Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, returned to Nigeria on Sunday over two years after she was forced to resign over controversies surrounding her participation in the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC scheme.
Adeosun has left Nigeria since her resignation. But she was in Lagos for the inauguration of an initiative targeted at orphans, vulnerable children and less privileged people, DashMe Store, an online component of the Dashme Foundation on Sunday.
DashMe Foundation, aims to change the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children, youths and victims of domestic violence in West Africa by funding indigenous organisations that work with them.
Dashme Store is also an online thrift to raise money for orphanages and other needy people; it is about celebrating the art of giving.
The initiative was inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who commended the former minister over the initiative.
The vice president said that Adeosun had the capacity for new ideas and innovation and praised her tenacity in seeing them through.
“But most of all her commitment to the notion that all service to man is actually service to God; that we owe the people, especially the poor and underprivileged not just empathy but concrete and creative provision to enable them live their best lives.
“This is why as a minister, she prioritised the social investment programme when for the first time we voted almost N500 billion of our annual budget to welfare programmes for the poor.
“I am therefore really not surprised that she has decided to use some of her enormous talent and influence to establish an organisation that raises funds and resources for indigenous grassroots charities working with orphaned and vulnerable children, disadvantaged youths and victims of domestic violence.
“The DashMe Foundation is in every sense, who Kemi Adeosun really is.’’
He said that Adeosun and her team brought the new notion of social enterprise to the project.
According to him, philanthropy runs with the discipline, attention to detail and financial prudence of a successful business.
Osinbajo said that an important component of the DashMe Foundation was the DashMe Store.
“This is just one of the creative ways through which the foundation will mobilises funds for charity.
“ The idea of this thrift-for-charity store is brilliant and the first of its kind in Nigeria.
“It is a unique model which does not just give to the needy in the conventional way of merely handing out donations.
“It is an innovative and structured way of aggregating donations to earn income to transform the lives of the vulnerable and needy while creating jobs in the process.’’
According to him, the process ensures that donations get to the hard-to-access vulnerable people via the grassroots charities the foundation supports.
He said he was particularly impressed with the online DashMe Store.
“It is very user-friendly and easy to navigate; I am must say that your focus on funding grassroots charities is so crucial.
“Having campaigned with you on behalf of our party, the APC all around Ogun and in every part of Nigeria, it is clear that you can’t reach Nigeria and Nigerians if you don’t have a plan for the grassroots.
`It is clear to me that the ultimate objective of this foundation is not to be an alms giver but a powerful institution for the creation of wealth and opportunity to the less-privileged today.
“I am glad that the poor and disadvantaged now have one of the smartest, most eloquent and tenacious spokespersons and activists – Adeosun,’’ he said.
The vice president expressed optimism that the DashMe foundation would be a game changer in philanthropy and social enterprise in Nigeria.
Earlier, Adeosun said that there were 17.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Nigeria.
She said that the tradition that supported such children, the extended family had been abandoned with urbanisation.
The former minister said the DashMe Store was geared at raising as much funds as possible for orphanages, children’s homes, profiling them and sending funds to them.
She said that for a charity to be sustainable, it would have lots of people giving small amount over time.
According to her, a technology that will enable orphanages to upload their needs is underway.
Osinbajo afterwards paid a courtesy visit to the Oniru of Iru Kingdom, Lagos State, Oba Abdulwasiu Lawal, who is celebrating his coronation anniversary.