Concerned with the struggles many people face, including lack of basic necessities like clothing, Emmanuella Adekunle, a postgraduate student of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, alongside her group, took action by gathering gently used clothes and donated in Lagos and Oyo States.
Adekunle, who traced her motivation for operation free shopping to an incident that happened two years ago when she went shopping with her siblings for the festive season but thought of the many people denied of such privileges, said the idea received a great deal of support from her contacts and has continued to grow and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.
“I have been doing humanitarian services for a while now, every year, on my birthday. I celebrate my birthday by giving to people on the street. People have been watching me online and have been seeing what I do, so when I dropped the idea of operation free shopping, they were so excited, especially some that could not support on my birthday, they were excited to donate clothes for operation free shopping,” she said.
She further explained that the project was incorporated under her ministry, The Rising of Deborahs Ministry, a ministry working to empower women and give back to the community through a variety of projects, including ‘Operation Free Shopping’, and’Operation Pad a Girl’, which supplies girls in rural areas with pads and teaches them valuable skills.
“We have some projects we are working on, and some we have executed too. Since 2021, every June 12, Rising of Deborahs go to rural areas to pad girls, we give pads to 100 girls in rural communities, because we know that there are some girls there who do not have the means to get pads for themselves. You see some people using tissues, rags, and some unhygienic options in place of pads. I got this exact project in a vision, that I should go out there and give out pads to girls and I started working on it.
“When we go, we don’t just give them pads, we also equip them with skills that they can easily learn, like popcorn making, soap making, simple hairstyles, Ankara crafts; how to use Ankara to design books, souvenirs. We teach them these skills because if we only give them pads, obviously they will exhaust it and go back to using clothes, but with the skills we teach them, they can empower themselves and start something with low capital.
“Another one of our projects is Operation free shopping for children on the streets on children’s day. We started that in June 2022. There is another project we are working on, it is Operation free lunch for people on the streets. We plan on having a food bus and drive to streets to give out foods to people. We are also working on developing ‘Operation free shopping’ because how we are doing it presently is not the initial goal. The goal was to set up a mobile store or shop in a boutique manner where people can walk in and have that real shopping experience,” she said.
Speaking on future projections, Adekunle said it is her desire that other countries will also come to benefit from her service to humanity in coming years.
Standing Courageously Against Rape (SCAR) is another initiative of Emmanuella Adekunle.
Adekunle is a YouTuber and an advocate against gender-based violence.