Saturday, 27 March 2010

Investing in women

Directing the affairs of a one-stop-travel shop, Dynax Travels and Tour, is Rachel Kayode-Adele, whose passion is to empower women so that they can engage in productive enterprises.
The lady, whose encounter with two Christian preachers, Jessy Dupliantis and Rod Passy, in her hospital bed in the United States of American made her leave her boutique business for travel agency, shares her experience with other women through the Thriving Business Women Fellowship (TBWF), a Christian interdenominational group.
Born the fifth child in a family of 12, nine girls and three boys, and a Business Administration graduate of the Federal Polytechnic, Ida, she says, “my encounter in 2004 with Dupliantis and Passy, whom I listened to through a TV set while on hospital bed, made me leave clothes selling to establish Dynax in 2005.”
Beaming with smile, she says, “though, I had flair for traveling and visiting places, that singular encounter made me to rediscover myself and start working on my passion for a living.”
Married to Oluwakayode-Adele from Ondo State, the Esan, Irua native, came back home with little or no experience of travel trade, but had to go to a friend who put her through.
Armed with the right knowledge, she launched out her passion, working through the ranks to a level she now empowers women and single ladies.
Apart from being a successful businesswoman, Rachelsays “I love motivating people and reproducing myself. In fact, I believe a candle has nothing to lose by lightening up another candle, so, I encourage women to set up business outfits to help themselves and contribute to the finances of their homes. Many, who knew how I started, have come to understudy me and I have equally helped some of them to set up their businesses.”
This she has done through the platform of her fellowship, the TBWF.
Why work with only women?
The mother of two says, “at TBWF, we also mentor single ladies, who are in courtship and getting ready to marry. We make them see reasons why they should be hardworking in their careers; and while pursuing their careers, how they can engage in meaningful business, no matter the size, instead of depending wholly on their husbands for every kobo that comes into the house.”
Filled with emotions, she rells out reasons why women should to be empowered.
“I was privileged to know of someone that depended on the husband for everything she needed, but unfortunately, the man passed on. The in-laws, not minding the woman’s grief, sent her packing out of her matrimonial home with no means of livelihood. Also, women are always susceptible if the man’s economy is down, so, to avoid this we try to teach women how to catch fish instead of begging for it. We mentor young ladies to start on time so it could be part of them,” she says.
“We equally teach girls never to feel they are inferior to boys because they are girls, but to face the challenges of life as they come,” she says. “My father taught us to be confident and work to attain any height we desired in life; and that, I pass to the young ones.”
Would this not make them to be headstrong to their husbands and abandon the care of the home and children?
The lady answers ‘no’. She says, “there has to be a balance between work and the family. Women should take time to attend to their family needs — home, children, husband and relatives. They should have time for the children; see to their home and school work, and not leave them to the whims of nannies or the school authorities. In fact, working will not make you lose trends of the home.”
She adds, “some businesses could be done without the woman leaving her home. Take the case of running a crèche or other services that could be provided to people in the neighbourhood. However, what matters is identifying your passion and working to fulfill it.”
Using the virtuous woman of Proverb 31 in the Bible, CEO of Dynax Travel Agency says women are to honour and be submissive to their husbands to attend great heights.
“I don’t believe in women liberation or wife being equal to the husband, though God created us equally, He did not assign the same roles to us. Women are to be submissive to their husbands, no matter the height attained in business or in life. We are to honour and obey them, for any woman that disobeys this, has limited place in life. This is what we teach ourselves while impacting on the women.”
And the economy?
“Yes, there is recession, but this is not the first time it’s happening, and in spite of it, people are embarking on new projects. It’s during this period you build confidence and hope in the people, to strive for excellence. This is the main reason prayer should not be separated from business. In the fellowship, we combine praying and business; we also include our husbands in our prayers because a woman on her kneels puts her husband on his heel.”
On challenges faced so far, Rachel, who has through her motivational talks improved the lives of many of her members and those close to her, says, “ the most women are easily discouraged, when they try one or two businesses without success, they give up without knowing that profits come with efforts. They don’t know how to think outside the box. Business entails trying and trying.”
She adds, “electricity and getting funds from banks are challenges we face. Rachel adds, power outage makes us to run on generator, which increases our overhead cost thereby making output to be on the high side. The banks, too, are not making things easy, as loans are not always given to us. When we approached them, they promised to help, but ended up doing nothing. However, we have been raising our funds internally and things are working, but slower than it would have been if we had access to soft loans and regular electric power supply.”

How was growing up like? “I had fun. My late father was editor-in-chief of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Benin; he instilled in us confidence to succeed in life very early. He made us to believe that being girls do not make us less human. He made us to know that ‘we can be all, we want to be.”

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