My name is Orifunke Lawal and this is my Toptal scholarship entry. Toptal is undergoing a scholarship process for women this season. This scholarship includes being awarded funds to be able to fulfil your plans to change the world as well as a mentorship scheme to help guide you. I am entering for this scholarship because I want to be empowered to change the world; to change my world. To enter for the scholarship programme, click HERE
When I was a kid, my dad made me believe that I could change the world. He imbibed in me the belief that I could be as big as other “big” people on TV. I am an ambitious and driven individual and I would attribute that to his influence over my life while growing up. My dad’s desire for me to be an influential woman was so strong that despite the inadequacies of growing up in harsh conditions of lack and poverty, he was very particular about my getting good education and he ensured that happened. The idea was simple – all the “big” men and women he saw on TV were educated, so I also had to be soundly educated. If I was going to get to where they were, then I needed to be educated. Hence, today, education is one of the things I do not joke with. And, this also informs my firm belief that education is a priority and must-have for every child, regardless of prevalent social or economic conditions.
My dad taught me that I could change the world. The most important discovery I have made while growing up, however, is that to change the world, I have to first and foremost change my world. In essence, I really can only begin to change the world by starting with my immediate environment and community. I may not be able to travel all around the world yet because I presently do not have the means, but I can change the lives that I can afford to change from where I am at present; my immediate community.
I am a big dreamer, and as a personal life ethos I know I have enough dreams to last me a lifetime. I am passionate about young women being able to live the best versions of themselves. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria opened my eyes to the dangers that uneducated, dependent and unempowered women face. I, therefore, continue to remain invested and active participator activities, causes and social ventures that engage in enabling women to become independent financially, mentally, psychologically and emotionally.
My vision to change the world
This year, 2018, I launched a community for young Nigerian women, I aptly called it “Lady with Balls”.
“Lady with Balls” is an online community that aims to inspire, impact and empower ladies t through vital resources, classes and a support system that actually works. At the moment, I run regular online classes for members of the community to teach them basic things that help them to be better for themselves, for their families and for their communities.
It is being a dream come true for me as I had been thinking about it for more than a couple of years. My drive is to build a community, a network of women, who are knowledgeable, confident and independent, having all the resources that they need to live the best versions of themselves. I am a huge believer in the fact that women who must change the world must first be educated, empowered and independent. So these past few weeks have witnessed me thinking and planning out ways by which I can get the lives of these women to be better.
My vision for the world is to change the lives of women by providing them with resources and opportunities to be empowered. It is not enough to tell these women to be strong, learn a skill or be educated without providing the opportunities to be. And while there sure seem to be chances like that, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially with regard to young ladies who have no access to education.
In order to this, I plan to organize events, workshops, online trainings and classes and provide them with as many structured resources as we can lay our hands on.
How I believe I can accomplish my goals
Here are three ways I plan to accomplish my goals:
1. By building sub-communities online under “Lady with Balls”, of women who will not only be taught but will also build one another. Truth be told, there is really nothing as much as being able to connect with other people who share the same passion and values with you. To accomplish my goal of helping women become educated, independent and empowered, I plan to build sub-communities. These sub-communities will cut across different ranges of sectors and they will include communities for:
-Female entrepreneurs (i.e those who have businesses and/or intend to build one);
-Young professional women (those who are employed or are seeking employment);
-For freelancers (otherwise referred to as creatives) and
The idea of these communities is to have young women of like minds come together, learn from a higher authority as often as is needed and learn from one another as well.
2. By organizing events, trainings, workshops and courses which will all be tailored to the needs and specifications of each member of the community. A popular mistake that a lot make is thinking that one size fits all when it comes to empowering people. Well, that’s not true. People have different thought patterns, backgrounds, interests and skills. Exposing and introducing them to the right kind of knowledge is crucial to be able to see results.
3. By having a regular (monthly or quarterly) outdoor outreach where I and hopefully a team of passionate minds like myself can keep reaching out to women and educating them enough to be empowered and independent.
4. By building a business around these goals (without bothering the beneficiaries) so that come what may, the dream is well-funded to continue.
Why I Need a Toptal Support
Changing the world like I want to would be difficult without the right kind of funds. With the 10,000-dollar scholarship from Toptal, I will be able to:
-Establish these young-women communities (as explained above)
-Organize regular life-changing and impactful professional events and workshops for young women.
-Organize trainings, classes and courses (both online and offline) that would facilitate the development of important skills that women need to have them empowered.
-Create a structure that not only allows me to bring that much-needed change to my community and in extension the world but also allows other people do their bit like I am/will continue to in changing their world and in extension the world.
Why I Need a Toptal Mentor
I believe the pace of life’s solutions is faster when taken on the heels of people that are already ahead. Mentorship will, therefore, afford me the requisite knowledge and learnings to do much more. In my research of the stories and impact of past winners of the Toptal Scholarship and I solidly believe that Toptal gives the right leverage I and a teeming population of individuals world over need to make those dreams a real and positive reality in the lives of other individuals like ourselves. Having a Toptal mentor will:
1. Allow me a better understanding of how to achieve my dreams; the aims and objectives of the goals I highlighted above.
2. Prevent me from making avoidable mistakes in the course of execution.
3. Help me learn all there is to learn about leading people and managing projects successfully.
Having well-articulated my vision, I strongly believe that I really can change the world with a Toptal Scholarship. Thank you, Toptal, for this opportunity!