From Her Point of View
Seyi Oluyole, been through it all, yet a beacon of hope to the helpless
Seyi Oluyole is a 27 year old dance choreographer, film maker and humanitarian. She is the founder and executive director of the Dream Nurture Foundation. She is also the founder of the The Dream Catchers Dance Academy – an initiative that uses dance to keep street kids in school. Seyi Oluyole also houses some of these kids and provides them welfare, healthcare, clothing and educational opportunities. She believes every child deserves an opportunity to succeed irrespective of their background. And she is dedicated to saving as many underserved children as possible.
Where it all Began
Growing up was interesting. I grew up in a middle class family but when I was 10, my family suffered a financial crisis and we were displaced for a while. I experienced some form of hardship and I wished that a benefactor would come. No one came. This made me decide to work hard to make something of myself so I can be the hope for underserved kids. I wanted to be the person I had wished someone else was to me during my hard time.
Dream Nurture Foundation
The Dream Nurture Foundation is a registered NGO in Nigeria that provides educational opportunities for despondent children. It was established so that we can reach as many children who are out of school and encourage them to be in school and aspire to be great.
Every year, we offer free summer classes to children in slums and give them back to school materials. So far, we have reached over 1,000 kids. We have seen kids go back to school and kids whose resolve to stay in school has been strengthened. Our goal is to have proper Community Centre where underserved kids can come in and learn and have fun.
The Dream Catchers Dance Academy
The Dream Catchers Dance Academy was born after my experience from living close to slums. After about 3 years of financial crisis with my family, we were able to rent a house close to a slum.
I discovered that in the area, people lived in wooden house beside the beach. They did not have bathrooms and the children barely went to school. The highest achievement was JSS3 for the boys and the girls usually dropped out before JSS3 due to pregnancy.
I wanted to changed things, so I started a dance group, Victorious Dancers, to take kids, some of which were my mates, others a year older, out of the slum and back to school. One year later, star actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde was holding a fundraising concert and I was able to get Victorious Dancers to perform. I told the kids that if they wanted to perform with the group, they’d have to go back to school, they agreed, and this was the beginning of me getting indigent kids back to school.
Later on, I was able to convince my parents to have some of the kids come live with us and continue their education, with the consent of the kids’ parents.
My success story is definitely seeing these kids have a better life. I have kids who have passed through the academy and are now in the university. One of them graduated last year. The kids who were in the slum are now better individuals. It is my hope that I can do the same with this current set.
I want the Dream Catchers to be on stage with celebrities like Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Beyonce. To perform at the Grammy’s, VMA’s. BET and even Coachella. I want them to remain a beacon of hope to kids who are in the slum and still in the street. My goal is to help as many kids as I can. To have a structured academy around the world where we can empower underserved kids and help them fulfil their potentials.
Why the passion for children?
I am passionate about children because they are very easy to influence and they are the foundation of all that is good and bad. It is easy to mould children into great adults. Also, as children we don’t get to choose. We find ourselves in certain situations that we have to live through. I want to give children an opportunity at a better life. Their innocence is very endearing.
How are you able to raise finance to support this initiative?
I usually do crowd funding on social media. I also use my salary and a few times when we get paid for dance.
Meeting their health needs
I make sure they feed well and I also try to give them Vitamin C every day. I also pray a lot. Whenever I notice any sign of illness, I immediately take them to see a doctor.
What assistance do you seek to make this initiative bigger?
I seek financial assistance to be able to build a proper centre so that the Dream Catchers Dance Academy can admit as many kids as possible. It would be free for the kids because the initiative is for kids from poor homes and from the street. We need the support of everyone to help us build a proper Academy and a home for the kids. This way, we can cater to as many of them as possible.
Share on your filmmaking background and achievements in this light
I began film making when I was 21. I fell in love with the art and begun to take classes and work on my craft. I write for Africa Magic’s Soap Opera – Tinsel. I also wrote, directed and produced a short film that got notable nominations and went on to win best short film at Eko Film Festival 2018.
How did you get into dance choreography?
I fell in love with dance when I was a child. I loved seeing Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez dance. I also loved the movie ‘Honey’. I used to watch these videos and copy the moves I saw.
The day I would never forget was when one of my boys got into JSS1. He couldn’t read or speak English and was never in school until he was 10 years old. He used to cry a lot and believed he could never read. I encouraged him a lot and he began to get better. He started to learn to read. Then in Primary 4, he tried 3 entrance exams and he did very well at everyone. He has remained the best student in his class.
Wrap it up
Start now. In your little corner, do whatever you can to SAVE THE CHILDREN. No matter how little, it will go a long way. And never give up. Believe in your dream and work towards it.!
Big Read |