Pastor Mrs. Foluso Babasola, President, Charlotte Foluso Foundation (CFF), has made a case for the right of every human being irrespective of class, position or status, to a decent living. Shortly after the recent sharing of palliatives and free medical care by the foundation to some widows and other attendants at the second year anniversary of Living Life International Tabernacle in Lagos, Mrs. Babasola shares with Christian Benefits the vision and the impact of the foundation in ensuring everyone has the right to survival, adequate nutrition and development to live the life of dignity in all aspects. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Please, how do will introduce you ma?
I am Pastor Foluso Babasola, the President of Charlotte Foluso Foundation (CFF). The foundation works with individuals and communities towards achieving overall growth and development. The vision of the foundation is to ensure everyone has the right to survival, adequate nutrition and development to live the life of dignity in all aspects.
Can we have a look at your background and profile?
I was born and bred in Ijebu Ode, Ogun state. I am a nurse/midwife and nutritionist. I am a graduate of African Nutrition Leadership programme in South Africa. I also attended Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and University of Lagos (UNILAG) where I studied Business Administration. I worked as country Nutrition & Health Manager for Unilever with oversight for West Africa. After my retirement at Unilever, I set up a Nutrition and Health Consultancy Agency known as Charlotte XpertSolutions where I provide strategic leadership/direction as the Managing Director & Lead Consultant. I also set up a private nursery/primary school.
What informed your charity work as the President of Charlotte Foluso Foundation (CFF)?
My husband and I were into charity work while he was alive; impacting the lives of widows, the fatherless, the motherless, the orphans and people with one challenge or the other in the community. We worked together lifting the pains of people by improving the quality of their lives. So as a wife I had to embrace his vision of impacting lives positively. He did things without making noise. He visited communities impacting lives and ministry works without making noise. He loved operating in the background. He was a silent achiever. I followed his intuitions. Before he died he told me to register a foundation. I said we should do it in our names but he told me he would do it in my name. So, that was how we came about Charlotte Foluso Foundation (CFF).Tell us more about your late husband and his charity work till he passed?
My husband had the gift of prayer. Apart from visiting communities, he also did his ministrations and charity activities online. After he passed, we decided to continue his vision of impacting lives, giving back to the society; and as Christians, showcasing Christ to people, nurturing them with the word of God and ministering Christ to them. While ministering Christ to them we show them love, give them whatever we think will uplift their spirits so that they would believe in the God that we serve. We don’t enforce it on them. Rather, they see it for themselves and make the decision to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. We run a church, Living Life International Tabernacle. Most of the things we do are within our community; impacting the lives of people.
Tell us your experience running the foundation since your husband passed
Initially, it was very challenging because we were inseparable till he passed. We did things together. We got married in 1990. We never slept in separate bedrooms. We travelled together. We worshipped God together. He loved me and the children with passion. He was also very fond of his family and mine. He was indeed a part of me; a loving and family man to the core. When he was removed completely from me I didn’t know I would still be alive. It was really very challenging because people always saw us doing things together.
How did you manage all these to keep the church and the foundation moving?
It is because of my strong faith in God and believe in Him. He says in the Bible my ways are not your ways, neither my words your words… I believe in God that I serve. He is too faithful to disappoint or leave me. He is always there supporting me all the way. I keep the faith and see things happening, which propels me to keep on impacting lives. I also help people with their tuition I am always glad when I am able to put smile on people’s faces. That’s why the motto of Charlotte Foluso Foundation is Little Kindness, Joyful Heart. When you show little kindness to people, you lift their burdens and they would be happy. They would not have suicidal tendencies. They would not feel dejected. They would know that at least someone somewhere is showing love to them. So far so good God has been faithful to me and His grace is sufficient for me. I can only thank Him that I am still alive by His grace and mercy, which are working for me.
The foundation in conjunction with Living Life International Tabernacle recently shared palliatives to some widows and other people. How did it go?
It went very well and the turnout was good. I was looking at WhatsApp statuses and saw a woman who posted Ankara fabrics on her status and God ministered to me to bless five widows with five Ankara fabrics. I called the woman and told her I need five of the Ankara fabrics she posted. She gave me the cost. I collected her account details and transferred the money to her. I then sent someone to pick them for me. I felt so happy and fulfilled. It feels so good to listen to the voice of God. God talks to us in different ways. I hardly view people’s WhatsApp statuses because I am not a WhatsApp person. Few days later God ministered to me to increase it to 10 Ankara fabrics but by the grace of God, we will give out 30 Ankara fabrics to 30 widows in Year 2024. Apart from the palliatives, we also cook food for people because a lot of people are hungry, and a hungry man is an angry man. If you give them food they would be happy. A lot of people were just passing by and saw people gathered. Last year we brought five medical doctors and dental surgeons to attend to the general and oral health needs of people. They were volunteers who believed in our vision. We did not pay them money. They came and offered their services free of charge. God has a way of rewarding people. We have started making arrangement for opticians and optometrists for next year to test people’s eyes and share glasses to them. Last year we treated approximately 50 patients for tooth extractions, scaling and polishing. If they had visited the hospitals they would pay a lot. But we did it free of charge, however referrals to government hospitals were made in critical cases for further treatments.In what way can individuals, governments, corporate organizations and even churches support Charlotte Foluso Foundation in its charities to the needy?
If they believe in our vision and mission, we will share the vision and mission with them and write letters to them for support, showcasing what we have done in the past. In Year 2022, some people brought various gift items to share to people. Between last year and this year, a lot has happened in Nigeria. There is poverty in the land and people are hungry and cannot even afford basic medical treatment. Some brought pasta and other food items to share to people. This year some people who believe in our vision donated money to support our laudable initiatives. They called for our account details. I told some of them they can buy what they have in mind and send them to us because I am a woman of integrity, which is very core. I don’t want to be seen as someone who they give money and can’t account for it. So, it is better they buy the food stuffs and send them to us, and they would see what they have done. Some would say they don’t have the time to go to the market and send money to our account. Immediately, I transfer the money to the appropriate personnel to buy the food stuffs for sharing to people. This year we got three bags of rice from some kind-hearted individuals. A bag of rice is now very expensive in Nigeria. But no matter how little, it will help in solving starvation problems. We gave rice to people with tomato pastes, seasonings cubes, salt, toothpaste and toothbrushes and other items as palliatives and they were happy.
How much fulfilled are you doing this charity work to the needy?
When I impact lives I feel very happy and fulfilled that I have contributed my quota to humanity. Putting smiles on the faces of people is my joy because fingers are not equal. So, no matter how little God has blessed you, share a little to the less privileged. We came into this world with nothing. Definitely we shall leave the world absolutely with nothing in our hands. So, why hoard what you can bless some other people with? Give out and God will bless you more.
Share with us your salvation encounter by which you became a believer
I had my salvation encounter in secondary school. I was born and bred in a devoted Muslim family. My father and grandfather were Chief Imams. But I attended a Catholic mission school, Saint Mary Grammar School, Iwo. I love to worship God and participated fully in church activities. I also started to read the Bible which was given to me by one of our Reverend Sisters. This opened my eyes as a Muslim girl to embrace Christianity. There are lots of hidden secrets in the Bible that I was surprised seeing some pastors visiting my Imam father for consultations. I felt if they could read the Bible devotedly they would know that the Bible is a complete book. My grandfather usually had his prayers between 1am -5am and I joined him sometimes. I often heard him reverenced Jesus Christ in his prayers. One day I asked him why he always reverences and honors Jesus in his prayers. He said if I want urgent response to my prayers, I must reverence Jesus in my prayers. I said to myself if my grandfather; an imam could be reverencing Jesus, why can’t I accept that same Jesus Christ fully as my personal Lord and Saviour. That was how I surrendered my life over to Jesus Christ in 1975 as my Lord and personal saviour without anyone preaching him to me. He remains my Lord and saviour till eternity.
How will you describe your walk with God since you accepted Christ in 1975?
God has always showed up for me. If I ask Him anything; even if I don’t know how it would come, it would surely happen. Let me share a testimony. The head of my school got married recently. The driver who took me to the wedding parked the car somewhere and we entered the church for the ceremony. The reception was also done in the church auditorium. When we finished at the reception, the driver went to bring the car and discovered the brand new battery in the car that I bought for N45,000 was missing. When the bride’s mum heard about the missing battery, she was unhappy. I told her, don’t worry, and I started laughing and praising God in my mind because I knew God would definitely show up for me. I knew He has a reason for the missing battery. I was positive that perhaps He was preventing us from an accident ahead. The next Monday, a pastor called me and requested for my account details. I texted it to him and he credited me with N50,000 with a text message, please, manage this token. Another person who I impacted his life, same Monday credited my account with N100,000 to wish me a merry Christmas in advance. So, God has been wonderful and marvelous to me in my walk with Him. Whenever I am down He always shows up for me. He alone knows why things happen. I don’t fault Him. My children too have always been receiving favour from God. So, I can only but thank God for all he does for me. The loss of the N45,000 battery fetched me N150,000 because God showed up for me. In every bad situation, God will always show up and make a way if I just believe in Him.
BRIEF PROFILE OF FOLUSO BABASOLA
Foluso Babasola, FNSN, is the MD/CEO & Lead Consultant, Charlotte XpertSolutions Limited – A Nutrition & Health Consulting Agency. She is the founder and President of RUTAB Schools, Lagos. Founder/President Charlotte Foluso Foundation (CFF). She is the Nutrition Consultant of Indulge in Healthy Living (health & fitness) Magazine and The Living Marriage Magazine.
Foluso Babasola, a graduate of African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP), South Africa, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands, University of Lagos & a registered Nurse/Midwife. She is a Fellow Nutrition Society of Nigeria (FNSN); she was the National Treasurer – Nutrition Society of Nigeria, was an Ex-officio member of Council, former Chairman Linkages/Fund Raising and Endorsement Committee of NSN, Member Endorsement Committee of NSN, she is a member of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, a Member and Volunteer of Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF).
Foluso has over 30 years experience in the field of Nutrition & Health Management, Marketing/Brand Building and Public Relations. Prior to going into private practice, Foluso worked as Country Nutrition & Health Manager with oversight functions for West Africa, Brand Manager and Assistant Brand Manager for Unilever. She was a matron of San Marie and Jones Street hospital, Lagos.
Foluso is a smart, level headed, young lady, a woman of integrity who loves her husband and children with passion. Honest, forthright, great team player, pushful, strategic influencer, strong will power & energetic with inner drive for success. She is nicknamed ‘First Lady’ amongst her friends and colleagues because of her networking and strategic influencing capabilities. Foluso is an achiever anytime, any day who believes in breaking new frontiers…
Foluso has attended various leadership and professional courses within and outside Nigeria. She is a motivational and leadership speaker/coach, a seasoned administrator and a visionary leader. She loves to impact the lives of the vulnerable groups (particularly children, youths and women of all age groups) and the downtrodden positively through charity work. She is a counsellor and actively engages in community service. She is a Don in her areas of calling…
Foluso was happily married to the love of her life for over 31 years. Became a widow in 2021. She is a mother and grandmother.