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WHY I FLOATED A ‘CLUB’ FOR SINGLE MUMS


Deola Erogunaiye-Olulana , a lawyer, runs
Precious and Pretty Moms, a nonprofit organisation. She shares her passion and experiences

What
prompted the idea of floating a nonprofit organisation for single mums?
This is a divine instruction. Daily,
I just follow as it unfolds.  Precious
and Pretty Moms is birthed out of a burden, and it is a non-profit organisation
that was formed by a single mom to help other single moms achieve confidence
and purpose through mentorship, writing of articles on our blog programming and
story-based curriculum.
How
long have you started this?
We became a legal entity in
March 2015 and started operations in June 2015, when we started counselling,
but the blog was launched in September 2015. Our target is the single mother,
her children and her challenges. We listen to her story, actively get engaged
in her story, and prayerfully speak to her, whilst she walking her journey and
we walk side by side with her. That is the core of the organisation— to
encourage the single mother not to lose hope or give up on herself, no matter
her situation.
What
has been your experience with them so far?
It has been a very emotional
process to hear the stories of these women but I must say there are some single
fathers who have gone through some gruesome experiences in the hands of some
women. That being said though, a lot of men these days too are cracking under
pressure. The music of love in the home abruptly stops and these women find
themselves abandoned, separated or divorced; leaving them hurt as it is the
loss of a loved one. It leaves a scar, broken promises, shattering of dreams
and visions, everything becomes dark and even more importantly, children suffer
the most. It is a new journey. You sit there and watch these women wail,
hopeless and clueless as to the next step in their lives.
Was it established because you
felt there are many single mums in the country?
Single motherhood is not new, a
lot of our mothers single-handedly raised us and these days, quite a number of
women are parenting alone, sadly so, and some chose deliberately to be single
mothers. It is, however, the norm to want to live in denial of this truth, but
we need to begin to form support groups for these categories of women for the
sake of our nation as children raised in single parents’ homes must be balanced
to be able to lead our nation.
Are
you a single mum?
Yes, I
am a single mom, and I am passing across a message of hope. Looking back on my
own hurt, confusion and disappointment, I believe we each have a choice. We can
rise above our circumstances – or we can collapse under pressure. But when you
have children, giving up is not an option. Precious and Pretty Moms exists to
equip, encourage and engage single moms in a supportive, non-judgmental
community.
Can
you share your story?
I never
imagined that I would be a single mom. I had tried building my home based on my
faith but I guess my partner and I were not working together as a team— we had
different values apparently. Then, came reality. I became a single mom in 2013
when my husband of eight years walked away from home on the pretence that he
was going to seek greener pastures in Abuja. As an expectant mother with a
young son to raise, my world changed with a sudden breakdown in our finances
occasioned with lies. Enhanced by hospital admission resulting from pregnancy
complications, I ceded managing my business. As of the time he walked away,
four months after the birth of our younger son, my business was wrecked, I was
left penniless. With two kids, one of them terribly ill, life was difficult, it
was a dark season, and my case was hopeless. I struggled financially,
emotionally, and physically but I was fortunate to be surrounded by a super
amazing family, my local church and my limited friends. I have been able to
bounce back, I am not where I ought to be but I’m certainly not where I used to
be. Some friends and the society judged me wrongly. I was told I was not
patient enough and despite all the physical, emotional and financial abuse, I
have been advised that divorce is an unacceptable norm in my society. From this
mess came the desire to help other single moms through the difficult transition
I had just survived. Hence, the birth of PPM. Our website is www.preciousandprettymoms.org
Who
is Adeola Erogunaiye-Olulana?
I am a
2006 World Bank scholar and hold an LL.M in International Trade &
Investment Law from the University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. I
am an outstanding trade and commercial lawyer in Lagos.  I have been practising law since 2002, and
successfully practised as an in-house counsel for a few organisations and in
that capacity, handled transactions in various sectors. I am the executive director
of Precious and Pretty Moms, an online nonprofit organisation targeted at
helping single mothers be the best that they can ever be irrespective of their
circumstances.  I am a mother of two boys,
a writer; a lawyer, business owner and a Christian with an assignment.
Kindly shed light on your
educational and career attainment.
I attended Queens’ College
Yaba, Lagos and I am a graduate of Law from the Faculty of Law, University of
Abuja, then proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian
Bar in 2002. I was also admitted into the Amsterdam Law School, Netherlands as
an exchange student to understudy trade issue in Europe in fulfillment of the
LL.M degree.
Being
a single mother is a status that is stigmatised in the society, how is PPM
faring?
Though being a single mom is
not easy, stressful, exhausting and lonely, life as a single mum  can be brilliantly
fulfilling. That is, if only you will make up your mind to rise above your
situation. A lot of women are tired of walking this journey alone and crave for
support; they want to share their story with someone who has walked in similar
shoes and encourage them without being judgmental. I would say that we have
started well especially as we also are able to handle their legal matters as
well. Yes, there is a lot of stigma in Nigeria for single mothers; we stand
judged by society as lazy people, charity cases, and our children are
considered not balanced. Also, getting accommodation is difficult as a single
mother, even the mechanic wants to milk you, and some men want to take
advantage of you knowing how vulnerable you are in the name of helping you. I’m
blessed to be loved of God and surrounded by a wonderful support group. I
sincerely want to thank them all, for without them I would never have been able
to pull through. They saw me break down and cry several times, they prayed,
they helped and they were spent for my sake.
What’s your advice for women
who are going through this experience?
I salute them for being
selfless and I know that heaven celebrates them. How you became a single parent
doesn’t matter. Whether you are divorced, separated or widowed, PPM exists to
help. I am a living-proof that if we are given the proper tools, encouragement,
and mentoring, we can be healed and thrive. There are good days and bad days of
this journey but do not lose hope. A tragic story is only possible if giving up
is involved. You can step into a new and better season of life. Let the fire of
hope burn within you. Turn to God and depend on His word for strength and I
pray they encourage you as much as they have done for me. Don’t walk your
journey alone, join a support community.
Do you believe in marriage?
Yes, I believe in marriage.
Marriage is a gift from God. Marriage is a covenant that unites the couple (a
man and a woman) in a permanent, sacred bond of love; while furnishing a stable
environment for procreation and nurturing of children. Marriage can be
beautiful and enjoyed where the couple are willing to build their lives
together. Like any relationship, it takes two persons, committing to each other
with a determination, to make theirs a beautiful love story irrespective of
their differences and backgrounds.
What
are the ingredients and how can a marriage work?
A lot of things make marriage
beautiful. Love, mutual respect, valuing each other, commitment to each other,
truthfulness, trust, understanding each other’s love language, keeping the
romance alive, keeping the third party out, listening to one another,  building each other’s lives individually yet
as a unified team, the fear of God, 
willingness to forgive one another, communication, finance, ability to
resolve conflicts and above all, prayers.
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