Pastor Regina Iyabode Obasa, a retired permanent secretary in Lagos state is the Founder/President of The Counseling Ambassadors Organization [TCAO]; a Christian faith-based non-governmental organization (NGO) in Lagos, Nigeria. In the below interview with Christian Benefits’ Eniola Damilare,, Mrs. Obasa shares her passion for the uplifting of the needy and TCAO’s strides in alleviating the plight of the poor, the hurting and the wounded since inception of the organization 14 years ago. Excerpts
Please can we meet you ma?
I’m Pastor Regina Iyabode Obasa; a retired permanent secretary in Lagos state and the Founder/President of The Counseling Ambassadors Organization (TCAO).
Tell us the aims and objectives of The Counseling Ambassadors Organization (TCAO)?
The Counseling Ambassadors Organization (TCAO) is a Christian faith based non governmental organization (NGO) established for counseling, empowering and mentoring of the less privileged, the hurting and the wounded. Although it is a Christian faith-based NGO, TCAO care mission does not exclude our brothers and sisters in the other faith. We assist all the less privileged, the hurting and the wounded spiritually, financially and materially irrespective of their religion, tribe or gender.
How will you describe the journey thus far since the inception of TCAO about 14 years ago?
We thank God who has given us the grace to face the challenges. We are grateful to him for all he has done and doing for us from inception of this work till now.
Tell us the impacts of the organization on the less privileged over the years?
Over the years we have impacted a lot of the less privileged, the hurting and the wounded in several ways. For instance, when we were three or four years old, a presenter of ‘Owuro Lawa,’ a Yoruba television programme called my attention to a set of new born triplet whose mother could not take care. Their father was nowhere to be found. I went to where the triplet; three boys and their mother were, took them home and looked after them. We later got an accommodation for them and brought clothes, foods and other essential needs for them. The woman said she was a tailor. So, we got a shop and also bought four different machines for her to empower her to take care of the babies. Later, her husband resurfaced. He was also a tailor. And they started living together happily as a family. Also, over the years we had got accommodation for many less privileged, paid school fees, bought laptops and gave other forms of assistance to indigent students. There was a testimony of third year medical student of the University of Lagos who missed one year as a result of the death of his father. We sponsored him and he graduated. We had sponsored some other students to various schools home and abroad. We have assisted and empowered lots of widows over the years. We are still doing all these till date.
What are the major activities or programmes of the organization?
Every February 14th on the Saint Valentine’s Day we hold a talk on relationship with God, spouses, friends and other relatives. We also hold a monthly fellowship with the less privileged where we feed them with the word of God, apart from foods, and sing praises to the Lord. We hold a yearly Praise & Worship concert called Berachah. It is a very significant yearly concert we started in 2007 after the Lord spoke to us in 2006 to come together every May to praise and worship Him. So every May we worship and praise God extravagantly. We use that period to also visit the less privileged homes like the Old People’s home and the physically challenged home and give gifts to them. We also go to the streets to bring more people into God’s kingdom. A lot of people have given their lives to Christ through this concert. We pray to God to bring more people onto Himself through us.
In what ways have families, as a unit, benefited from the organization?
There is an instance of a family whose son heard about us and asked us to assist him pay his school fees. I asked him about his parents. He told me his father lived in Ikorodu while his mother lived around Badagry. He lived with someone and his two sisters were scattered. When we verified his claims and discovered that the family was scattered because of economic challenges, we got an accommodation for the family, brought them together and took care of them for three months. If we had given money to the boy for his school fees his mind would still not be settled to read his books. So, we first settled the accommodation problem of the family.
What are some of the challenges that come with this work?
The major challenge that comes with this work is funds. Sometime insults also come with it when some people accuse of taking money from the Federal or State governments to assist the less privileged and defrauding them. I run TCAO with my resources and the contributions of other ambassadors. Sometimes we also seek assistance from well meaning individuals and organizations. Let me say importantly that every succeeding First lady and distinguished senators of Lagos state have been supporting us in one way or the other over the years.
What informed your passion for charity work to the poor, the hurting and the wounded?
I inherited the passion from my father. My father would bring children from the village around us to eat in our home. Whether we had enough food at home or not, my father would share; even it is one tuber of yam, with the children in the neighborhood. I’ve always been someone who likes looking after people. Also, growing up reading the Bible and understanding the concept of what God wants us to do also shape my life to giving to the poor, the hurting and the wounded, which is basically the vision of The Counseling Ambassadors Organization. How will you preach preach the gospel to a hungry person and expect him to listen to you . The Bible said Jesus went about doing good. When he got to a place where the people were hungry he provided food for them.
In which areas can individuals and corporate organizations support TCAO?
Individuals and corporate organizations can support in the area of funds, particularly in funding our 20-room multipurpose building construction project. It is close the Atlantic Ocean. People can go to the facility to pray and seek the face of God. We want to use the ground floor for people who don’t have a place to lay their heads. The first floor is for people who want to wait alone with God, or relax with their families. We are soliciting the assistance of private and corporate organizations and well meaning individuals and also the federal and state governments.
Tell us more about the area of the organization helping the hurting?
The essence of that area is, instead of hurting people committing suicide or going into depression they should come and talk to us. As human beings we don’t have the solution to all problems. But we believe that with God through His word (The Bible) and wisdom we are helping the hurting out of their situations or depression.
#The Counseling Ambassadors Organization is at 19, Community Road, off Ogunlana street, Off Allen Avenue,( By Mr Big’s), Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: 018797603, 0817757023, 017628863. Email. firstname.lastname@example.org