Bukola Afolabi Ogunyeye is the Executive Director and Founder of Morna International Children’s Foundation (MICF). She studied Marketing at the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, Ogun State. She also has a Master’s degree from the University Of Calabar. A Child’s Rights activist, and member of National Children’s Advocacy Centre Huntsville, USA, she was sexually abused at the age of seven by a family friend, but she only broke silence after 25 years. Bukola shares with us her life experiences, tale of survival and the inspiration behind her initiative.
I was sexually abused at age seven. I remember vividly how a man
(known to my family), who couldn’t have been less than 40 years called
me into his office, made me sit on his laps and he fingered me. I was
so scared and ashamed. I remember asking him to let me go. Then he
stood, walked towards the door to his office and told me he would shut
the door and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I stood there very
afraid, but he eventually let me go. I never told anyone what he tried
to do to me. I remember it took me about 25 years before I could talk
about it to a very close friend
when penetration happened that we say a child has been sexually
abused. Nobody has the right to touch a child’s private parts. They
are private to a child. I also started touching myself afterwards into
adulthood. It was later I discovered that the childhood experience was
responsible for it.
All about me
I am Bukola Afolabi Ogunyeye, the Executive Director and Founder of
(MICF). I am a native of Ibonwon in Eredo local government area of
Lagos State. I’m a businesswoman, an author and was formerly a banker.
I also have a passion for women issues, which has been there since my
childhood. It’s so obvious that women are being maligned in this part
of the world; hence I am an advocate of gender equality. My hobbies
are reading and listening to music. My best food is rice and plantain.
Inspiration behind Morna International Children’s Foundation
I have always wanted to work with children, orphans and destitute. I
never knew I would start, when I did, as I thought I would wait till I
was well advanced in age. But as fate would have it, I started earlier
than planned. I believe for a better Nigeria and the world at large,
we must focus on children. My vision is to build a world, where
children are respected and protected from any form of abuse.
Project and activities
Two years ago, Morna International Children’s Foundation (MICF) got
its certificate of incorporation from Corporate Affairs Commission of
Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the past two years, we have reached
out to over 60 nursery, primary and secondary schools within and
outside our community. We have also attended numerous P.T.A meetings,
where we talked to parents on prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
We take our campaigns to churches, as well as Arabic schools and are
actively engrossed in rallies to further spread our message on child
abuse. We also tell children about their rights. We empower them with
the knowledge of their fundamental human rights. We have participated
in international programmes, such as International Day of the
girl-child, 19 days of Activism towards World Day for prevention of
Child Abuse. The Child Abuse awareness month, which is April, has
taken us to the market community for our campaign.
War against Child Abuse
This is a project, which we just want to start. We want to start a
quarterly aggressive campaign against Child Abuse in our community,
beyond which we will spread across every state in Nigeria.
Never felt like giving up
I have never felt like giving up. This is because, when I set out to
do something, I keep going, no matter what. I hardly get discouraged
over anything; talk less of something I have a passion for. Whatever I
get discouraged at, there is most likely no other way out of such a
thing. I can never give up on this cause. However, I make sure I do
away with negative people, who try to discourage me directly or
This question is very difficult for me to answer because this work is
more about giving and not expecting any form of reward. I mean that
you are not focused on reward, but the work. However, I can say that
my reward comes in the form of encouragement and positive words. I
also receive phone calls from people I don’t know, thanking me
tremendously for the campaigns we do in schools, and rallies. In other
words, whenever I get feedback, most especially from people I don’t
know or people that recognise me from events, where I spoke and I hear
their remarks, I am always encouraged. These kinds of reactions are
priceless to me. These are what I consider my reward.
Lack of funds and passionate people
Lack of fund is a major challenge I am facing in this work. It can
exterminate one’s vision, no matter how passionate you are about your
cause. NGOs are not intended for profit making, yet you must spend
money on programmes and you also pay volunteers some stipend. You pay
for office space and bills attached. You pay for running costs. You
just can’t do without money.
Another challenge I am facing is getting passionate people, who are
ready to work without money as their focus. We know we must pay our
staff and volunteers, but that should not be their motivation.
My advice to anyone wanting to go into any form of business or
humanitarian work is that they should follow their passion vigorously
and be determined to succeed and add value. Determination is very
crucial in whatever one wants to do. Without determination, you will
get discouraged easily. Be determined and make a difference! An
Entrepreneur must also be ready to go the “extra mile” for his or her
An exceptional Woman of Rubies
I am a very zealous woman, strong-minded, a go-getter and very
focused. I’m a high-flier and I work self-sacrificingly. I can
accomplish anything I want to. I believe I can do what has been
established as impossible! I also try to be a motivator to other
people, young and adults. I am someone, who concentrates on the
positive side of people.