A lot of people go through one trial or the other, for some, it is struggling to be a part of and settle into the environment or society they live in.
A young man decided he would find a way to unite as many people as he could within his community and today, he shares with us all about what he and his team are doing to make that Sparkle glow in the lives of people of LAOIS.
ISN: Tell us about yourself; give a brief story about your life.
My name is Bolaji Adeyanju. I am the chairperson of Laois African Support Group. I was born and raised in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. I studied Diploma in Banking and Finance and then a degree in Economics at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Edo State- Nigeria; Computer Applications from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and then went to Dublin Business School, Ireland and have a Professional Diploma in Financial Advice (QFA). I presently work with an esteemed bank in Ireland.
ISN: What can you tell us about your organisation LAOIS AFRICAN support? What is it all about and what got you into creating this organisation?
We are an integration and inclusion group. We facilitate programmes that help bring different communities together in the hope of promoting and respecting the cultural difference amongst communities. We work with various Organisation and the community in facilitating programmes; we work with the Irish aid, Department of Justice. We work with Direct provision Centres. There are about 5 DPC centres across Laois with people from different countries. We have an amazing team and volunteers who make tasks run smoothly and they are all well appreciated for their time and effort.
ISN: Where are you located and who can gain from LAOIS Africa Support?
We are located in Ireland. At the County of Laois. Most of our work is based in Laois but this year 2020, we hope to expand our programmes to various communities across Ireland.
ISN: What sort of awareness is your organisation providing, and how are your spreading/sharing your message? What have you done within the community to let them know more about what you do?
Our mission is to organise event/programmes that bring communities together. We organised the first Africa Day in Laois and we are heading into our 3rd year. We have family events, and we hold youth programmes. We work with the educational boards in Laois to provide various training for people living in Direct Provision Centres. We have monthly quiz nights with the centres, it provides an opportunity for them to socialise with the locals in the community.
Mental Health issues are a big problem in these centres due to loneliness so what we try to do is to give them a listening ear and point them in the right direction. We raise awareness through social media, newspaper outlets and radio.
ISN: What else can you tell us about LAOIS that we won’t find online and can you explain better to readers what they can gain or achieve from joining your group?
There is a misunderstanding about the Name. Most people tend to think that we work mostly with the African community, which is not true at all. We work closely with the Laois County Council and Laois Sports Partnership in coming up with inclusion programmes for schools, colleges, minority groups, youth libraries, and so on. Due to this, there is a lot we can help and support both children and adult with.
ISN: If there was one thing you could change in our society today, what would it be?
It would be to help people understand that we can achieve greater things if only we can work together as a community. The doors of opportunities are endless.
ISN: What activities do you have scheduled for the year 2020?
We have a lot planned and in the past month, so many doors and opportunities have been opening for us. We are very excited about 2020. We are able to achieve this because of our awesome volunteers and team members. Our activities for the year will be found on our website.
ISN: Do you have links and websites readers could follow to know more about what you do or to follow you?