THE VOLUNTEER STRIDES OF A SAHARIAN (JANUARY 2020)

February 7, 2020,

Juba, South Sudan

Tell us about yourself

Oluwatimilehin Iroko; MSc. Facilities Management, BEng. Civil Engineering, PMP and a few other certificates lol. I have been with Sahara for four (4) Years. On interests, the truth is that they are ever evolving as I grow as a person, but the recurring component is the interest for betterment of lives.

What’s your motivation for volunteering?

About fourteen years ago, together with a humanitarian group affiliated with the UNHCR, we visited a camp called “Oru refugee camp” in Ogun state, Nigeria where I interacted with several Sierra-Leonean, Liberian and Sudanese refugees and displaced persons. That day I realized there was more to life and living than SELF. This, I believe is what volunteering means; SELF-lessness.

What contribution or achievement are you most proud?

There are a handful, but I remember in December 2015, a new charitable organization was starting out and the founder contacted me mainly to solicit financial support. Upon explanation of their motive, I decided that it was more than another debit alert. I committed time and multiple resources; then joined them on a field trip to the Ilogbo-Elegba part of Lagos where we rolled our sleeves and cleared the gutters, sanitized some living areas, provided food, food supplies, drinks and entertainment for the kids in that locality. The joy on the faces of those kids meant that we had given them something they perhaps weren’t familiar with; a happy Christmas, and that was so fulfilling.

What other organizations or causes do you support or volunteer for?

I have contributed to and supported/still support various groups on a handful of causes including; Orphaned Children, Poverty & Hunger, Education, Innovation & Infrastructure, and Environmental Pollution & sanitation.

Do you know about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? If yes, what do you think of them?

Yes, I do. I am of the opinion that regarding some of the SDG categories, thought leaders (including Sahara) are making laudable strides especially in areas such as Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Partnering for the goals (SDG 17). I believe SDG 17 is pivotal to the achievement of all other goals; if only corporations would collaborate more with enabling organizations like Sahara has displayed in the partnerships with UNDP. Of the 15-year target set for the SDGs, 4 years have elapsed; leaving ample time for everyone/organization to contribute in any means possible towards achieving acceptable thresholds for the goals.

What message would you like to share with others about volunteering?

There is much more to volunteering than donation of funds. It also includes the contribution of time, intellect, non-monetary resources, goodwill, professional expertise. It is about the selfless provision of whatever you are able to, whatever you have the capacity to support with. Never stop giving, giving, and giving because it is more blessed to give than to receive.

“Together we shall build a great nation and a reliable society for us now and for our unborn generations”.