Turning Rejected Stones Into Cornerstones

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Olawale Noble Liasu was raised in a large family, as the ninth child out of fourteen siblings. As a student, he received his early primary education in the Southwest of Nigeria and then moved to the Northwestern region of the country for his secondary and university education.

He shares, ‘I have been an entrepreneur for decades standing, and my specialty is debunking the lie that some children are untrainable. My schools are avenues for “turning rejected stones into cornerstones,” as it were, among some other positive things. My schools are situated in the semi-urban, north-central State of Plateau, in Nigeria. Today, in addition to running his business, he is also a married clergyman and has three children.

In describing his business he says, ‘My business is in the education sector, with the principal objective of rescuing and training the indigent and less-advantaged children of my community, for a poverty-terminating future. We started with the post-primary (secondary) and pre-varsity sections, but we are currently in pursuit of adding the nursery school, Kindergarten, and primary-education sections of the institution so that a solid foundation can be laid early on in the lives of our pupils.’

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Olawale has been able to raise 10 Zidisha funded loans for his business since joining in 2019. These loans have ranged in cost from $14 to $1,135. With his first few Zidisha funded loans, he worked hard to purchase cement and building materials. Most recently, he has used loans to build a perimeter fence around the school for safety purposes and to keep animals away from the property. The costs for the fencing project included buying the wire fence and also paying for labor to put it in place.

For Olawale, a huge goal of his is to educate students so that they are receiving the same quality of education as many of their peers around the world.

As of July 2002, Olawale requested a $1,135 loan from lenders to help with school reopenings amidst COVID-19, as he says, ‘The Federal Ministry of Education, in its 58-page guidelines for school resumption during this time of global COVID-19 pandemic, demands that there be the provision of water and hand-sanitizer dispensers, which are sacrosanct guidelines. Therefore, this loan would be funneled toward that goal. Our area is enjoying nearly total relief from lockdown. Commercial and economic activities are on the increase. The demand for our services also is increasing, as is our income. Therefore, I do not expect to have problems repaying this loan.’

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The following month, in August, Olawale proudly shared how things have been progressing with his loan as he wrote on his discussion page, ‘Commendable and conscientious lenders, I thank you all. I have successfully retired the entire loan today to God’s glory. The next phase of the project kicks on in earnest, which is the purchase of hands-free water dispensers and hands-free hand sanitizers, an additional move to render the school ministry of education guidelines-compliant on Covid-19 pandemic protocol. I count on your trust. Thanks.’

Would you like to positively impact the life of an entrepreneur and educator like Olawale? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to see how other Zidisha business owners are changing communities around the world.


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