How NYSC Lady, 23, Transformed Community

Builds facilities for 2000 students in Rivers State

Since its creation in 1991, Community Secondary School (CSS) in Abuloma community of Port Harcourt, Rivers State did not have a single toilet facility. Also, there was no good source of drinking water for the school with over 2000 students.

As a result, students often use the bushes for their conveniences. This exposes them to attacks from harmful animals, reptiles, insects, etc. Worryingly, some of them have been sexually harassed or forcefully initiated into cults.

The absence of a good source of drinking water imply that students often stay dehydrated for long hours. This has affected their learning in many ways and hence, an issue of concern.

Today, however, the story of the school is different.IMG-20150603-WA0006

On Tuesday, June 23 2015, a serving batch B National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) corps member at the Federal Government Girls College, Abuloma, Cynthia Onwuchuruba commissioned a block of four (4) toilets and a borehole at CSS, Abuloma.

“I Felt Responsible For Them”

“I was highly motivated when I knew the effect and impact the unavailability of these facilities has in the lives of the students, educationally, psychologically, mentally and health-wise,” Cynthia said.

“I was hunted with the dangers they were exposed to and I felt a sense of responsibility towards them. Today, I am very happy and fulfilled.”

Cynthia is a recipient of the Future Africa Leaders Award (FALA) and an Associate Fellow of Royal Commonwealth Society due to the positive impact and development she has in the lives of many people. As a 100 level student, she held free extra moral classes for over 200 students in 2009 at the Prescience Campus of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.

She has hosted academic excellence seminars physically with over 17000 students at different times and online/on air. She is involved in youth development programs on radio and the social media.

Cynthia1Mobilizing Support

According to Cynthia, “First thing I did was to seek God to provide all I need because for every vision God gives you, he makes a provision for it. Of course, He started teaching me how to get the money.”

“Next, I started writing to corporate organizations and speaking to individuals I met, family members, friends and everyone that cared to listen that I need their support for a project and I explained the project to them.”

But the project did not go without some challenges. At some point, the monies delayed to come but Cynthia believe it was part of the tests that brought the testimony. “You need to know that just because Jesus is in your boat does not mean the storms won’t show up. But the amazing thing is that he will calm every storm, she said.

MTN Foundation supported financially. The community she built for supported with sand and gravel; while family members and friends also supported. “And everything fell into place,” said Ms Onwuchuruba.

2-1Who is Cynthia Onwuchuruba?

Cynthia was born on 29th January 1992 into the Onwuchuruba family of Amaigbo in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State. She graduated with a first class honours in Mathematics from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State and also was the best graduating student from her department in 2013.

She is a graduate of Total Summer School Paris in 2012.

She is currently a NYSC batch B corps member at the Federal Government Girls College, Abuloma with state code Rv/14B/1420.

Counsel to Youths Who Feel Stuck

I have observed that lots of young people bury their dreams and aspirations on time. The focus on challenges is so much and I think it is the way our family, educational and societal knowledge has shaped us.

People think so many people have failed in their pursuit of an aspiration and then they advise you on time not to bother yourself.

Young people get into universities because they want to study courses that can fetch them jobs. Parents don’t talk to their children about entrepreneurship, leadership or job creation.

This has made young people think in one pattern; find a course that employers pay their staff well on, go to the university, study the course and get a good degree (which is nice) and pick up a job.

What about going to the university with the mindset of being an entrepreneur, a job creator, a scientist, someone who will invent something that has never being invented or improve something that that already exists?

What about getting into the university and studying a course that will harness that vision, get a good degree and graduate to actualize that dream?

As a matter of fact, over 70 percent of young adults do not have basic skills and this cannot lead to us achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

After my secondary school, I was making pastries and beads, selling them just to keep myself busy and make some personal money.

I even make plait hair; very nicely and neatly.

There is no condition or place I find myself In that I cannot survive. I recently acquired tailoring skills; basically I can do so many things and can run so many businesses to create jobs for people.

The sky is enough for the birds to fly, it doesn’t matter how many people seem to be skilled or in business, there is a way you can do it that no other person in the world can. Stand out and be different. Be you!

Only you can stop you. If you say you can’t, then you are absolutely right, if you also say you can, you are still right. Everything begins in your mind because you need to win on the inside before you can win outside. In everything you do as a young person, remember you are young, full of energy and highly blessed, so act differently and recognise who you are.

Don’t give up on yourself or on your dreams, not even because some old gray-headed people have told you their experiences or those of others who didn’t make it. Today, this young lady with black hair is telling you in my 20 something years on earth, I have discovered you can be anything you want, do anything (yes, positive things) and be as successful as you desire. And let me tell you, every idea /vision/ dream that comes to you is something you can achieve; else, it wouldn’t come to you. So shine!Cynthia

My Top 5 Leadership Principles

  1. As a leader, if you want to be successful, you need to have a mentor. Someone with good counsel that can help guide you in your decisions and steps. The person should be a Christian; of course God’s word is the right counsel. I always get Godly counsel before anything. And you should know that your relationship with Jesus is the best Mentoring. So, never break communication with Him.
  2. Read books that will inspire you and be current with information around the world. Of course, the most inspiring and up-to-date book in the world is the bible and no leader than be outstanding without reading and mastering this book. I read a lot. I read articles online too and any informative piece I find.
  3. Character is very important. No matter the potentials you have on the inside, if you do not have a good attitude, you will not go far in life. Maintain your integrity and dignity. Don’t lower your standards or that of any organization you are in or cheat yourself, thinking you are cheating someone; be principled and stand for the truth and the right things ALWAYS.

And when I say ‘good character’, I’m referring to something that is fair to all, does not violate another person’s human right and that is praise-worthy. As a leader, I respond to situations differently because someone who is looking up to me may just pick up my response as a life style and I sure don’t want the person acting wrongly.

  1. Be happy ALWAYS. Seriously, a happy leader raises happy people and we want to have a happy world so maintain your own joy. It’s your responsibility and entirely up to you to be happy. No matter the challenges, of course you should always expect them, keep your joy. People will sometimes misinterpret your actions, try to fight your right intentions and even criticize you but remember that joy is strength and don’t allow yourself get weakened.
  2. Be determined. To be determined means to be unwavering, positive, and indomitable about the impossibility of anything. As a person, the more people tell me something is impossible, the more I know it’s a ‘big fish’ that should be caught, the more I understand that I see things differently and the more I am attracted to get it done. Don’t let people who are short-sighted tell you that you can’t see afar of. Don’t be moved by negative opinions; they sometimes look nicely packaged as look realistic.

Going Forward

My pastor defined success as looking out for a human need and reaching out to mean it. He has also taught us that success is impacting the world positively with the investment of our personality. So I just made up my mind to be a success every day of my life. To precisely be a success at whatever I find myself doing: as a teacher or minister of any capacity or leader or whatever good position God places me in.