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Siju Iluyomade: Empowering women for nation-building

With over 30years of been active in legal practice, Siju Iluyomade, the founder and CEO of Arise Women, a faith-based Non-Governmental Organization is a passionate, purpose-driven, and a vessel of transformation who speaks up for the rights of women and provides a platform to empower them.

Siju, as she is fondly called, is a Partner in the Law firm of Iluyomade & Iluyomade& Co., legal practitioners focusing on Corporate Law, International Trade and Finance and Construction Law, Energy Law, Insolvency Government Relations and International – Joint Ventures.

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She has practised Law in several Courts in Nigeria including the Supreme Court of Nigeria and she is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as well as the International Bar Association (IBA).

Her commitment coupled with the fulfilment she derives from empowering her fellow women in accelerating nation building is one of the reasons that birthed Arise Women.

She speaks up for the rights of women and believes that gone are the days of voiceless women. Siju pioneered the Handmaidens Fellowship in 1995 which has now become a popular, purpose-driven and multi-generational fellowship that meets every Wednesday from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM to teach and mentor women from all walks of life.

Testimonies abound of how the Handmaidens gathering has helped many to find their purpose in life. The Handmaidens outreach has donated Eight (8) incubators to the Lagos Island Maternity as well as oxygen gauges, blood pressure machines, diapers, baby clothes, toys, etc.

In addition, the Handmaidens, in conjunction with the City of David, Charity Ball donated a dialysis machine to the Gbagada General Hospital. Long known to have nurtured charitable hopes, and determination to help women efficiently thrive in life, Siju institutionalized the Handmaidens Women in Leadership Series (HWILS) to build intentional leaders.

The HWILS is a platform to equip professional and career women with critical skills, and invaluable networking resources for growth through shared stories which propel them to become accomplished successful leaders at all levels of decision making – political, economic, and public life.

In addition, Siju instituted the born to inspire awards to honour and inspire succeeding generations of women. She is also the founder of the Arise women mobile clinics taking free medical care to the grassroots and advancing women’s health through health promotion, education, and advocacy.

She is the convener of the Annual Arise Women’s Conference, a true national landmark programme, which holds every last Saturday of October, for women from every walk of life.

The focus and essence of the Conference are encapsulated in its motto “arise for a woman today” so that the women of influence can take the message of upliftment to the grassroots. Arise women believe that “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” and that women have great power and influence because they have the greatest influence over the development of the children and the home.

To create role models and spread the gospel of women empowerment, Siju launched the Arise Ambassadors Award to deserving women.

The Arise Ambassadors are all over the nation, using their sphere of influence to accelerate nation-building. The vision of Arise Women is abridged in four key areas of influence: Healthcare, skills acquisition and empowerment, education, and leadership.

The medical outreach healthcare has a primal place in the Arise Women’s agenda and on December 16, 2013, they launched the Arise Mobile Clinic and took healthcare to the communities in Ikeja, Surulere, Yaba, Ebute-Metta, Ilaje, Bariga, Makoko, amongst others.

In recognition of her contributions to legal education and development, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Lagos Branch, Nigeria presented Siju a merit award on June 14, 2017. She has also been a discussant and panellist at several legal forums on issues relating to Sexual Offences, Child Abuse, Child and Maternal Health and she is also a major advocate for the girl child education in Nigeria. Siju is on the cutting edge of women’s overall well-being and empowerment.

One of her initiatives- Arise Women’s Mobile Clinics: The Clinic on wheels takes free healthcare to the doorsteps of communities across the nation.

Accompanied by highly committed volunteers and professionals that include, Doctors, Nurses, and laboratory technicians. Arise Women carry out free consultations for diabetes, hypertension, HIV, Sickle – cell anaemia, and cervical cancer screening.

The Arise Women sponsored surgical repair for ten (10) women who developed Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) on a Medical Facility called Mercy Ships, an International Charity.

The Arise Women de-wormed 8,000 pupils under this programme and brought home to little children, the simple meaning of love and care. The NGO started its Out-patient Clinic at the high-end Hospital, Healing Stripes-Dialysis and Diagnostics Centre located in upscale Victoria Island, Lagos.

Arise provides them with quality primary healthcare and assures an environment that enables them to comfortably discuss their health challenges and get solutions. The Arise Out-patient Clinic holds on Wednesdays and twice a month.

The Arise women also catered to the dire needs of the internally displaced persons (IDP) at the Federal Government approved IDP Camps; gave out food and relief materials, and also attended to their medical needs including taking delivery of babies. Under the Arise Prison Medical Outreach, the Arise Women visited Kirikiri and Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos where they provided drugs, sanitary items, and other household items.

Consequently, under the Arise skills acquisition programme, Arise has recognised the hard truth that lending a helping hand to the needy is not only about handing over cash but more importantly, teaching and acquiring skills for economic gains. Arise has in its ten (10) years provided skills acquisition and empowerment for women by sending them to academies to learn leather works millinery, baking soap, pomade and

She plays host to thousands of participants at the arise walk for life, a health awareness walk that is held annually.

In partnership with other women bodies, Arise Women collaborates with wives of top State functionaries and Military Service Chiefs, who are women of great influence and other women bodies including the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), International Women Society (IWS) and Market Women Associations.

According to industry sources, the Arise Adopt–a–Village Scheme is undoubtedly revolutionary. The Arise women have adopted villages under this programme to develop them over a seven-year period.  The Arise Women ventured to Dafara, a rustic village on the precincts of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where they constructed boreholes, renovated and re-equipped primary schools, built a computerized library, provided school furniture, educational tools and software, school bags.

In addition, Arise Women built and commissioned a ten (10) bedroom ultra-modern hospital in November 2018 for the community. In Kpaduma, another village on the precincts of the Federal Capital Territory, the Arise Women built a school and provide facilities to keep the school running.

Arise Women use education and the arise module as a tool to teach compassion, good neighbourliness, tolerance, and kindness.  Also, the Arise goes to school initiative which has visited schools like Queens College, Methodist Girls High School, etc. offers medical care to students, teaching and non-teaching staff.

The Arise Women provided a generator to Rebecca’s room, a resource centre for the visually impaired students of Queens College, Lagos. In Makoko, a riverine area in Lagos, Arise sponsored the building of a school.

Under the leadership of Siju, the Arise for a Woman empowerment campaign was launched on March 9, 2018, with the aim of empowering business owners with N100,000 to move their business forward.

She sits as the Chairman and Director of many Companies including Visible Oil Limited, Visible Energy Services Limited, the Healing Stripes Hospital and the Riverbank School to mention a few. She is a woman of faith and co-Pastors with her husband, Idowu Iluyomade, and they are blessed with children.

Siju has also written several books most of which are Christian literature to edify and inspire the children of God.  The founder has been given an award of Recognition presented by the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists and has a Conferment of Honorary Doctor of Laws.

 

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