Recently I decided to check through the history of the United Nations and her activities in sub-Saharan Africa.
History witnessed the first largest gathering of world leaders in the year 2000 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where leaders of nations adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a deadline of 2015 that has become known as the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs).
The goals are: Eradication of Extreme Hunger and Poverty, Achieve Universal Basic Education, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, Reduce Child Mortality, Improve Maternal Health, Combat HIV/ AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases, Ensure Environmental Sustainability, and Develop a Global Partnership for Development, in that order.
These goals at that time seemed to have been a compass pointing us to a future of bliss, prosperity and sustainable development. The future of yesterday is however with us today. Needless to say that we do not need any prophet to let us know that this initiative, however juicy it looked, has carried us nowhere.
It is a failure as far as the sub-Saharan African nations are concerned, with particular reference to Nigeria.
This is what metamorphosed into the Sustainable Development Goals.
Please permit me to set a background for where we are going.
Below is an excerpt from the preamble of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Growth:
“This Agenda is a plan of Action for people, planet, and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind…”
My concern this day is not the United Nations or world governments, but rather, my concern is you and I.
That no one will be left behind is only a pledge, it is only a wish, or better still, a promise that looks promising.
But your destiny is too beautiful to be left to chance in the hands of United Nations or any world government. Your place in the agenda of God for the earth is too crucial to be left to chance. When those world leaders gathered in 2000, if anyone had told them that the MDGs will fail in Africa, I’m sure they wouldn’t have believed it. Now two years is already ticking away out of the 15 years of the SDGs initiative, but the more we look, the less we see.
Won’t you hold your destiny into your hands and do something about your case so that you are not left behind.
Do you know that you can set your feet on the path of financial freedom through fashion design?
This can become a very viable stream of income that can reposition the economic status of anyone who cares enough to pay attention to it. Unfortunately, many people spend so much on fashion instead of making so much from fashion. It doesn’t matter how terrible an economy is, humans cannot do without fashion. Do you know that in Nigeria, we produce less than 5 percent of the clothes we wear? So even if you decide to concentrate on the Nigerian market alone, you can say farewell to poverty. The market is so vast.
Fashion possesses a unique kind of value whose relevance spans from the date of one’s birth to the time of departure from the earth. Why do pregnant women do the scan to determine the sex of their baby? Of course, it is basically to know what kind of clothing’s to invest in.
One of the items in the scale of preference on the child’s birthday is what cloth to put on. When the child grows old enough to go to school, one major item on the list will be her school uniform. Even when one dies, except for cases of mass burial, the living still go shopping for the dead because our burial tradition does not support burying people naked.
You may want to ask, so how do I go about it? It’s very simple. There are different value chains involved in fashion.
With the right information, attitude, and skills, one can make a fortune out of any of them. You can either be involved in production or merchandise. For the production chain, the first step is to create a mental picture of what you are setting out to achieve with fashion.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years? If you don’t see yourself practicing fashion in the next 10
years, then it is better not to venture into it at all. Since time is life, it is better for you to invest your life in what you are prepared to live for, and even that which will outlive you.
Secondly, get trained. The place of training cannot be overemphasized. You must also carefully consider who your coach will be. Don’t learn from those who are intimidated by your prospect. Also avoid those whose sole interest is to get your money, and not necessarily how they can make your life better.
One day a young lady in her late 30’s walked up to our office after we had officially closed for the day. She began to lament how she fell into the hand of a wrong trainer. Each time her oga wants to do a major work, she was usually sent to go and buy one thing or the other, before she comes back. You could see the frustration and disappointment written all over her face.
Don’t fall into the hands of such. Depending on who trains you, you don’t need donkey years to learn fashion. As a matter of fact, it was during one holiday that I learned fashion design when I had an opportunity to stay with my aunt. This was less than a month.
However, I had to depend on the Holy Spirit to train myself more and learn on the job. I bought a machine for myself while in school and I started sewing right from my room. Now an institution is being built around this skill, empowering people across the nations.
One of the excuses people give for not venturing into business is lack of capital. They claim they don’t have money to invest, but they will buy all the aso ebi available. Unknown to many, you can actually start fashion business with nothing . What you need is the skill and strategy.
You can start from where you are with what you have. No amount of cash or size of space is too small to venture
into fashion design just as no amount of money is too much to start up. Maybe you are waiting till you have the big money to get an expensive shop, you have to wake up to reality.
You don’t even need a shop to start. I started real fashion business right in my house. We converted one of the
rooms to a workshop. And we were servicing clients from all over both with and outside the country, and guess what, they didn’t even know that we were operating from a room. The quality of our work spoke so loudly for us.
The next step is to identify your target market. Like we have established earlier, the market for fashion is so vast. Even if you decide not to key into the production line, you can make a great fortune by merchandizing. You can sell what others have made. These among others shall be considered in subsequent editions.
In conclusion, as for me and my house, we have decided not to be left behind. What about you? Don’t be passive in the historical process as it unfolds. Be active. Get up today and get something done.
Stop blaming the government for your situation. There is something you can do. I am convinced that there is more that your life can give expression to. Give it all it takes to make your destiny happen.
See you at the top!
Obiageli is the Director of Belart Institute , Abeokuta.