When it comes to women empowerment, Omokorede Fasoro, quietly exudes an innate level of certainty because she is the founder of a non-governmental organization, Women of Essence Foundation, with the main objective of helping women discover, pursue and fulfill God’s purposes for their lives.
Speaking with Newswatch Times, Fasoro said she is a trained quantity surveyor, but had to quit the profession because she was not finding any fulfillment in it. According to her, “I trained as a quantity surveyor in 1989 at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I practiced for some time in a private firm, later on I had my private firm but I realized that I wasn’t fulfilled.
Although, I graduated top of my class, I was the only girl in my class, I came out with the best result but I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life on building sites. I then began a journey of about 10 years to discover what exactly would give me joy. I went into different businesses and ventures. Finally, I realized that what I do effortlessly is what actually gives me fulfillment. All the while I have always had passion for writing, training and speaking.
I began to narrow into those areas, went for series of trainings in this area to sharpen my skills, including pursuing a Masters degree in Media and Communication from the Pan Atlantic University (owners of Lagos Business School). As I began to focus on the areas of my passion, I had a clearer direction in life. With the strong support of my husband, I was able to achieve my vision.”
Speaking further on how she established Women of Essence Foundation, she said the NGO was officially registered three years ago with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Adding that, “Before then, we had been organizing training in the area of women empowerment. I have been having meetings with women, encouraging and empowering them. Later, I realized that I wanted something structured and more credible.
With the picture I have, I realized that this was something I will not be able to do alone, and that I needed to get other people on board to help me in carrying out the vision. Also, I wanted something sustainable that would be there for years even long after I am gone. That was how the idea came up.
“The main thrust of what we do is to help women discover themselves. It is not until women know the essence of who they are that they can have positive self-esteem, self-confidence and be able to relate better with people.
“The main thing we do is to take women through series of training thereby unveiling their potentials, gifts, talents, so that they can discover themselves. All what a person needs to succeed in life is already built in them, the only problem is that we take for granted things that we do effortlessly. As they discover themselves, we also help in guiding them in areas of starting businesses, building careers or pursuing a social cause,” she said.
Casting her mind back to the major challenge she had at the outset of starting the NGO, she said she needed to be convinced that she was really called to go into this. Reminiscing, she relayed: “Five years ago, I organized a seminar for women and I spent so much money for the event to hold. I invited two prominent speakers who showed up but the people I organized the event for didn’t show up. There were only six of us in the hall that ought to contain 100 people. It was very discouraging.
At that point in time, I stopped all I was doing and I thought I wasn’t called for this purpose. But the passion kept on firing within me, so I had to get convinced that this is really what I was supposed to be doing. Over time, we had to gradually build our credibility so that people can believe in us and support us.”
Fasoro is of the belief that when you empower a woman, you are not only empowering the nation, you are building it. No wonder, the Women of Essence Foundation tapped into a new line of mentoring by targeting young girls in secondary schools. The NGO was able to achieve this by partnering with a secondary school in Ondo State to facilitate the training and encourage the girls that would become women in future.
The founder of the NGO revealed that her personal experience and the life of her mother made her focus on women.
“My mother is a teacher but I watched her life, there was a period in her life that she had a great need financially. At the age of 50, after she retired, she started a primary school with just three pupils. Years after, she started a secondary school and to the Glory of God, her schools are some of the best schools now in Ondo State.
“I saw how she was able to start something she had passion for on her own, how it lifted her, how it raised her self-esteem and empowered her. Through the school she started, she was able to empower many other families. There were times she was discouraged, but she kept moving on because she has passion for what she was doing. When a woman is empowered, the society will be better. That is why we decided to key into women only. When a wife is empowered, it would extend to other members of the family and the society at large,” she added.
Ever since she started the empowerment programme, she has had a lot of success stories from women who have attended and participated in the personal discovery programme. She noted that many women have attended the programme in a confused state and have beamed at the end of the training.
With a note of finality, she advised that women need to be agents of change and positive role models wherever they find themselves. Adding that, “We do not need to be rich to change the society, it is just a decision.”
She pleaded with women to continually empower and develop themselves, so that they would be able to impact wherever they are. “Your word will have substance, it will have impact on the people listening to you,” she said.
She also warned women not to stress themselves. “Medically, it is said that women are prone to different illnesses. Many of these ailments are tied to hormonal issues. When a woman is stressed, it affects the whole being. Whatever you are going through, believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We should allow pressure to come into our lives and bring out the best in us. A woman is wired to stretch, whatever pressure you are going through, you can handle it once you get the right counsel and you put your trust in God,” she enthused.