Our people say:
Yoruba: A ki i fi ojuboro gba omo lowo ekuro.
English: One does not easily or casually take a child from the palm-nut. - Yoruba proverb.
Why there's hope for Nigeria, II:
Nneoma Ike-Njoku is a vibrant, young Nigerian student who has already started working on an idea which she got in her teens. I interviewed her two weeks ago before she graduated from secondary school and she was very excited for word to go out about her project, The FreeFun Initiative. Now, she's a 5-day old graduate from secondary school; here's more about her and her project:
1. Tell us who you are and your background.
- I'm Nneoma Ike-Njoku, 17 year old CEO of FreeFun Initiative. I'm the second child in a family of six children and I’m graduating next week from Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja.
2. What’s the FreeFun Initiative?
- The FreeFun Initiative is an organization focused on linking talented young people in high schools with internship opportunities at renowned businesses and organizations for free. I've had the idea for sometime before creating my website in June this year. With FreeFun, young people can have fun while 'amp-ing' up their CVs and gathering experiences for college applications and thereafter! We are located at www.freefuninitiative.yolasite.com
3. This project is quite unique and timely. Where did such a brilliant idea come from?
- The inspiration for my business came after I was rejected from my first choice college. While comparing my application with the applications of those who were accepted, I found a crucial difference- a lot of them had impressive and varied internship and extracurricular experiences, and more opportunities than are available to high school students in Nigeria and Africa.
4. FreeFun is still in infancy. So, what are your goals for the project?
- I intend to get a hundred businesses registered with the FreeFun Initiative by December, and to extend our scope to Africa by June next year.
5. Do you intend to eventually extend the audience of the Initiative beyond the shores of Nigeria and to college and university students?
- Yes! We’re not limiting ourselves to secondary school students or to Nigeria only. Right now our main focus is on getting the business on its feet. One of our goals is to enter into other African countries within a year. Primarily, we target talented young people who are passionate about exploring their career options.
6. Being this young and with such a young audience, how are you funding this project?
- Luckily, the nature of the project means that it requires little financial input.
7. What can Nigerians do to participate or support you?
- I would like for young people to go on our website and register and for as many businesses as possible in Nigeria to register with the Initiative.
8. What’s your publicity strategy?
- I intend to get as much publicity as possible, in order to encourage more young people to join, and bring in as many businesses as I can. Blogs like yours are helping me achieve this. I am also entering my business ideas for a number of competitions, but primarily to get the word out there. From July, (after my graduation), I will be visiting high schools throughout Abuja with a few friends to talk about the initiative and encourage students to join. I've also began to contact a few businesses, also within Abuja. If we're able to meet the ''100 Businesses'' mark by December, we'll have a platform to reach other businesses and high schools in Africa by next year. Hopefully, the world won't be far behind! Accounts on online network platforms are also in the works.
9. What’s the reaction from your family and friends?
- My parents are really excited. Our family's piggery in Nassarawa state is already registered with FreeFun! My brother is presently my PR person. He's going to New York University in Abu Dhabi and is telling all his friends about FreeFun, getting them to join and participate.
10. What are your favorite movie, song, musician, book?
- Oh my God, everyone HAS to read Maggie O'Farrell's incredible novel, After You'd Gone. It's a beautiful, incredible book. I'm totally in love with Bruno Mars, but my favorite song has to be John Legend's ''Best You Ever Had''. I recently watched Think like a Man, it is cool.
11. Do you have any mentors?
- Oprah is a real inspiration to me, I love how she can take something she truly cares about and translate that into something that everyone can relate to. I also admire her strong business sense.
12. Tell us something fascinating or unusual or unique about yourself.
To be part of this project or to register your business visit www.freefuninitiative.yolasite.com.
- I speak English, read Spanish and write French, and I hold certificates in all three of them. I also bear an uncanny resemblance to Kelly Rowland, and eat more coffee flavored ice-cream than anyone I know!
As naked as beings come,