Mama Ekundayo has been described as the Mother Theresa of Africa, because she dedicated most of her life to take care of orphans and abandoned children in the society.
In 2007, she adopted her 469th child, and by the year 2008; she had already cared for over 500 children. This act earned her the nickname “Olomo yeye”, which means someone with many children.
Her lifestyle projected the meaning of her name, “Ekundayo,” which is translated to mean, “tears have turned to joy” in Yoruba language.
Mama Ekundayo, who’s real name is Janet Ekundayo gave birth to five children of her own, but that did not stop her from adopting other kids because of her love for children.
She enjoyed the company of little children, therefore taking care of them came naturally to her.
In 1969, Mama Ekundayo made a decision to dedicate the rest of her life to taking care of orphans and abandoned children.
For over 50 years, Mama Janet Ekundayo ran the Ekundayo Orphanage Home in Isanlu Makutu, Kogi state. She has been described as one of the most influential Kogi Women of all time.
Without a political connection or patronizing those in power, Mama Ekundayo managed to leave her footprints on the ageless rocks of time. Now let me tell you how her story started….
BIRTH AND EARLY DAYS
As at the time she was born, records were not widely kept but estimates put her age as at the time she died to be between 80-90+.
FAMILY AND LATER LIFE
Mama Ekundayo was married and she had five biological children of her own -four males and one female. She said taking care of children came naturally to her and she enjoyed the company of children. In Nigeria today, many people care only about their own children and give no damn about others (apologies to Mr. President…lol!). They are much more concerned about their own welfare and economic security. Selfishness is the name of the game. But it is because of Mama Ekundayo’s selflessness that Abiyamo is celebrating her today. Stay in your closet with your family and no one will celebrate you, unless you give back to humanity. Mama Ekundayo had five children but that did not stop her from adopting others and changing the lives of almost 500 children forever. Think outside the box, the world does not revolve around you or your family alone. Even the Sun revolves around another star. LOL! And I am serious about that…lol!
TAKING CARE OF THE ORPHANS
It was back in 1969, that she decided to dedicate the rest of her life to taking care of orphans and abandoned children. By the year 2008, she had cared for over 470 children. These children were from all over the country, from different tribes, size, age groups and ethnic roots. But she took them all and did the best within her ability to care for them all. On how she coped with the challenges and fed them all, she stated that God had been wonderful to her, and that in addition to her own meager material contributions, help also came from kind-hearted individuals, religious organizations and atimes, the local government authorities who made donations and gave provisions. Her orphanage, Ekundayo Children’s Home, is located in Isanlu Makutu, a rural part of Kogi State in North-central Nigeria. (Just a thought, it will be nice if Dino Melaiye and others make regular donations to the various orphanages in Kogi State, no be by Bentley or Polo T-shirts…lol!).
Mama Ekundayo stated that caring for kids was a calling she could not resist, and once she started it, she never stopped until she breathed her last. You see, some people are just phenomenal! And you begin to wonder where they get their kind of pure spirits and souls from, especially in a world that is all about ME, MYSELF and I.
She had a tiny and delicate frame, much like Mother Theresa. She loved to sing a lot and had a very charming aura. Charismatic and always full of smiles, she called on people to sit close to her when they were shy and wanted to sit at a distance. She was quite inviting and full of radiating joy. And she always had lots of prayers for everyone. Reminds you of your grandmother, innit? Interestingly, she did all she did without making any noise or calling for the world’s attention (like some people will not allow us rest with their pictures on Instagram, did I mention your name ni? Or are you Rihanna? LOL!). Mama Ekundayo just did her thing and found satisfaction and happiness in it. Is that not the essence of life?
-Emi ko, ishe Oluwa ni (meaning: It is not by my efforts but by the grace of God).
-Agbara mi ko, agbara Olorun ni (meaning: It is not by my power or might, but that of God). This sign is also at the entrance of her orphanage.
-Bawo ni mashe jeun nigba ti gbogbo awon omo