Make an impact wherever you find yourself – Corps member, Juliet
Juliet Chinemerem Ugwu a corps member currently serves in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) Geology & Mining graduate spoke with YOUTHVILLE on her passion and her project for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Yimitu community in the Federal Capital Territory. Text by Eseohe Ebhota @sleek_diva88 & Olayemi John-Mensah hat propelled your desire to doing a project for IDPs?
I am someone that has a passion for helping the less-privileged and people that can’t afford some things. So when I started serving in Abuja, I told myself I was going to touch lives during my one year youth service. I did my best by identifying a place that has certain needs.
After moving around, I discovered that their major need is water. A 25 litre jerry can is sold for N30.00 which is quite expensive for them. How many litres do you expect a nursing mother to buy? So because of that, I had to make the effort to provide water for
Wthem. Did you get cooperation from the community head and other stakeholders? Yes, I did. The villagers are very accommodating. They gave the IDPs where to stay and even allowed them to farm. I went straight to the chief, visited the IDP chairman and went round the camp with him and I also got in touch with the women leader. They all gave me their support.
How did you get sponsors for this project?
I wrote proposals to different organizations, philanthropists, and corporate organizations to solicit for support. The Society for Family Health (SFH), Centre for Right to Health (CRH), and CHI Nigeria (a community health initiative) partnered with me to achieve my goal.
What were the challenges you had during the project duration?
I faced a lot of challenges. Sometimes I had to trek, other times I had to beg and even cry when I thought of their plight. At times, I would even tell God that I was tired but He would always give me the reassurance to move on. Then my mentors too encouraged me, they may not be the ones to give me money but they always told me to continue that I would make it.
What are your plans after your service year?
My first plan is to go back to school for my masters’ programme. While I work, I would say this project is a start because I have the passion to support the less-privileged. For instance during my secondary school days, I took care of the blind. I would have loved to replicate this project in other IDPs places with more support; I may start in other places and then go back to school and get a job.
Would you wish other youth and corps members emulate you?
Yes I do. So I’m advising them that whenever you find yourself in any place, don’t be scared. Ensure you have the time to think about other people near you and how you can help them. My advice is that try to make an impact wherever you find yourself. Do something for the people, don’t just come and leave. I also encourage my fellow corps members to reach out to community members where they serve. In some of those places, they do not have water, light or health centres, corps members should come out and help.
Corps member Juliet Ugwu testing her borehole project shortly before it was commissioned at Yimitu community in FCT recently