Meet Funmilayo Thomas. One of DRASA’s Youth Trainers.
As the eldest child, I had a very strict upbringing. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes because according to my parents, I’d be leaving a bad example for my siblings to follow. I wasn’t allowed to have friends because they would negatively influence me. Boy…I wasn’t even allowed to complain or grumble about any of it because Our Lord Jesus Christ frowns at that. It was tough!
So I kept my emotions, thoughts, and dreams to myself and that turned me to a boring, insecure, shy girl. But even in the midst of my tough upbringing, I knew I wanted more. I started keeping myself busy by joining a children’s club in our community and I eventually grew to teaching Sunday school lessons to the kids at my church. Can you believe it? The shy, insecure, eldest child in front of a room of kids, teaching and leading them. I didn’t even know I had it in me. But gosh, those kids were my babies. They told me their fears, dreams, and thoughts, and I did likewise. I learned a lot from them and we had a very special bond. That was when I understood what it meant to be an influencer in someone’s life.
I also got a job counseling hospitalized patients which exposed me to all sorts of new things – people’s struggles and stories really inspired me – and gradually, I gained confidence and my self-esteem increased as I helped people. But I have to say, I had support from a lot of loving people around me along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their encouragement and love. And I’ve made sure to pass that love along.
Now fast forward. Here I am working with DRASA and speaking to students to be a VOICE in their own space. Something I didn’t have the privilege to enjoy when I was their age. I love it! We are a family and a movement spreading an important message, so watch this space.
I’m a microbiologist/social worker, a lover of children and people, and a proud product of my upbringing.