‘I’m Fulfilled Being a Shoemaker’

The saying that, what a man can do, a woman can do better seems to be the nudge that is making Adeola Adewole, a female Biology student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) to see hope in shoemaking.

The 24-year-old entrepreneur has found a niche in shoemaking, a pastime she said she must pursue to a “logical end”. Adeola, who hails from Kwara State, revealed how she ventured into the business.

She said: “I never had the flare for any craftwork and I detested anything pertaining to it. But, I had a dream one day in which I saw myself making shoes for people. When I woke up, I shared the dream with some of my friends and we all laughed it off as a bad idea. But, I was bothered about the dream. It was like a pressure from within; the thought kept coming to my mind. When I could no longer bear the psychological pressure, I sought to become an apprentice to a cobbler on campus. From there, I enrolled for entrepreneurship training in shoemaking in Lagos.” Being the only female student practising the craftwork on UDUS campus, Adeola said she felt some bit of embarrassment when passersby would gather around her in surprise, mocking her. She said the action almost discouraged, but the will to succeed and push her trade up boosted her morale.

Does she have her parents’ support to become a cobbler? “No,” Adeola said, adding: “Even though my parents are not in full support of what I do, I don’t see it as a discouragement.”

Making shoes, she said, has been a source of joy and fulfilment for her. “It makes me explore my mind for creativity because I think more. So, I feel sick whenever I am away from my business. The truth is, I have fulfilment being a shoemaker,” she said.

In the face of academic pressure, how does she combine shoemaking with her studies? Adeola admitted she was having challenges combining the two activities, but said she planned her time to attend to her business and academics. However, she insisted that her passion for the craftwork was growing more.

“Though combining academics with entrepreneurship is challenging for me, but good time planning does help me to do the two,” she said.

She advised ladies to embrace entrepreneurship, saying: “I personally don’t see the reason why any lady should graduate without learning one or two skills, especially in this period of unemployment. I believe women can succeed more as a mother and an entrepreneur, rather than being a house a full wife. To me, it is through entrepreneurship that women can be financially independent.”

Mr Cornelius Dasofunjo, a graduate of the school, who taught Adeola how to make shoes, spoke with CAMPUSLIFE, revealing that she is not his first woman trainee.

“Adeola is one of the three ladies I taught shoemaking,” he said.

“Olayinka Obadele, who won state awards on entrepreneurship and now teaches shoemaking, was my first apprentice. Then, I taught another lady, named Praise, on how to design shoes. She just established shoemaking outlet. So, Adeola is the third.”

Dansofunjo, while expressing optimism that his trainees would succeed in the business, said that women usually show unique creativity when engaged in the craftwork dominated by men. He urged young women to emulate Adeola and add value to themselves through free enterprise.

Source: The Nation


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