Ooni empowers over 100 students with sewing machines, establishes Ojaja fashion institute

About 100 students who made up the lucky beneficiaries that received some tailoring materials from House of Oduduwa Foundation was present at the Ojaja Fashion Training Programme launch in Lagos by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife during a gala night to mark the end of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN 2018) show.

Special guests at the event include Her Excellency; Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, wife of the governor of Ogun State; Olugbon of Orileigbon, Oba Olushola Alao and his Olori; Senator Ita Giwa;

Senator Daisy Danjuma, Chief Mrs. Opral Benson; Chief Dele Momodu; Princess Abbah Folawiyo and host of other influential personalities in both fashion and business who has contributed much in the growth of fashion industry.

The lucky recipients were in high spirit as they were presented to the Ooni by the coordinators of the programme, Chairman of the House of Oduduwa Foundation, Chief Jide Fadairo and Princess Ronke Ademiluyi for a royal blessing.

The students while appreciating the Ooni presented a song and thanked him for coming to their aid. Esther Awosunle, one of the students who spoke on behalf of the group praised the Ooni for his untiring efforts towards helping the needy in the society particularly the youths.

She thanked him for facilitating the project and disclosed that “had it not been the Ooni who empowered the project, we would have been sitting at home doing nothing.”

She also praised the good effort of the Institute’s coordinator, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, CEO of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, who took her time to fish them out from their various places and encouraged them to come and learn for free.

“Having received free training, sewing machines and other tailoring materials, we can work on our own to help our families,” says Esther.

The coordinator of the Ojaja Fashion Training Institute, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi while talking to the press said; “I am happy about it.

The launch today shows that all the while the Ooni has been the grand patron of the Africa Fashion Week both London and Nigeria, he has allowed himself to see the benefits from what designers do in the fashion industry and to see how we can benefit from it.

His aim is also to help young women and men who want to go into the fashion industry.

It is the AFWN project that gingers him to open the fashion institute because he saw that the designers were part of the fashion week programme, and how they have used it to promote made in Nigerian and Africa products.”

“Currently the training is free including the hostel accommodation, equipment and logistics, all facilitated by His imperial majesty.

Other benefits of the institution is exposing the students to some international programmes and engaging them officially to design costumes that will be used for cultural festivals like the Osun Olojo festival and other events within Ife, Osun State and beyond.

The duration varies. It runs from three months to a year and when they graduate, they stay on their own and earn a living with it,” Princess Ronke added.

Speaking, Chief Fadairo thanked the Ooni for supporting the project and other numerous projects the foundation is embarking on. He however, extolled the virtues of the Kabiyesi for empowering youths in the country and making them better citizens.

“Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has been doing everything towards upgrading and upholding the cultural and traditional values of his people; therefore providing help for these designers.

Every other setup is also to equip and breed designers who will serve the purpose of upholding African culture and tradition for the outside world to see.”

The special guest at the ceremony, Olugbon of OrileIgbo, Oba Olushola Alao said; “The Ooni is so passionate about our youths and he is not relenting to empower them meaningfully.

He just wants to encourage people in fashion and entertainment industry by setting up this fashion institute so that the proceeds can also be utilised for charitable people in the society.

And having engaged me as part of his initiatives, he wants the project to be institutionalised it in the entire country to support the less privileged.”

Meanwhile, the event also coincided with the grand finale of the 2-day Africa Fashion Week Nigeria show with international and local designers showcasing the richness of African fabrics and design. About 20 designers across African participated in the show.

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Chuka Francis

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