What Is Your Idea And How Did You Come-up With It?
After several trips to Nigeria during my summer holidays, I was exposed to the realities the youth currently face. The unemployment rates are astounding and the literacy levels are also significantly low. The status quo is far from pleasing and I often wondered what little I could do that would matter in my society. Since the popular saying is that we are the future of Nigeria, I realised that it is time we take our place and act in that knowledge- as the future of our country.
In that regard, I Am The Future [IATF] is a non-profit, youth led organisation created primarily for the purpose of Youth Empowerment through various forms of ‘education’, in order to create a clear path to a more sustainable and effective society. IATF seeks to ignite like minded youths who are willing to make an impact, encourage development and be catalysts for POSITIVE CHANGE.
What Do You Guys Do?
As an organization, our mission is summarized in four words- to ENGAGE, EDUCATE, EMPOWER and ERADICATE.
ENGAGE in society through involving ourselves in various charitable activities.
EDUCATE young individuals with knowledge, skills and values necessary to impact ‘change’ within the community.
EMPOWER young individuals on the most effective and ‘profitable’ ways to utilize knowledge, skills and ideas in order to turn inspiration into practice.
ERADICATE locally and nationally, issues that are currently affecting society (low access to education, poverty and unemployment).
What Happened Next?
IATF was launched in February 2013, with the aim of raising awareness of Who We Are, Our Vision and Our mission, while trying to secure links with various institutions, firms, private individuals and governmental agencies. Six months later, we have begun taking steps towards our first Official Project which will take place in December 2013. For more details on the December project, please visit iatfyouth.org
How Do You Finance?
At the moment, we are funded primarily through donations. However, in a few weeks, we launch Fashion4Change, created under the umbrella of IATF. Fashion4Change is the official merchandising label for the Organization, producing clothing items and accessories. Items will be available for purchase in Nigeria and the UK and proceeds from sales go directly towards funding IATF projects. To receive more information as to the launch of Fashio4Change, pricing and delivery options, please subscribe to the IATF website.
How Is The Organisation Marketed?
We have taken full advantage of the popularity of social media and networking sites, thus for now, IATF is strictly marketed through the Internet. We have a Facebook page: ‘I Am The Future Blog’, a twitter account ‘@iatfyouth’, and of course our website ‘iatfyouth.org.
What Were Your Major Challenges?
I would say funding. This is certainly one of the major challenges of any non-profit organization. There is always so much to be done, yet the availability of funds often limits an organizations productivity. This is why we have sought to do something different, by coming up with Fashion4Change, which will be an important contribution to our funding sources. With the significant growth of the fashion industry today, why not take advantage of that opportunity and use fashion to make a difference in the lives of others.
How Would You Assess Your Market?
It is undeniable that in Nigeria, social responsibility has significantly grown over the past few years. We (as a country) are now recognizing the importance of giving back to society in any way we can- no matter how little. This interest, in the social affairs of others is very promising and I can only imagine how much growth the industry will see in the next decade. Companies and private individuals are now taken up responsibilities that we once left solely to the government and these are vital steps necessary to eradicate issues such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy which this country has festered for far too long.
What Is Next For You?
Expand! Expand!! Expand!!! We are working on expanding our reach after our first official project in December. Not only in respect to charitable activities like providing food, clothing and other vital necessities, but also going into schools and communities, holding seminars- empowering young ones with skills and knowledge to facilitate active steps into realizing their full potential. This is very important to us as our mission statement is to ‘Ignite a Generation of Doers’. As we know, dreaming is never enough- we must do. We are also working on the IATF Scholarship Fund, which will assist individuals in gaining education at primary, secondary and university levels. The list goes on… there’s much to be done!
I’ll say don’t let your fears and doubts limit your talents. A lot of times we give in to these emotions in such a way that it stops us from realizing our true potential. Very often, it is the fear to act, to fail or be judged that stops us from turning our dreams to reality. That is not to say that we must always be ‘fearless’, but that we should recognize that oftentimes than not, such fear is nothing but a false illusion. This realization has led me to take active steps to make I Am The Future a thing of reality.