Yolanda N. Ge­orge-david, it’s all about a life of self­less ser­vice to hu­man­ity

Business Day (Nigeria) - - LEADING WOMAN - KEMI AJUMOBI

HMore about Aunt Landa er aca­demic so­journ through the likes of Har vard Med­i­cal School and Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh, to men­tion a few; gave birth to her ca­reer as a prac­tic­ing Fe­male Fer­til­ity Spe­cial­ist cum Clin­i­cal and Re­la­tional Psy­chol­o­gist with a con­cen­tra­tion in Child Devel­op­ment. Her last few years have how­ever found her work­ing with var­i­ous schools and com­mu­ni­ties, men­tor­ing and coach­ing pro­fes­sion­als, non-pro­fes­sion­als and fam­i­lies across the globe. With mul­ti­ple Awards both lo­cal and In­ter­na­tional un­der her wings, Dr Yolanda N. Ge­orge- David’s pro­fi­ciency as a PRA- Per­son­al­ity Re­brand­ing Agent leaves no room for ques­tion­ing.

Where it all started

Grow­ing up as com­pared to my cir­cum­stances was a bless­ing, it was a mir­a­cle. I was blessed with great sup­port sys­tem, a very pleas­ant fam­ily, and I was pro­tected. All I needed to do was just to lis­ten to my par­ents’ in­struc­tions, and the truth is my fa­ther’s de­ci­sion to get all those text­books, cre­at­ing this path­way, and lay­ing the fun­da­men­tals of go­ing through all of the jour­neys was a bless­ing to me. I never knew what it meant not to have your fees paid or not to have new uni­forms or books. My needs were never my wor­ries, and it’s my hope that they are never the wor­ries of any child.

Have you al­ways wanted to be a med­i­cal doc­tor?

Funny enough, again, my folks. I ac­tu­ally wanted to be a lawyer. The whole idea, the rea­son I wanted to be a lawyer was be­cause, as a child, pre-teen, I was in­ten­tional and wor­ried about the amount of in­jus­tice that I had seen and I wanted to de­fend the rights of peo­ple. Now, my par­ents, my mum be­ing a Child Psy­chol­o­gist, had said out rightly, I could not even dig an ar­gu­ment with my sib­lings. I’m grate­ful for my pri­mary res­i­dence, Fe­male Fer­til­ity Medicine, which has al­lowed me un­der­stand and help as many as pos­si­ble, whether as a doc­tor or with my sta­tus as Aunt Landa, my knowl­edge of Medicine has helped me save thou­sands of lives. So I’m grate­ful I lis­tened to my par­ents and I be­came a Doc­tor.

Aunt landa bethel foun­da­tion The thing about the Aunt Landa Foun­da­tion is, be­fore it be­came an of­fi­cial foun­da­tion here in Africa, I was just vis­it­ing for a bit, and my late friend said “all the work that you do with all these girls that were raped in Bag­dad, I re­ally think you need to speak to some of these teenagers in Africa, they re­ally need it”, that’s when I de­cided, apart from my out­reaches for the wi­d­ows and ev­ery­thing I’ve been do­ing, to dig my feet in the sea of sex­ual abuse in Africa or ending up hav­ing to work with great peo­ple like Abim­bola Fashola, Alibaba and all of these peo­ple, Lepa­cious Bose, Tim God­frey, Lolo. How­ever, at the very be­gin­ning, I was just go­ing to do a con­fer­ence, so I went on air and said ‘if you’ve been sex­u­ally abused meet me, I will be there (at) my usual cater­ing for my or­phan kids, meet me there. I was ex­pect­ing two or three girls to show up, but we had 746 girls show up. That then be­came our first of­fi­cial Aunt Landa Bethel Foun­da­tion meet­ing. It was girls who had just been sex­u­ally abused, girls who were still stuck in their abuse and could not leave. Now, the truth is, I can’t say I sat down and planned to have this mas­sive foun­da­tion, I just wanted to cre­ate a re­lief mech­a­nism to help just one per­son. I just had to run af­ter it and grow with it as the needs kept com­ing.

Aunt Landa mar­ket square Christ­mas of 2016, I reached out to Alibaba, and said to him “I get that we’re do­ing all of this awe­some work within our walls, and I get that it’s good enough, but I feel that we need to reach out to more peo­ple, and I don’t want it to be de­hu­man­iz­ing to the re­ceiver be­cause, at that time, the way char­ity looked was de­hu­man­iz­ing to the re­ceiver”. Alibaba asked me how I planned to do that, and I said to him “I wish we could have some­thing like a tra­di­tional African mar­ket place where we had every­body come in, they buy stuff, and they select what they want, we can then say to them, “you don’t have to pay, you can go. It’s been paid by Love” and it took Alibaba less than thirty sec­onds to agree with it, even though he was wor­ried that that was me com­ing up with an­other idea to cre­ate more debt. Later, Alibaba did a sketch of a cur­rency, and in his words, “that’s the Aunt Landa cur­rency”. Every­body com­ing into the mar­ket square would re­ceive the said cur­rency, so the chil­dren get to choose, they don’t have to know who Aunt Landa is, they come in, shop for free and pay with this cur­rency. It’s ac­tu­ally free, and Ka­boom, at that point, I was so ex­cited that I could not even con­tain my­self.

Do you see your­self as a hu­man rights ac­tivist?

No, I do not. Al­though I have all these awards that call me that, my po­si­tion at the foun­da­tion was ac­tu­ally the Ser­vant-in-charge, I know I was cre­ated to cre­ate re­lief. I see my­self as re­lief mer­chant; I sell hap­pi­ness for a liv­ing. Peo­ple come to me with their pain and by God’s grace, they leave happy. So, I don’t see my­self as a hu­man rights ac­tivist, I’m just a re­lief mer­chant.

What is the great­est les­son life has taught you?

For me, my great­est les­son is the fact that work­ing as a re­lief mer­chant, I have been to too many buri­als, I have walked with peo­ple through their dark­est mo­ments, and one of those times, I was re­ally ill and I could barely stand, I no­ticed that ev­ery tomb stone had a dash, so you see who­ever was born in 1919-1954, that dash was there.

As I stared at that dash, it hit me that all I have done with my life, that’s all that is go­ing to be in the dash. Even­tu­ally we’ll all end there, but what choices are we go­ing to make?

How do you bal­ance work and fam­ily?

I have been blessed with a king who un­der­stands that this is who I am and what I live for and fam­ily has been very sup­port­ive but again, ev­ery­thing is about pri­or­ity. For me, no mat­ter how busy some­one is, what mat­ters, mat­ters. The way I bal­ance it is that my fam­ily is ev­ery­thing. And be­cause of the work I do, whether as a Doc­tor or as a re­lief mer­chant at Aunt Landa, I make sure that I some­times del­e­gate, but I never put my fam­ily sec­ond.

What would you want ev­ery girl, lady, mother to know?

I want ev­ery girl, woman, mother and wife, to know that you are ca­pa­ble, and you are enough. Your dreams are valid, you can be any­thing.

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