Princess Bukola Fasuyi is the president and founder of Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, a multi-faceted nongovernmental organisation that focuses on human rights issues, charity and promotion of the arts.
The latest effort of the outfit, she says, is the promotion of a Yoruba fabric called adire under a codename “Adire Cultural Carnival.”
In all her endeavours, Fasuyi has always been inspired by world acclaimed talents diligently utilised by Opral Winfrey, the American media proprietor, talk show hostess, actress, producer and philanthropist.
In tow, she has overtime embarked on a mission to take the highly appreciated fabric to an entirely different level through exhibitions and carnivals. Through a dint of hard work, she finds favour with people all over the continent of Africa and as far as Europe, America, Canada and Asia.
Notable among all her fashion fabrics is the adire, which she flaunts passionately. She says that the Foundation also hopes to empower up to 20 million Nigerian women and youths through its various activities.
Already, a lot of people in the country, both the privileged and the less-privileged, have been empowered through direct and indirect job opportunities created by the Foundation through its various promotion and marketing of the adire fabric.
According to her, the foundation is, however, seeking support and partnership from culture-loving people, corporate organisations, Federal and state governments as well as parastatals towards ensuring that this dream becomes a reality.
Princess Fasuyi adds that the vision of the Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation is to eradicate laziness, poverty, crime and unemployment from our society and to also touch the lives of the less-privileged people in Nigeria and Africa through empowerment in order to ensure that the lessprivileged become useful to themselves, their families, state and the country at large.
She notes that this is the opportune time to take Nigerian fashion to the global platform and inevitably make the country a home for all fashion lovers. The Foundation has been recognised and endorsed by the National Council for Arts and Culture as well as the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture.
The two organisations have vowed to collaborate and partner with the Foundation’s activities and future endeavours. Fasuyi also expresses delight that the fashion industry has continued to grow by the day with more and more people coming into adire production and bringing in various innovations.
On some of the challenges confronting her as an entrepreneur, she says that the cost of doing business in Nigeria has discouraged a lot of entrepreneurs. She says, “First, Financial Cost: the startup cost and operating cost are on the high side. This is largely due to lack of the availability of basic infrastructure, dependence on generators to provide power for operation and high accommodation prices. They are all adding to the cost.
“Apart from that, there is near absence of affordable credit for startup business or expansion of an existing business. Provision of venture capital by financial institutions for a startup is nearly absent. This has affected both the entrepreneur and consumer from all sides, thereby leaving many businesses to go into extinction.”
According to her, successes recorded by government intervention in some key industries may be eroded if access to raw materials is not guaranteed. She states that this means that consumers may pay more for even locally produced goods, if the ugly trend is not checked.
On how she has been able to combine her career with taking care of the home front, she says, “I believe being a career woman should not be an excuse for not being dedicated to your job. There must be a balance between the two and that is the home front and the job.
“As a woman, I never believe in using my children or my home front as an excuse to the detriment of my business. I’m so passionate about my job and I strongly believe that professionalism and the family should be evenly balanced. My advice to young girls, too, is that no matter what their career is, they should balance it with the home front. The children will grow up; you have your own life. Take care of them; see to it that they emulate good morals of upbringing.” she says.
Princess Fasuyi also advises the youths to be focused and hardworking regardless of the challenges of life. “The youth should first of all embrace their creator, who is God. Without the help of God, there is rarely anything we can achieve in life.
As a woman, I never believe in using my children or my home front as an excuse to the detriment of my business. I’m so passionate about my job and I strongly believe that professionalism and the family should be evenly balanced
Apart from that, they should have a role model who they should emulate and look up to. I was inspired by Opral winfrey of the United State of America.”
“Opral Winfrey was from a humble background, and if she can rise to an enviable level to become one of the riches women in the world, that is commendable. Young people should also imbibe the reading culture and build themselves academically. These were some of the things that helped me when growing up till date,” she says.
The fashion Icon argues that youth unemployment causes frustration, dejection, desperation and dependency on family members and friends, who also have their own problems to contend with.
She further says that youth unemployment usually frustrates and traumatises parents, whose children turn to crime as a result, noting that the major cause of joblessness among these vibrant youth has been identified as being the lack of skills to back up what they learn from institutions of learning.
Regretting the state of education in Nigeria, she says that the government must wake up to their responsibility and do the needful.
“There is anger and agitation all over the country. Once the government recognises that, I’m sure that things will normalise. Nigeria is a great country, “she says.