‘I BELIEVE IN AFRICA’- KINGA IGNASIAK
It is not every day that you find a non-Nigerian working so selflessly and for a charity cause, wearing a white dress and acting all Nigerian you could tell that this is one Oyinbo who has naturalized in Nigeria. Kinga Ignasiak is a European lady and founder of The Kinga Charity Foundation based in Akoka Yaba. She is very passionate about children from her demeanor at the Make Music Lagos Event where WakeUpAfrica spotted her working tirelessly to ensure that the FOD (Footprints of David) gang that she came with were well taken care of and also give their best performance to the excited crowd. We got closer to have a brief chat with her and got to know more about this lady who has such passion for Nigerian children especially the ones on the streets, and is doing everything she can to educate and empower them…..
Let’s meet you
Thank you. My name is Kinga, I have a charity foundation in Nigeria, I am also representing FOD gang, our children are part of the FOD gang, and we have about 80 children at the moment. It’s a big movement founded by Seun Awobayo, these are street children from Ilaje. We major on drumming, but they are not only have drummers, they are also talented dancers and musicians. We are really happy to be a part of Make Music Lagos because it is a good initiative. I thank God for the gift of music because it brings people together. Music is for everyone irrespective of gender, colour, status, education background etc. When it comes to music we are one, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from.
Taking care of challenged or destitute children is very hard. How do you cope?
That is the amazing thing but we are well, God is great, we are not begging that is most important. We have 80 children in the schools, another 80 in the theatre, which is 160 children in total. About 30 of them live with Seun the director, he has a big heart I would say, because it’s not everyone that would take someone from the streets and educate him. I would say we have challenges but thank God we always strive. We are hardworking, the children are hardworking. We get opportunities to perform, so we are raising funds all over. We are inviting you to our event it’s holding on 22nd, so it will give you an opportunity to see what we are really doing.
Beyond music, how else do you work on the children to make sure they improve in other areas of their lives?
We are keeping close tabs on their educational activities. We send them to schools in various local governments and private schools to expose them to different environments, mix up with other kids and empower them, because empowering them is key. You know you can’t form a child, children learn by what they see, so we take them out to experience the real world and learn as well. We protect them but at same time give them multiple orientations so to enable then fit perfectly into the society whenever they need to. I believe that with a combination of these components, a child can grow to be a better person and add value to the society. These boys you see here, the FOD gang, they are now 8 in number, they are the ones now taking care of the smaller members. That is why the director is not here, because he can trust and know that they would do the right thing and take care of themselves. The leader, he joined us at the age of 4 and has been with us till now.
If you were not working with these children, what other vocation would you have chosen?
Wow, you know I started too many other things. I studied Business Administration and then I changed it to Sociology, because I knew that what I was doing then was not the right thing. One of the reasons why I came to Nigeria, is not because Nigeria is poor or whatever. I believe in Africa, I believe it has great potentials. I don’t want people to come to Europe and be disgraced, because that is what is happening. I came to Nigeria and I was welcomed, I would wish that my people would do the same to you people. But because our mentality is based on what we know about Nigeria. The picture of Nigeria in the West is too bad, I decided that we have to change it. Because what is presented over there is very different from what you see when you come here. I can’t ask my people to come here, but we can change the mentality of our young people from running away to Europe, to staying here and making things better. These young ones will be leaders tomorrow so what we teach them today really matters. Instead of encouraging them to go and live in other countries, they should only travel for vacations and stay back to empower their own country. Let me not generalize but the way they are treated in other countries when they go to work for others is not good, we need to get a clear picture that we are one. There is no difference between us, through music we can be one and we are.
Photo Credit- WakeUpAfrica360