hope people come out to support!

  • biodun November 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    @charity, will be looking forward to that day. Make sure you come with what you have for the kids.

  • Lizzie November 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Ariyike, lovely read. I had this informal book club in a
    public school close to my house where i got some books (Eze goes to
    school etc) for them and i used to go there once a week to read it
    with them. Also threw the outgoing pry6 class a little send forth
    party in July and it was exciting. These kids are so smart and very
    lovable too. i was passing by on a bike one Saturday and one of
    them screamed Aunty with a huge smile on his face and wove, i
    couldn’t stop smiling. We have to start with the people around
    us.

  • Moril November 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I used to volunteer with charities when I lived outside Nigeria, especially those that take care of homeless people. However, since I came back to Nigeria, it’s been difficult finding charities where I can spend my time helping…pardon my ignorance if I haven’t conducted my research properly but I’ve been really itching to volunteer somewhere especially one that helps poor communities or inhabitants of poor communities. So, if you have any idea of NGOs I can contact or charity organisations in that line, please drop some info. Thanks.
    Meanwhile, kudos Ariyike. It would have been a pleasure to attend the December event but I won’t be in Nigeria. :(

  • Ariyike November 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Thanks for all your comments. As Lizzie said, we have to start with the people around us. There are so many charities that you can suport in Nigeria. @Moril, There’s a site called 234give.com, they have all the information you need. Thanks once again. You guys are the best.

  • Anon Asaba November 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Any charity event in Asaba, Delta State? I would be delighted to partake in it.

  • jeremy,s mum December 14, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Ariyike, you are indeed a blessed woman!

  • Anonymous 1 December 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Aside from giving, we also need to be careful how we treat people, especially people that are “inferior” to us. This might not be totally related to the article but I thought I’d point it out.
    Nigerians especially need to be really careful. A friend of mine was in Nigeria recently and she was surprised how people treat their house helps, drivers, gardeners, washerman et al. The way their employers talk to them and abuse them based on her stories, was outright ridiculous. Charity begins at home. Before you go out saving lives and giving to other people, minister to the needs of those around you who are less fortunate as well.

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou.

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