From Unemployed To CEO of A Food Company, Read Tolulope Hassan’s Story

A year plus ago, Tolulope Hassan a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University was unemployed and in search of self validation. Today she’s the CEO of a fast rising food business with big dreams she’s already achieving. Read her inspiring story here.

I studied Chemistry at the University. For someone who had always been an honours student, I suddenly found myself not doing so well in Chemistry. Like so many other people, my journey to self – discovery began then. Amongst many other things, I discovered that I ‘’ aced’’ the few business courses woven into my coursework. I knew then, I was on the wrong academic path. I guess somewhere in my mind, the thought had formed.. .’’ Hey, you could really thrive in business’’

The journey to being the founder of Steam Quarters has been an interesting one to say the least.

I was unemployed for a while and it was a very painful period. My credentials were not the best on the block so; I remained on the shelf for a while. I should mention though, that at this point I had some clarity about who I was, I just needed an opportunity. I wanted someone to look past my credentials, and identify the potential in me. I wanted to prove my worth to any organization. You could say it wasn’t enough that God affirmed me, I wanted some external proof of my worth.

My mantra was ‘’ the true worth of a thing is what people are willing to pay for it’’

The jobs came after a while. On my second job, I was employed to manage a new company initiative. It was the most challenging task, but that’s where I learnt everything I know about startups and building a business.

‘’Unemployment is a vice and a menace’’. ‘’Everyone deserves an opportunity’’. That’s what I’ve learnt from my own experience. That’s what inspires me to do what I do. I just want to contribute my own quota to create as much jobs as possible.

About Steam Quarters

Steam Quarters is a Food/ Lunch delivery service. We cater exclusively to working people, offices and corporate bodies. Unlike any other food delivery outfit currently in business, our meals are homemade and on a subscription.

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Basically what that means is, we want to take the burden of always having to sort out lunch away from the shoulders of our customers. Yes, we have figured that even doing something as simple as ordering for your own meals every single day can become a drag.

Our Services

So, here’s what we propose, by subscribing to a meal plan, see here for our different meal plans, you have continuous, uninterrupted access to lunch within your subscription validity period. Furthermore, every meal delivered in a box comprises of a main dish, side dish , fruits and water. Click here to view our Business Weekly Menu .

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Asides, form the regular meals cited in the above meal plan, we also have the Fiit-fam weekly. This is perfect for people on a strict diet or a weight loss regimen. It comes packed with low- carbs, oiless meals, more greens and smoothies with each meal.

Finally, we offer tailored catering services for all business events i.e. (Seminars, Trainings, conferences, AGM’s etc.)

To buy a meal plan, simply visit our website to subscribe or reach us on any of the following platforms.Phone: 012914386, 08187395329, 09085465072     Email: sales@steamquarters.com, info@steamquarters.com

Current Challenges

Running a campaign

As with every new innovation, selling the idea of presubscribed meals in a box is a pretty daunting task. Working people have found a way to adapt and survive in the workplace when it comes to meeting their food needs. However, we hope that with a stream of satisfied customers who can testify to the value we bring, we can influence the better part of the workforce to see what we see.

Where do I see Steam Quarters in 2 years??

I see Steam Quarters with outlets across Nigeria. We would have become major stakeholders in the agricultural space. I see Steam Quarters as the first option when it comes to exciting meals and superfast delivery. In 2 years, we hope to have created hundreds of Jobs across Nigeria.

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Steam Quarters also provides catering services for business dinners, luncheons, corporate events,etcIMG_20160210_153509

From All of us at Real Woman Africa We celebrate you!

 

 

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All pictures courtesy Tolu Hassan/Steam Quaters

A Must Read; Part 2 of The Revealing Interview With Drug Abuse Expert

By popular demand, here’s the concluding part our of interview with drug and substance abuse expert, Dr Dokun Adedeji. Not to worry, if you missed the first part, you can find it here

Universities must sit down and agree on admission age .Any child less than 17 should  not enter into Nigerian University. Many of the people we are beginning to see would be 19 year old  final year on drugs for 2 years. They get to school, they are 14/15. They meet people who are a bit more mature. These are people who have never been allowed to do things on their own. They have low self esteem so when they now get to school, they want to belong. They are not mature mentally, even physically to be able to appreciate school

Do you know today people don’t have to go to the joints to buy drugs, they can order drugs online.

Here in Nigeria?

It used to happen abroad. I’m sure its happening in Nigeria now. They brought some Nigerian children who were schooling in Canada and they said that’s how they were buying. I’m sure these things are happening in Nigeria now.

When children receive a package,sometimes maiguards,drivers buy drugs for the children. I know some universities where some ancillary workers are the ones that buy those stuff. Keke riders. There’s a guy I know,he bought his drugs from the guy selling icecream across their school compound. How much does the school know about drugs? How much does the church know about drugs?People are in a state of denial.’Oh, No it doesn’t happen here’’not my child’.

It was documentated in the nation newspaper about 3 months ago. A bright young boy had gotten admission in the university. When he finished his school SAT, his friends decided to have party. When he was leaving, he put some street clothes in his bag. His sister saw it and asked what they were for. He said ‘ Don’t tell mummy’. They were the only 2 children of their mother who was a widow. She said she would join him for the party. At the party they were taking Alomo, tramadol and all kinds of drugs in heavy mixtures.After a while the boy went into respiratory distress. They all got into a car. The children were getting off at different stops. They called the mum,by the time they took him to the hospital he had died. The mother found out from the sister that he was doing drugs. She was shocked. This was a boy who asks for only cocacola and malt when they go out .She never knew and they live in the same house.

Most parents live with strangers in their houses. They parents travel all over the world doing business leaving their children. Those children will destroy the business they leave behind.People don’t sit down to build their homes now. That’s the mess you’re seeing in Nigeria.

My family went to Shoprite in Ghana. I am a very observant person. Virtually all the young people that entered into the mall didn’t have funny hairdos ,didn’t wear earrings or have sagging trousers on . One hour we didn’t see one. Go to Shoprite in Nigeria, you see children with funny hairdos, they dye their hair, boys putting on earrings and  boys sagging. Parents say it’s culture. What kind of culture?

Sagging culture is prison culture. So why are we allowing it?

The moment we let children loose with little things, they would get loose with big things.  We better get serious. It’s not about stifling them. I’ts about sitting down with them and letting them understand. My 8 year old daughter saw a young boy sagging and asked me ‘Why does Mr so and so wear his trousers like that?’ I said it’s because he doesn’t understand that sagging is a prison culture. She said ‘Ehen, I don’t know why he sags’.Would you not think that 8 years is too small. If you hear some of the questions my daughter asks me.I take her sometimes to my ministry. She asks who they are, I tell her. You better let these children know otherwise they would experiment. How much do parents know about drugs?

Do you know they can smoke in your house and they go and buy it and you wouldn’t know.They way they speak/their coded language. If they want to buy marijuana they say ‘so mu efo dani ?(literarily means did you bring vegetables) or have you brought eja(fish)? They have all kinds of terms/slangs for drugs. And yet we sit down there, we don’t care. Today instead of letting a child develop we buy them smart phones. There’s no time to engage them.

In order for them not to distract you you give the a phone, you put on the TV so they are out of your face. We are losing our children,that’s why drugs is taking them. Thats why I feel so depressed. People say ‘we don’t know about your ministry’but when they have issues they call me,how do they know?.Nigerians wait for things to become personal before we do something about a general situation.Let me give you an example’ I tell my friends’ give me some money to support this center. They say no no no. They call them ‘area boys’ Sit down 10 area boys and talk to them, 7 of them are graduates. I’ve seen graduates from University of Massachusetts, London School of Economics, fancy universities, Nigerian universities-Ife. Some of them are in the garage.I still know some of them till today. Some of them were my collegues in Ife.I see them in the joints.

It baffles me when we transfer responsibilities.” Oh look at that man, may God help him’. Would God come down from heaven to help him? When you have the wherewithal.

You would be surprised to know how much I have struggled to get money for this ministry. We spend about 4 million a month. The only money that comes to us on a statutory basis is 100000 Naira a month from a church that we spoke to and a parent church (Redeem Christian Church Of God) that gives 5 million every quarter so how do we make up? Asking. Asking friends, would you like to give a bag of rice this month? A bag of garri? We are an NGO. I have found out that Nigerians don’t really care.

Look at Festive season. People carry children out for Christmas parties. What happens to them after Christmas? You don’t show up again. I read one, Dino Melaye, he had his birthday party in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. Is it now he knew there were people there? They make a show of people’s poverty, they make a show of peoples suffering. Companies would come, and put it in their annual report that they donating 2bags of rice,4 cartons of bournvita. Would that last them a year?

If we don’t invest in these children and help them on a long term basis we are going to create miscreants in our country. 10 years down the line there would be nobody to be in Senate except drug addicts. Those are the things that bother me. That’s why I have dedicated the rest of my life to this and I don’t care what it would cost. Because if we don’t wake up we are going to lose our future. That baffles me. That’s why I speak. I want people to know that we are sitting on a tinderbox.

Sometimes when I speak, parents walk up to me and say I’m just exaggerating but the young people say the man hasn’t given you the details’. The things that are going on in Nigerian universities, most parents would faint and some know that their kids are on drugs. They know and take them to Christian Universities as if that would change them. One boy was rusticated from a university, his parents brought him here. The Dad said, since he was rusticated we’ve been carrying him around, we don’t give him space. The boy was rusticated for marijuana. I told the father to let the boy speak. The boy reeled out the kind of drugs he was into. I asked him when last he took drugs. He said 3 days ago. The father was shocked. They take codeine, marijuana and heavy menthol sweets. They are talking to you and you don’t know what they have done. He goes to the toilet and opens the window and sprays the room. It’s because he doesn’t want you to smell anything. I wish to God that parents would get serious. It’s breaking my heart. We are killing our children. Leaving them exposed to drugs. Some parents only know drugs to be marijuana(Igbo). No. Marijuana today is ;like pure water. You can get it anywhere, cheap. What about tramadol, what about Rohypnol(date rape drug)? There’s Skunk/SK (dried pawpaw leaves+cocaine+marijuana), ’opaiyi’,alomo bitters with all sorts of cocktails

 

TELL TALE SIGNS OF KNOWING YOUR CHILD IS ON DRUGS

I can only give a few. The rest is left to you. If you know your child ,you would know when things change. When a boy who used to be obedient becomes stubborn, recalcitrant, doesn’t care about his physical self anymore, doesn’t comb his hair, you have to force him to take a shower. He hangs on his door ‘do not disturb’, the kind of culture he identifies with are those rugged cultures. Some even drop out of school and many parents don’t know. The way to know is this; ask his teacher how he/she fares in class. I asked a parent to keep tabs on their child. The father dropped him in school, checked back in 30 minutes and he was nowhere to be found. The fact that you drop your child in school doesn’t mean they are in school. How many parents go for PTA meetings? They don’t, especially the Fathers. They say they are working for money. A child begings to wear dark sun glasses at home, wears strong perfume. I’m not saying all who do this are using drugs but those are signs to look out for. There was a woman who came, she just noticed methylated spirit in the house was disappearing. So I told her,buy a new one in the presence of your son. Let him see where you put it then go hide it. The next morning,he said’mummy where is the methylatred spirit’. He had scattered the house. The boy was sniffing methylated spirit.If you don’t watch your children, you would miss some of these things. Don’t be paranoid, but the question is ‘how much of your child do you really know? Your child is changing friends frequently, watch his friends, how do they behave? Those are some of the things you need to watch out for. His grades are dropping in school, a child who used to be very bright. A child starts eating too much, eating too much is a post marijuana symptom. You can’t have all the answers because it depends on the drugs they are taking. It is you that must know your child and know when you’re child is behaving different from what you are used to. Something is wrong, it may not be drugs but something is wrong.

visitors at one of the centers

ABOUT THE REHAB CENTERS

We have 2 in Epe, 1 in Onibudo. The onibudo center is for vocational training. When we take people it’s between 6 months and 1 year, the people who spend 6 months are undergraduates. It’s fully residential. We have staff who live with them, clinical psychologists and psychiatrics who visit and we have a social worker. We entertain all their issues. Drugs are not the only problem, what made the person go into drugs? Low self esteem and all kinds of misdemeanour. If you take away the drugs without sorting that out it would pop up again. We delve into the individual, why did he/she go into drugs? What is sustaining the drug habit? We deal with it. We make them understand that drugs would destroy them and their future. They eventually leave drugs of their own accord. If we are going to take someone in our ministry, you must show a sign of willingness. If a father brings his son and the child says he doesn’t have a drug problem we can’t take him. Because we don’t lock them up, we don’t chain people. We give them their own freedom so they can make up their minds whether they want their lives to be better. If you want to leave we let you leave, it’s not by force. It’s by a conscious realisation of what your life is and what you want your life to be. The 1st 6 months is spent in one center, the next 6 months (particularly for men) is spent in another center to learn vocational traning especially for men. Those who have been on the streets/out of work for a long time so they can live independent lives. Some from there go back to school, to universities and graduate. Those who are undergraduates or professionals spend 6 months. We let them spend 6months.

For women it’s one year straight in one center. The women sometimes can be troublesome because some of them have added prostitution to it. When they know they need drugs, the prostitution brings money that feeds the drug culture. We try to wean them off all those things and to the glory of God we have quite a number of people doing well.

HOW CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT THIS CAUSE?

It’s not only money we need. People can donate their time. They can mentor or find time to come and spend with them. Or give us food stuff. If one person commits to giving a bag of rice a month for a year, it is something for us.We consume about 15 bags of rice, 8 bags of beans,15 bags of garri, cartons of sphaghetti,8 25L kegs of palm oil a month. I mean, there are all kinds of things, you can give us computers, office furniture,house furniture,books,audio visual materials. StanbicIBTC came gave us 100s of books. We are trying to set up a library, because people who come are very educated and they need to be engaged. Above all we want people to visit, it’s when people visit, they would see the true meaning of what I’m saying. That I’m not just blowing grammar. We can even take them to the joints. There is no joint in Lagos I don’t know except it’s a new one. Joints are places where people smoke , drink and use all kinds of drugs. Some people live there. They leave their homes to stay there because the drugs have gotten to them so much that they don’t have a home to go to anymore .It’s very pathetic. People sleep on the floor. You would see the kind of ghetto lives people live because of what drugs has done to them. Why do you think there’s a high rate of criminal activity? Drugs. This problem affects all of us.If your child doesn’t use drugs, someone else’s will and become a thief and a murderer in Shitta or Apongbon. Lets be selfish for altruistic reasons.

Dr Dokun Adedeji

 

 

 

 

From Common Places Children Hide Drugs In The Home, To Reasons For Engaging In Drugs, Expert Tells Us Why This is A Much Bigger Problem Than We Thought

Dr Dokun Adedeji was very enthusiastic about giving this interview. We just got settled into the CADAM office in Ikeja when he began to pour his heart out. A retired medical practitioner who had a glowing career with Cadbury Nigeria talks fiercely about his lifelong passion-rehabilitating  drug addicts. A passion he has immersed himself in for 23 years(and counting) with local and international awards, he sat down with real woman Africa to expose some truths about this serious issue.

 

How did you get involved in drug rehabilitation?

I need to say this. I think it’s divine. I never smoked or drank. I was very rascally in medical school. A lot of my friends died in the process and I didn’t die. It didn’t bother me until I became a Christian (i.e. born again) in 1991. I said ‘God there must be a reason why you kept me’. I wanted to know why He kept me. In 1992 thereabout, I was in Church. The pastor was preaching, he said something about a ministry called Drug Addict Rehabilitation Ministry and who ever wanted to join should raise his hands. I raised my hands , he said wait after service. I waited. We were not more than 6.They began to talk and I got engaged. I said to myself,’ this is wonderful’. That was how I became a member of the ministry. Thereafter, we changed the name to CADAM-Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry because Christ is the element of change that I see there. If we left it as Drug Addict Rehabilitation Ministry it would be stigmatising. Since 1993, I have been the National Coordinator. We have done a lot of good things, all thanks to God. That’s how I got into drug rehab. It came naturally-the discussions, actions and activities. Then God said, ’now you understand why I saved you’. Believe me that is the only thing that has kept me. I don’t get paid for it. We don’t make noise about it. It’s not a ministry of noise making, it’s a ministry of doing stuff. He has really kept me and allowed me actualise my medical practise. This has given me the opportunity to understand people and know why people do the things they do and we need to engage families.

 

How bad is the Drug Problem?

I must say, the very pathetic case for me is that people don’t believe it’s a problem. It breaks my heart because I know what I see in the joints, in the centers. We have 3 centers,2 for men,1 for women. Anytime we are have an interview (for new intakes) over a 100 young people come and we can’t take 100. We can only take about 60. So what happens to the 40? If I tell you my knowledge about the number of young people that take drugs you would be shocked.

An estimate from field experience, out of 10 students,8 probably would be taking drugs.

We know as a matter of fact at least 25% of young people have used drugs one way or the other within the context of 1 year and the numbers are increasing. Right now we work with 8 Nigerian universities who send their students to us for rehab,upon our recommendation they take them back to school and let them graduate if they don’t continue. Some of the students tell me stuff. I have been to some of these schools and many of the authorities have called me to say they have found drugs ,and some people confess.To say 8 out of 10 might be a guestimate and under the bed. That is how huge the problem is. There is a proliferation of drug joints,at least Lagos I know.I can tell you that it’s across the country.

I got information recently that in the north,codeine is a huge problem even amongst married women not to mention young people. You see, they have found various ways of serving these things. Codeine for instance, they put it in fura de nunu . They sell it in zobo and all those things, people buy. People who buy from those who hawk it know what they are buying.

Let me give an example of what students do. They drink benylin with codeine neat. Anyone that has codeine derivative- benylin with codeine, tutulin, pakalin, emzolyn, any of those ones, coflin. They either drink it neat or they buy pepsi/coke/lacasera. They pour a bit of coke away and put 2/3 bottles of codeine. When they carry it, you would think they are drinking coke. Which means they can drink it in the house and no one would be the wiser. Many prescription drugs today are being abused. Tramadol, is being abused. Injection pentasozine is being abused. Particularly by sicklers. I have seen some sicklers who are drug addicts because a doctor prescribed injection pentasozine and they liked it. And thereafter they buy it. You know here you can buy any drug across the counter. Those are huge issues for Nigeria.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A YOUNG PERSON/MARRIED WOMAN TURN TO DRUGS?

For young people experimentation.Peer pressure, low self esteem.Many, disrupted family issues.That is major. What parents don’t know is this,because from my experience, the child looks normal at home.

What parents do is they bribe their children with gifts,cars,taking them on summer vacation but they don’t engage them.

Let me give you an example from a practical case I’m handling. This boy’s issue started in primary school. It didn’t start with drugs. He wanted to go a particular school different from what his parents wanted. He resented it but no one gave him a chance because he was just about 11 years. He went to school. He had guardian. His guardian beat him one day, gave him about 80 strokes because of a minor misdemeanour. The guy was mad. He was sulking. His parents came to visit at weekend, no body asked him why he was crying. Everyone just thought it was a normal thing and he said  to himself ‘ you my dad, I’m going to show you’. He was 11 or 12 years old. By the time he was leaving secondary school he said he wanted to go to a particular university. His Fath discouraged the idea. That was how it started , he went into drugs. Very bright boy,very smart.Eventually he dropped out of school after part 3. Now,he’s in his 20’s. He is floating. He was refered to me. His Father spoke to me,he was there. I asked the father to excuse us for a while. When he began to speak, I asked him ‘did you tell your parents?’ He said ‘I haven’t told them’.When the Father came I told him.’ Do you know why this guy is doing this?.No body cares. You only cared about what you wanted for him. You never asked what he wanted for himself.

Mistake most parents make. They think they know what is good for their kids. I understand that. But do we discuss? Do we let them make choices even when they make errors do we help them to get up? Or we do’ Ah you, see your brother, he’s doing well’. I need parents to be more aware of their parental responsibilities. People say things like’ both parents are working. I don’t have a problem with it but I think a woman must choose a vocation/profession that allows her time with her kids.

There was this particular woman I met at a school I was invited to speak. After I left the woman ran after me and said ‘why are you talking about me?’ I said ‘I don’t even know you, I have never met you before’. She said because everything I spoke about referred to her. She said she has 3 kids. She was a stay at home mum for a while but got bored with it. She eventually got a job in a bank. One day, she fell ill, they gave her 3 days off. From the office, she came home. When they were going to pick the kids, she went with the driver. The children were surprised. Next morning, afternoon she went to pick them. The children said’ Mummy there must be something wrong? Why are you coming with the driver? The next morning the last child wanted to pray during devotion, he said’ God, We don’t know what you have done to mummy, please continue to do it’.They never saw her before during daytime. The woman was shocked. After I spoke she said she was going to resign that day.

We think children below 6 are young. They maybe young but they are mentally aware.They understand what parental relationship should be. They want to cuddle mummy and daddy. And they are not there.They brought one boy from Calabar, the Father is a Professor, mother a medical doctor.When this boy came, at age 18,you could see anger on his face. The Father wanted to speak, the boy cut him short shouting’ what do you want to say? Now you want to talk? When i needed you where were you?Mummy on night duty,Father in the study saying ‘can’t you see im preparing for lectures tomorrow’.

No body was talking to him. These kids when we think they are stubborn,they are asking for help. ‘I need someone to talk to’. Thats why they are craving your attention. Thats why when they do some things don’t necessarily see it as wrong, see it as an action saying ‘I need to be corrected,I need direction, I need help.We’ve got problems here. So when you see that in young people those are some of the reasons why.How much do parents know about drugs?

Do you know they can smoke in your house and they go and buy it and you wouldn’t know.They way they speak/their coded language. If they want to buy marijuana they say……There’s a lot more to share from Dr Dokuns Interview. More this weekend!TO BE CONTINUED