PFF BACK TO SCHOOL PROJECT, UFODO

THE NEED

Ufodo is a rural community in Enugu-Ezike in Nsukka Enugu State. Amidst the challenges of lack of access to clean drinking water, a dilapidated health center, hawking to assist their parents provide for the family, and other characteristic problems of rural Nigerian communities, Children in Ufodo have very limited acess to quality education, standard educational facilities and stationery.

Precious Fountain Foundation (PFF), as an NGO dedicated to providing educational intervention services in defective areas of Nigerian education, has decided to tackle some of these problems that undermine access to quality education in this community. This we intend to achieve with the Back To School Project.

DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT:

Precious Fountain Foundation(PFF) has over the past four years organised a Holiday Camp for children in Ufodo, Enugu-Ezike in partnership with Christ True Mission Church, an indigenous denomination popular among rural Igbo communities .
The nature of this Holiday Camp is such that PFF organises educational interventions in Arithmetic and Reading in an effort to improve the ability of this children to read and do simple calculations. There are over 150 children who attend these camps. At the end of each Holiday Camp, scholarships are awarded to deserving students who excel during the camp.
This year, PFF will be taking this initiative a step further. These students, most of whom come from very low income households will be resuming the new session amidst a lot of difficulties. COVID-19 and the attendant lockdown measures in Nigeria have disproportionately affected their parents who are the major, and most times, the only source of educational funding for these children.

PFF has decided to intervene this time with this project that aims to provide school bags and books for these children. The entire budget for providing 150 school bags and 150 dozens of books for these children is N900,000.

You can support PFF to achieve this through any of these means:
1) Donating N3000 or above. (300 people who donate N3000 will help us meet our target).
2) Sharing posts on this project on social media. Someone who may want to be a partner to this may find this information through you.
3) Donating school bags or books that you have. (We have volunteers all over Nigeria who can receive in-kind donations.) Kindly let us know if you intend to donate in kind by inboxing our social media channels, or sending us an email.

Once you make a donation, kindly inbox PFF through:
IG or Facebook @PreciousFountainfoundation;
Or send us a mail: preciousfountainfoundation@gmail.com.

You could also click on this Gofund me link to give:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/pff-back-to-school-project?utm_source=whatsapp&utm_medium=chat&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

We’ll acknowledge your donation and update you on how your funds are being disbursed.
We believe it is possible to achieve this goal of providing these materials to the Ufodo children. We look forward to these children resuming school with the materials you helped in providing for them.

Practical ways to Cope with Depression and Depressive Symptoms

Health has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Mental health has been defined by WHO as “a state of well being in which every individual (including you and I) realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, is able to work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

These difficulties in feelings may be experienced as excessive sadness, being overwhelmed or frustrated as a result of life’s difficulties and may progress to a state where someone begins to feel very sad, empty or hopeless (which may be expressed as irritability in children and adolescents).

Such person or persons may experience agitations, fatigue or reduced energy and motivations or inability to carry his or herself (that is, motor retardation). He or she may lose weight (when not dieting) or gain weight significantly; there may be loss of interest in what he or she enjoyed during before (which is referred to as Anhedonia).

He or she may experience inability to sleep or sleeps too much, weeps or cries uncontrollably, loses appetite or eats too much, begins to feel worthless and inappropriately guilty or hopeless and even considers that life is not worth living which may result in suicidal ideations, plans and even attempts.

When a person experiences at least 5 of these symptoms, many days for at least two weeks, these could be indicative of a mental health condition referred to as Major Depressive Disorder (commonly referred to as Depression), of which an assessment with mental health professionals would be required for a Diagnosis.

A lot of times, when people express that they are depressed, what they really mean is that they feel sad. Depression is beyond feeling sad.

It is important at this stage to establish the difference between acute and chronic health condition?

An acute health condition usually begins suddenly and with treatment, the symptoms clear off quickly. A chronic health condition on the other hand is different. It begins gradually, sometimes not noticed and persists or endures over a period of time.

Depression is a chronic condition, and it is usually treated or managed and not necessarily cured. A key principle regarding chronic conditions is SELF MANAGEMENT.

Having explained Depression, there are ways to cope with the experience or symptoms as the case may be.

The first point I will like to raise here is that it is essential that one admits what he or she is experiencing; denial does not do much good. Admittance empowers one to seek for help.

The second point is that it is also important to seek for help from the right people and places.

The third point is that holistic care is better for an improved outcome. Holistic care is better for an improved outcome because the causes of depression are diverse – it can be caused by biological factors (e.g., genetic predisposition, the reduction in a Neurotransmitter named Serotonin), or environmental factors (e.g., the loss of a job, the birth of a baby) or lifestyle (e.g., smoking Marijuana). However, some responses to loss may be considered normal in context of culture and may not necessarily be indicative of a depressive disorder or mood.

There are a number of coping measures available to deal with depression. These coping measures include but are not limited to:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Lifestyle
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Spirituality

Psychotherapy usually involves a client and a clinician whether in an individual or group setting. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for depression might be considered depending on the needs of the client(s). In CBT, the client and therapist discusses how thoughts, relationships and activities affects ones mood

On that note, it is healthy for a person to know what he or she is thinking by being mindful (aware) of his or her thoughts and the effects it is having on him or her. A lot of the time, our thoughts affects how happy or sad we feel.

Also note that our relationships impact us positively or negatively and it important to realize this earlier, are you in a relationship that is toxic (whether physically or virtually)? To cope with depressive symptoms, one has to be deliberate in the choices of relationships. If it is a relationship you have little control over, please spend as little time as possible with those people,

You may also consider sanitizing your social media contacts if you feel under undue pressure because of a person or persons.

In addition, it is healthy for a person to be mindful of his or her activities and the effects that they are having on him or her. Ask yourself: do you have too little or too much to do? Do you make out time for self-care? Some people do not respond very well in engaging in too much or too less activities. If one is taking on too much than he or she can achieve, he/she may eventually under-perform and this might affect his/her self-esteem negatively thereby affecting his or her mood. We all have a responsibility to learn assertive refusal skills

Exercising and gratitude journal-ling (that is writing out the things or happenings that one is happy about or grateful for) are also very helpful.

From a recreational perspective, one can cope with depression by engaging in exercises or games, whether early in the day, later in the day or as it suits his or her schedule. Exercises include but are not limited to swimming, engaging in lawn tennis, table tennis, jogging, walks, among others. This can be done individually but better in a group of supportive people. A group of supportive people because one can tend towards isolation when he or she is experiencing depression, so the more one socializes in a healthy way, the better.

When we exercise, our body secretes a feel-good hormone which is regarded as a natural “high”. This hormone is called Endorphins.

From a lifestyle perspective, it’s important to have an attitude of gratitude. It is important that we recognize and acknowledge the little and seemingly-insignificant things that are working in our life. Keeping a gratitude journal enables one to keep track of things that are working or positively, like breathing effortlessly, blinking the eyes, the feel of the wind, eating rice, having a thumb, carried out a presentation, participated in a WhatsApp group on coping with depression, and the list goes on and on.

When you document things that are going on well and not fixate on the negatives, you can look back on your journal and be encouraged to keep trying. There are gratitude apps you might also use a note book and pen. There is a Gratitude app has helped me to focus on the positive, appreciate and notice even the small things that makes us happy. It is free and you can get it at https://gratefulness.page.link/app

In addition to the point on “lifestyle”, one might have been used to negative coping measures, e.g. drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, weed (marihuana/marijuana, igbo/skunk/loud/Arizona) to cope with stress. However, all of these substances have depressive potential. Instead of coping with stress by engaging in the above-mentioned options, it is helpful to engage in deep breathing exercises, take a walk, listen to music, have a cool bath, watch a hilarious movies, etc.

In addition, observe the colour of your room, is it dark or brightly painted? Bright colours lighten the mood. Furthermore, sleeping and feeding styles also matter. It is helpful to eat fruits and vegetables instead of processed and can foods. It is said that banana improves one’s mood.

On sleep, practicing sleep hygiene is helpful if you find it difficult to sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night. Use your bed only for sleeping (some people find that this is the most difficult one to deal with, but it is very necessary if sleep hygiene is to be effective)

Sleep in a quiet, dimly-lit room. It is essential to sleep in a comfortable and serene room with even temperature (neither too hot nor cold) and avoid eating heavy close to bedtime. Also avoid taking caffeinated drinks close to bed time (e.g. coffee – this stimulates the Central Nervous System and eventually keeps you awake). Some people find that they initiate sleep with these drinks but they also admit that they find it difficult to sustain sleep.

You could also keep a sleep diary. Document the time you went to bed, an estimated time of when you fell asleep, number of times you woke up at night, the kind of exercises you engaged in the day, medication taken, if any, time you awoke from sleep and time you eventually stood up from the bed. The sleep chart enables one to monitor progress.

Exercise during the day but not too close to bedtime. The rationale is that when you exercise, your body feels tired and seeks rest.

From a pharmacotherapy perspective, depending on the severity of the symptoms experienced, a physician may prescribe some medication after due assessment. It is usually recommended that one should not discontinue the medication on his or her own when he or she feels better, a medication review is usually helpful first of all.

However, medication is more effective when combined with other measures, e.g. psychotherapy and lifestyle.

From an art therapy perspective, Mandala colouring is very helpful (you can please find mandala worksheets that you can print online). With the aid of coloured pencils, one can engage in this colouring and derive relaxation, and mindfulness among others from it. You may also engage in painting, drawing, dance, etc.

From a spirituality perspective, it is very helpful that we connect with our higher power who to me is God through Jesus Christ. Spirituality (not just religiosity) enhances a sense of meaning in life and, enhances hope, faith and a sense of well being.

It is helpful for one to participate in a support group where one can meet with people of similar experiences and one is encouraged. Support groups can be physical or virtual and have proven to be very helpful. In addition, having a pet, planting (horticultural therapy) is also helpful.

Furthermore, if one considers that he or she may not be adequately exposed to sunlight due to usually being in an air-conditioned environment, it will be helpful to do so. Vitamin D Deficiency (due to poor exposure to sunlight) can expose one to depressive symptoms.

Conclusively, it is also worthy to note that sleep is implicated in a lot of mental health challenges, usually the lack of adequate sleep. When a person sleeps, it is a restorative opportunity for the body system, especially a refreshing sleep where someone wakes up feeling rested.

One of the symptoms of depression is poor sleep, and on the other hand, poor sleep can trigger feelings of irritability, fatigue, among others.  In order to cope well with depressive symptoms, sleep is essential and sleep hygiene are behavioural practices to achieve that.

Aside from sleep hygiene, medication can be helpful but it is safe to note that one can develop a dependence on sleep mediation in the long run.

Stay healthy!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Uyama Uyoata, is a trained female clinical psychologist who is passionate about mental and psychological well being.

She has gathered experience in providing counselling and psychological support within the boundaries of professional ethics for chronic conditions spanning depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and addiction. She is interested in mental health education, advocacy and interventions.

Attitude wins every race

One singular force of life that eternally echoes possibility or impossibility to our dreams is our attitude. I started with a stream of wrong attitude in the university. The weakness of my academic background became so obvious. The university assumed my foundation (I came from a rural area) to be as strong as others from King’s College and was merely poised to build on it.

When a preliminary Chemistry course wanted to expose my weakness, I thought I would be defeated by it. It was not only the course that proved difficult but some other courses like Calculus in Mathematics which I had never done prior to the time.

There is something that the University of Ibadan community refers to as tsunami – not a natural disaster but a situation when the university advises students to withdraw from their academic pursuit due to low academic performance. “The fear of tsunami is thebeginning of wisdom” was our favourite quote on campus. I became a ferocious reader. Even with this, I felt so inadequate and incapable of passing those courses. Discouragement set in for me. I began to embrace a negative attitude. My background was so weak to build on. I was not excited about the whole thing again. The more I fed my negative attitude, the more incompetent I felt, and the more I lost hope of winning the race.

One day I involved a friend in the matter (he was in 200 level). I told him all I was passing through. He looked at me intently, not uttering a word. He pretended to be serious. When I finished all my complaints I was surprised at what my friend did next: he laughed! “Is that all you are sweating about? Fear of tsunami?” He had to correct the attitude. “Guy, this Chemistry you are obsessively panicking about was defeated by you both at SSCE and UTME levels. You had an A in Chemistry, B in Physics, and B in Mathematics…. What then is your problem? Your attitude towards a perceived risk is very important. If you think you will fail, no one can avert that. But my brother, you are not a tsunami candidate,” he said frankly.

Wow! This really got into me. “I am not a tsunami candidate?” I had never seen it that way- no wonder I began losing hope. That single statement reinvigorated me. I gained my confidence back by changing my attitude to a perceived threat. I repeated that statement to myself every day on my way to lecture rooms – I am not a tsunami candidate. This really bolstered my innate power to work. I was boiling within me to see Chemistry defeated. I told myself I could do it. Then I saw improvement in the way I approached lectures and everything. For that session, my result was an A! Attitude, not power, won the race.

Perhaps if I had employed the “I-would-be –tsunamized attitude” it would have spelt failure on the result. But thank God my attitude was corrected earlier before things got awry. No one can be better off than his/her attitude. Attitude informs how we live our lives and until we change our attitude, we cannot change our lives.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adekunle (B. Pharm., MSc, MPSN) wrote this article and he is also the author of“Pushing the Limits: From Riding Okada to Graduating with a Distinction in Pharmacy”

He can be reached via: www.yemiadekunle.com.ng; or joeladeokola10@gmail.com

Hopeless Situation

Do you already doubt God and your ability? Are you already thinking it is over or you can’t make it again? It is high time you woke up from your dream of hopelessness. Many times, issues of life make us lose hope, but life is worth more than giving up. This is why you should live your life optimally.

That condition you are seeing as a hopeless situation can still turn around and be your best ever. I will be showing you some ways by which you can actually turn a hopeless situation around for your own good.

Imagine the worse-case scenario in that situation you have found yourself. This will help you realise your situation is not the worst there is. Your situation may be terribly tragic but believe me it could be worse.

People in tragic problems can hardly imagine something worse. For example, a woman who lost her husband in a motor accident cannot imagine anything worse, a student that has results in Ds and Cs cannot imagine the situation being any worse, but you know what? It actually could have been worse! The woman that lost her husband in a motor accident could have been in the car with the husband together with their children; the student that had Ds and Cs could have had Fs! As you see, even the most tragic situation could be worse.

By imagining worse case scenarios of your circumstances, you will find that you still have every reason to be thankful and hopeful for a better story. The woman in our story can find love again, the student with Ds and Cs can still have As and Bs and graduate with a distinction.

Lastly, look for lessons in each situation because there is no situation in life that does not have lessons to teach us. Your ability to learn from your own mistakes and make amendments will determine to a great extent how far you will move in life. Always be positive about the future!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Oluwasola Abiola Elisha, also known as ABSOL is a graduate of the Department of International Relations Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Nigeria. He is a charismatic writer, public speaker, a drummer and a teacher.

He can be reached at oluwasolaelisha@gmail.com or +2347032277508.

Souls and Tolls

When time comes running like a fast racer,

And thoughts rush in threes after twos.

Never fret, be still,

There’ll be a way, they say, when there’s a will.

When your mind walks ahead of your body,

And your heart gets buried beneath those towers,

Stay strong, don’t go too high,

That bright morning will surely come after the dark nights.

Paths come and disappear,

Learn to live and lead your fears.

Find your way and never stray,

In your little realm, think to always stay.

Drink in the rivers of your world’s happiness,

Eat from its sweet fruits.

Love to live and live to love,

Life is brighter when we see what truly matters.

Life After School

Hi, I am Tijani Omolara and I am going to be talking, well more like writing about Life After School – The after University life challenges and the how-to tackle these challenges.

A big misconception has been sold from ages past that one needs to first finish University before facing the next stage of one’s life…the stage of  ” life after University”. This stage of “life after school” begins right there in the University, while still schooling. It does not begin after your final year (nope). It does not begin after your defense (nope), and certainly not after your convocation ceremony. It begins before all of these steps in your life.

You know just as life as a human, does not begin from when the child is born but begins immediately fertilization has occurred, so also is tackling the life challenges following your being done with your first degree.

What does anyone really want from life?

To sum it up in one word. It’s SECURITY!  Security can further be divided into job security, marital security, and social security.

1.         JOB SECURITY

One of the challenges faced by most students after school is securing a well-paid job (financial security).  How do I beat this?

Say at 18, you gained admission into a four (4) years program in the University. With the Nigerian education system of strikes and everything, at 23, you are now in your 400 level first semester.

Your 1st, 2nd and 3rd year in the University are enough for you to build your CGPA to landing between 3.50 and 5.00. Those 3 years are where you build your CGPA to getting that CGPA working for you. And with these GPAs, you can access a lot of scholarship money. Money, you can save up for use, later.

These grades 3.50 to 5.00 are power grades. They are like laying the right academic foundation on which you can erect any structure! So working hard to attaining a grade within this range is advantageous.

In your 400 level, while studying to crown all your effort from the other 3 years, that is when you begin to think about life after school in the aspect of job security.

Say this program is accounting. At 400 level 1st semester, you should know about the different professional exams needed for you as an accountant to excel in your career path. I’m talking about ICAN and the rest.

With the scholarship money and bursary from the last 6 sessions, you should have enough to sit for one of those exams.

Some of these exams come in stages. By the time you will be through with NYSC, you would have successfully completed all levels.  Audit firms and other financial institutions would be looking to employ you.

My point here is that skills are an added advantage, needed to beat this financial/job security challenge. Be it that you are at 400 level or you are preparing to go for service or you are even back for your Masters, skills are very necessary.

Skills you acquire from sitting for professional exams required in your field of profession, skills in learning a machine language and mastering it, skills in learning software for data analysis, skills in proposal writing and Grant sourcing, skills in Business management, Project Management, Relationship Management, skills in Hotel Management, Customer Relations, skills in Human Resources, etc.

You need to pick up a skill, learn it and master it. Master it enough that you will be known for it. Pick up a skill or two, useful, needed in your field. Pick up a skill to enhance that passion of yours to make the world know you are here.

For those who are in a program that requires them to specify because of the diversification in their study program, or  are looking to work in the academia or work in a research institute, then, going for Masters is necessary and then, of course, Doctorate. But even at this, a skill for research proposal drafting is needed.

At 400 level, you should have mapped out who you want to be in life and what you want to be known for. At that age, you are anywhere between 21 to 26 (on average).

Once you have this mapped out, read, browse, research about the field you are in or thinking of going into. Read about the necessary steps to take. That laptop in your hand is not just for watching movies or collecting textbooks. You can browse those who have excelled and still excelling in that field. What skills do they have that you do not have? How can you get access to these skills?

YouTube is an amazing place. There are people who drop daily lessons, free. Make use of it. Learn and master a skill relevant to who you want to be before leaving the University, master it way into your service year.

Such that when you start sending your CVs to organizations, Universities e.t.c., you will rank very high.

Another challenge students face after school is “where to live. Don’t wait till you get to that point you begin to ask yourself “where do I pack and go now” before you start making plans.  Some people are blessed that should they leave their current residence today, they are able to get another the same day. Some are blessed more in other areas of life.

If you are among the latter set, then do not wait till you get to that junction. You may not know where you will be posted for NYSC for those still in school. But you know where you want to set base, except God says otherwise. You know you want to return to Lagos, and live in Lagos. You know you do not go back to your parents’. Or you want to leave your current location for Lagos, whichever, wherever…

Begin to speak with your friends now.  You will surely meet one or two persons who want to live where you want to live. Talk to them about apartment sharing.  I mean it will be for a while, just until you are able to stand on your own. Make inquiries on the cost per annum for rent for the type of apartment you want. Browse Google. Get the numbers and divide.

If however, you know that your savings cannot cover the expenses of living alone (even when shared with friends), go back to your parent’s house. Stay there a while, until you can stand on your feet.

  • SOCIETAL PRESSURE (MARITAL AND SOCIAL SECURITY)

We all know this pressure. Pressure from friends, family, society, your faith, etc. I have spoken so much about this pressure that I am beginning to sound like a record on a replay button is broken.

Do not let any of those aforementioned groups pressure get to you. I have seen people make wrong decisions and choices because of these pressures.

Interestingly, it is different for both genders. That your friend/brother/sister got his job immediately after NYSC doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. That your friend/brother/sister has gotten his/her own apartment now and is now paying his rent regularly doesn’t mean you would not. That your friend is now married and you are going 29 (female) and 32 (male) doesn’t mean you would not. That your friend/brother/sister is now the one taking care of the family and paying the bills doesn’t mean you would not.

Do not let anyone talk down to you not even you yourself. Do not give room even for yourself to talk you down.  Your goal and dream are key here. You know who you are, you know what you want from life. You have your dream and goals. You are your own special person different from every and any other person. You are in control of your future; don’t feel bound by expectations of people around you. Trust God and input the necessary hard work.

Stay safe and remember…You’ll overcome!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tijani Omolara is a Physiologist (specializing in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics Engineering). She has volunteered on medical outreaches in different communities.

She is also a freelancer, editing CVs and other academic related content. She loves Korean drama and loves the KPOP boy group, BTS.

No More Dreaming

“No more dreaming”, I had pondered on these words over and over again and also tried to understand it. To bring out the message embedded in those words… to minister to me…to minister to you…

What are dreams? I asked myself. I pondered and thought, sought for and found many definitions, but in the end I discovered that dream is a substance of our soul’s desire and that substance always focuses on the level ahead, the time ahead, the ‘future’. Dreams flames out from the desire in our heart for more. It is the place our soul wants to be in a moment other than now.

Dreams always leverage on a time frame that is seen yet by the mind alone , thereby making the body think that dreams are not meant to be worked on now, pushing it further to that infinite time of tomorrow , making it an illusion , nothing but a dream.

So I tell you, “No more dreaming”

But not in its literal sense though, for man cannot truly live without having a dream. I rather tell you in this context not to keep dreaming the dream.

So when I tell you “no more dreaming”, I mean  Take it further!, give it a life, make your dreams live and you can only do that when you come out of the circle of dreaming your dreams.

How you ask? It is quite simple; but you don’t see it because the smallest things are the easiest to overlook.

So I’ll tell you how:

Liberate your mind from the thought that your dreams are for your tomorrow. Allow your dreams live in your today. For the future is now!

When your dreams don’t live in this moment, you will dream it again and the more you live in that loop, the more you lose direction and drown in a sense of imagination.

So once you understand that your dreams need to be acted upon now, that is when you will begin to achieve your great feats. Actions and dreams are part of one golden coin. If you make only one part exist, you will have a nonexistent golden coin that will fetch you nothing.

No more dreaming your dreams!

Come out of it, act on them now!

No more dreaming!