A United States-based Nigerian, Olanrewaju James Asehinde has given Makogi Community in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State, a new look especially at night with the provision of solar street lights at strategic locations.
Asehinde, who hails from Kogi State and left shores of the country at the age of 18 years, said the kind gesture was to celebrate his 40th birthday and to also inspire a philanthropic lifestyle among Nigerians.
The philanthropist, a Nuclear Fuel Manager at Ameen Missouri in the US, said the project was born out of his desire to boost socio-economic activities in the community and to ensure that people could still find their way home and stay vigilant at night.
Apart from the solar street lights project, hundreds of indigent persons in the community have also been pencilled down to benefit from the donation of food items.
The America-based Nigerian disclosed that his only connection with the community, is her mother who sited her evangelical ministry in the area, adding that he only visited the community once.
He stated that his 40th birthday is on June 10, adding that it means a lot to him, due to what he had gone through in life, how God spared his life on different occasions, guided and protected him while abroad without his parents. He said all these were what motivated him to celebrate his existence in a special way by giving glory to God and giving back to the society.
Asehinde said he could afford to celebrate his birthday in any five-star hotel with family and friends, no matter the cost, but decided to give back to society on the occasion and also to celebrate with the indigent, in order to make a statement by making people remember his date of birth as a day of blessing.
The philanthropist disclosed that all the different projects initiated to celebrate his birthday cost him up to $20,000 and it is going to continue annually. He hinted that he was already discussing with his family on instituting a foundation for the purpose of giving back to the society.
On why Nigerians should imbibe a philanthropic lifestyle, he said everything could not be left in the hands of the government alone, adding that donating money or being a part of a philanthropic initiative can improve the quality of life and trigger the reward centre of the brain, helping individuals feel happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled.
Asehinde stated that he reckoned that lending a helping hand to further better society is similar to giving hope to those who need it and it would be a crime not to offer any form of assistance, especially when he lives by the saying that whoever one has the power to offer assistance to, the person is one’s companion.
He urged Nigerians to pay more attention to the act of giving as this will help address the challenges of poverty and create opportunities for the marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.
“As part of the human family, we each have to cultivate the habit of giving to others, no matter how small. You don’t have to be a millionaire before you can help other people. You can always help within your capacity. The streets are littered with people that need help.
“Give, no matter how small it is. People will appreciate it. Even your widow’s mite will bring succour to someone; wipe away tears and put smiles on faces. What you are giving might seem little to you, but the receiver might cherish it more than you expected. People who need help want to be assisted, no matter how meagre what you are giving them.
“One of the benefits of philanthropy is that it can catalyse others to be generous too. Seeing their peers, relatives and friends giving can inspire them to do the same. Philanthropy has a ripple effect, and one act of giving can trigger many more. Sharing our experiences of giving and the impact it has had can motivate others to get involved too,” he said.