Make a Difference – by Omoyemi

Make a Difference Fashion and charities are inextricably linked world over and one can not help but wonder why? Maybe we can put it down to fashion being the easiest tool people can use to show their ‘philanthropic’ side? I recently discovered that there was more to charities than just sending the occasional obligatory feel good money or things.

It was Christmas season 2009, just another Christmas in my household, a time for sober reflections, gratitude to God, and a time to finalise all activities on my to do list for 2009. Paramount on my list of religious end of year activities was decluttering my wardrobe and disposing of the outcome to whatever charity that was available; a process that has become even much easier these days since you never have to see or deal with the people that benefit directly from the charity…. just drop off clutter at designated places, and phew!! There goes my good deed for 2009 and the Christmas season!

However, Christmas 2009 ended up being different somehow, as I made up a fresh list of items that my brain had convinced me I needed for my wardrobe, when it hit me…. I am so wrapped up in my little world and nothing else matters outside this world I have created for myself – every other thing takes a back seat if it is not to do with my family or my work. You must understand though that being so wrapped up in my work actually contradicts my stand as a fashion consulting pioneer in the Nigerian Fashion Industry. My vision has always been to leave a legacy that goes beyond me, and I have a strong desire to fulfil that higher purpose of making a difference in the Nigerian Fashion Industry.

Genesis House proved to be a fantastic starting point. After all, I had sat there silent time and time again in This Present House, watching countless videos about the women of Genesis House, and had never lifted a finger, except to donate some money obligatorily in the offering basket. My decision to go into the house and pamper the women for a day was the right step towards the calling I intend to see through. The strategy was not to make this about me, because that would have been the easiest thing to do – create media frenzy about giving and score some cheap publicity for my brand. Instead, I called a couple of friends in the industry photographer – Moussa Moussa and make up artist – Bimpe Ogunmakin – with the mission to go and spend a day with the ladies, treat them to a make over session as best as we could with clothes, make up and hair styling, and a ‘before and after’ photo shoot just to make them feel good, beautiful and loved.

Guess what?

It turned out to be one of the most fulfilling days of my life and it helped me ascend to a higher place of thinking – it was the kind of reminder we all need once in a while. That the clothes we wear, the shoes we wear and how we look don’t define who we are. We are defined by a greater purpose, and mine is to make a difference everywhere I go, and to touch lives, using fashion as a tool. At Genesis House, we shared stories, ate lunch together, settled differences, took photos together, even dressed a couple of them up for a wedding they were attending on the day, and then later dropped them off at the wedding. There are images I would love to share with you, but I promised the girls the photos would never be used for anything else because they were simply gifts for them.

The lessons learned?

That behind every charity, there are actual people, and that it goes a longer way to actually connect with them and be a part of their world – to understand that we are not that special after all, we don’t choose what families we are born into, but it’s the special grace of God that keeps us all (including those lovely women of Genesis House). And for that, we are all truly blessed!

When we walk into the ‘Eden’ auction on April 18th, some of us will emerge one bag richer, and some of us, one bag poorer. But let’s all remember Genesis House – a Freedom Foundation initiative that can only survive on the contributions of you and I. And let’s not see it just as a means of disposing of clutter in our lives, but as a step towards actually enhancing the quality of other people’s lives, and giving them hope above all… that they are beautiful women just like you and I.

Omoyemi Akerele is the Fashion Editor of Flair Magazine. This piece was taken from, a one-stop destination for all things fashion!

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  1. Dokpee

    Beautiful piece Mrs. Akerele…..used too see you as all fashion…..u have a good heart after all…I’d follow ur footsteps!!

    Apr 08, 2010 @ 2:40 pm