PARENTS SHOULD LIVE UP TO THEIR EXPECTATIONS - THEODORA CHINYE
For Mrs. Obiajurum Theodora Chinye, tending to kids comes quite easy. As a spinster, Theodora, had always tended her neighbours' kids .She has since taken her hobby and talent to a whole new level and as a profession.
She enjoys organizing activities that are tailored for children,Chinye believes that when a child engages in creative fun activities that require them to work as a team,they achieve sensational results.Activities that are fun yet educational.
How did you take off?
As a young girl, I use to take care of my little ones. I was like a mother to them. Also as a spinster, I have been looking after children like when my neighbors would be going out, they would ask me to help look after their children) It is the same story in the church as I became the head of the children's section where caring for the young ones became my duty.
I also help out when family members are having parties for their kids. I provide them with the necessary things and arrange to ensure a good party and satisfaction of people. As a mother with kids, my love for children increased. Whenever my neighbors are having issues with their children, they would call me to mediate in the crisis since they believe that I have a way with kids. Whenever my church or friends are organizing a program for children, I am always asked to assist in organizing it since they believe in my ability to manage children's programme. I feel that this skill of organizing and working with kids is a gift from God. That way, I started up my own outfit, Dora Party Packs. Dora Party Paeks was officially registered in October 2007. Our first program was on Independence Day.
(October 1st 2008) at the Calabar Hall, Surulere, Lagos
Why the interest in kids?
Firstly, I have found out that to do this kind of show, you need to go to the schools where you would find children. Again, parents do not seem to have enough time for their wards, the time to take the children to interesting places, so the school does it on their behalf. When programs are organized for children on public holidays like Easter, Children's day, Independence day or Xmas, you would find out that most children are brought by the school, more often than their parents because the parents are involved in their jobs.
I choose to do programmes that are educative for the children, and I feel such informal approach to learning helps children develop well. Like I said earlier, Dora Party is an organization born to make children happy. Children deserve to enjoy themselves in a well organized environment. They are the smaller versions of adults.
However, doing business in this country is not easy, be it service or goods-oriented.
What ever a man does in life, there are challenges. Challenges come in different ways. The major challenges we go through in organizing events of any type, be it adult or children programme is finance and participation. Organizing events for both adults and children is capital intensive. You will need a lot of money. A lot of companies find it difficult to assist financially. However, we still have a few manufacturing companies that have assisted us with promotional items.
Talking about participation, most schools are looking for cheap event centres to take their kids to. What I mean here, where they will pay less and enjoy more. Some entertainers will promise what they donÃt have or cannot afford and when the children get there, they will be disappointed. Most schools will want to have play things like train, castle, trampoline etc and when you tell them the gate fees, you find out that they can't afford it. As such, they will like to go to where they will pay less and will not be satisfied. Service-oriented business is all about satisfaction. When your customers are not satisfied with your services, they would go somewhere else.
Can you tell what your vision for this project is?
My vision is to develop Dora Party Packs to a level were the three tiers of government will partner with her in providing children with entertainment / education through our expanded programs. We wish to organize a nationwide program aimed at making our kids more interested in our country, Nigeria. This is the only way to guarantee a future generation with leaders free of corruption and other social ills. We would also like to partner with corporate bodies who are willing to invest in children by sponsoring our programmes.
I wish that through our seminars, we will be able to groom a group of future leaders, free from the problems currently affecting the country. Secondly, on our entertainment segment, we hope to help develop our children morally, mentally and physically as they grow from childhood to adulthood.
What has it been like in the last couple of years?
It has not been easy funding it from the family purse and support from friends and extended family. However, I will not fail to mention the fact that it has been a success story because the present event has been better than the past. In my first event, I had only 50 kids in attendance with assistance from my husband. In the second program, the number of children increased to 120 with support from MTN Foundation. The subsequent events, recorded increase in the number of children with support from some companies. The companies gave us promotional items.
Sponsorship can be viewed from two areas. To the planners, it helps in proving the necessary funding and items for the event.
Would you say that it is difficult to get corporate sponsorship for your shows?
Yes, Corporate sponsorship has been very difficult because most corporate bodies are not willing to sponsor financially. Finance is the basic need for a successful event. However, I must not fail to say that some corporate bodies help us with promotion items.
Were there times you felt like packing up the idea and what has been your strength ?
When I had the first program, I visited over 50 schools personally, sent invitation letters to over 150 schools with the help of some marketers whom I paid. I also employed the services of 30 people to help look after the children. Rented venue and other equipment but at the end of the day, only 50 children came. After every thing, I went home and I cried. My husband encouraged me and told me to take it in good faith. By the next day, I had put it behind me, looking forward to another event.
God has been the source of my strength, He has always put smiles on my face no matter the circumstance.
As a mother and having been involved with children for sometime now, do you think that today's parents have done well enough to earn some credit in taking care of their wards?
No, they have done nothing to earn any credit at all. Because all their time is spent on education, career and money at the expense of their responsibility at home
They have failed generally in the upbringing of the children. Parents leave their children in the care of house helps. Some are left at just six months or below.
Can you imagine that parents would leave their tiny little kids at the day care all day long, others are kept in the boarding schools at an early age of four years while chasing money and contracts?
Yes, my heart goes out to the working class mothers and I can understand their plight, but what about the house wives?
What we lack in this our society is moral upbringing.
I think that if we bring up our children with good morals, we will be able to reduce societal ills and the society will be a better place for everyone.