Prevention is Better than Rehabilitation says 24 Year Old Adebimpe Adebara Founder of Piece of my Heart FoundationIdes Ofune 7th September 2020 0 COMMENTS
Adebimpe Adebara is the amazing 24 year old founder of the Piece of my Heart Foundation where she leads a team of volunteers in sensitizing children and teenagers on sex education in order to prevent abuse. She studied Computer Science at Yaba College of Technology Lagos Nigeria. She is a graphics designer and also a UI/UX designer. In 2018, Adebimpe became the Global youth ambassador at Their World, the Lagos state Youth Ambassador with the Ministry of Youth and social development in 2019 and Girl impact Ambassador with Vision Spring Initiative in 2020. She is also a fellow of SDG Youth Advocate by Brace Up the Young Initiative. She is currently doing her National Youth Service and the President of Gender CD in her location. Adebimpe talks about her motivation for setting up the foundation, what she aims to achieve with it and the changes she would love to see in the society.
Tell us about yourself and why you started the Foundation
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and the last child of my family. I lost my parents before I clocked 7 and so lived with my grandmother for a while. I also lived with different families where I was sexually molested by two of my cousins. By the time I was 7, my aunt (My mum’s immediate sister) adopted me. Since then, she has been my mother and indeed the best.
In 2017, I started getting flashes of my molestation. I sought for help with my trauma and then began to share my story which also greatly helped me. At first I was ashamed but not anymore. I didn’t want any child to have the same experience like I did and so I founded Piece of my heart Foundation. I worked with Youth empowerment and development initiatives where I educated adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health. I volunteered with so many other organizations that have the same vision as mine in other to learn. I became a trained child safety advocate by Christiana Faith foundation and Laura kid’s foundation U.S.A. For better understanding of Nonprofit management, I took a course at Lagos Business school (Leadership and Nonprofit Management) in 2020. I have spoken on so many platforms such as radio, T.V and events but I love to speak in rural communities because I believe they are most times left behind.
What do you aim to achieve with your organization?
Piece of my heart foundation is a registered Youth led non-governmental organization that creates safe spaces free from violence for children and adolescent providing them with knowledge and information about sex, sexual reproductive health & rights, and gender through sensitization, advocacy, empowerment and training. We aim to set up measures and structures to prevent sexual and gender violence affecting children and young people by normalizing sex conversation in homes. We also want to build a positive value system in young people to strengthen their ability to become responsible adults through training, research and leadership development. We increase awareness and enhance systems for the prevention of GBV, mitigating risk factor and strengthening community protection strategies. We aim to empower local communities for civic engagement, giving them access to resources and opportunities. Our vision is to see children transformed into great adults without any form of violation. In addition, we help adolescents make informed decisions about sex, relationships and values to avoid teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and risky behaviors.
Who would you say are your target audience? Children or parents/ Guardians?
I was a victim of child sexual abuse and I believe prevention is better than rehabilitation. Many Parents still shy away from the topic of sex education which makes it easy for abusers to have their way on children and adolescent. Some end up making wrong decisions about sex, relationships and values because of their ignorance. Our major beneficiaries are therefore children and adolescents, however we carry along other stakeholders such as their parents, guardians, churches and mosques for a holistic approach. We also train young people to become advocates in their respective communities. We love to reach out more to underserved communities as most of them still have harmful gender norms.
How can the society step in to help you achieve your objectives?
At Piece of My Heart Foundation, we believe that prevention is better than rehabilitation and that it takes a village to raise a child. With the alarming rate of child sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy e.t.c across the nation, we’ll appreciate if we can get support for partnerships and funding to reach out to more states across the country. We want to create a network bank of trained advocates across the country. This can only be achieved through training and sensitization which require funds.
How do you deal with this challenge of funding?
As with many other NGOs, funding has always been a major challenge and at Piece of My Heart Foundation, we have not been exempted. Well, I will say we’re able to overcome it but at the same time, it is still a major challenge. Whenever we want to embark on a project, we do our survey, the target we want to reach and the financial implications. Then we reach out to friends and families, and most times I have to use my personal savings to implement some projects if the funding doesn’t come from them. We understand the current the situation of the country.
During the course of your work, what challenges have you encountered?
I started without any prior knowledge of how an NGO structure should be. I started it as a result of my experience and burning desire to make a change in my society. The foundation was not registered. I was doing it alone and it was quite overwhelming. I kept learning until I got a trusted team on board which made the work better and more productive. I also have issues with getting a training venue to train advocates due to funds. This made our training limited to just using the online platforms. Another challenge is getting access to some communities. While some communities are very cooperative and supportive, some aren’t. Most people prefer to fund crises management interventions rather than prevention interventions.
Finally, what would you want to see change in the society?
The change I desire in my community is to see a world free from violence. Where children don’t have to recover from sexual molestation. A world where conversations about sex education are normalized and children transform into adults with the ability to make informed decisions. I desire that our government domesticate IAWA that criminalizes sexual abuse and violence against children.
You can connect with Piece of my Heart Foundation through the following channels:
Facebook & Instagram: @pieceofmyheartng
This is wishing Adebimbe and her foundation the very best in their endeavors
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com