Igoh Oghenekaro, a beneficiary of the 2018/2019 CYCLE under BROWN STEP, hails from Isoko North Local Government Area. She was trained in Fashion and Textile Design under the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) of the Delta State Government. She is the outstanding CEO of Kandice Apparel, whose story is an inspiration to anyone desirous of success in the face of daunting challenges. Her shop is a three-bedroom apartment, well-equipped with many sewing machines, each trainee manning hers. I was shocked to know that the smallest in size of all the ladies present owns the shop. I demanded to verify her status through her job creation identity card and her National Identification Card to ascertain her identity. Stating that I was impressed with my findings is an understatement.
The sky is indeed her starting point considering her determination to succeed where graduates have failed despite her pathetic background and educational level. She is a product of a broken home. Oghenekaro has only the Basic Education Certificate (BECE), but her impeccable diction would make any listener believe she is a university graduate. Her parents abandoned her, and she could not complete secondary education. She became a photographer to put food on her table. Fortunately, she found favour with God when her pastor enrolled her in a fashion home to acquire skill in fashion designing. To further draw her closer to her destiny, her trainer who incidentally is a job creation trainer enrolled her for further training under Brown STEP.
The rest is history as in less than one year of establishment, this dynamic youth entrepreneur has a fashion training institute, has acquired ten manual sewing machines, five electric sewing machines and has over thirty trainees. She has a strong drive for success and has carved a niche for herself. She shares her story, “I had thought I would go into the conventional roadside tailoring, but after the training I received at Songhai Delta, my mind was opened to other possibilities beyond the conventional fashion designing things. I began to think of starting a fashion institute. After establishment with starter pack, I got a shop at City Complex, Asaba and started a school. In less than one year, the shop became too small, and I saw the reason to expand. Therefore, I rented this three-bedroom for N350, 000 annually. I do lots of adverts online. I currently have two billboards: each of them costs N80, 000 monthly. My students come from within and outside Delta State, and I realise my funding through training fees. I have thirty students currently. Six persons have graduated. I run a morning and afternoon session. I make clothes quite all right, but my niche is training for both male and female who are interested in fashion.” Her vision is to become one of the best fashion designers in town and to acquire university education through the National Open University by self-sponsorship. “I advise my students not to look at the things that the Government did not do for us or how our parents have failed us, instead how we use the little we have is what matters.
My driving force is Biblical. Through job creation training, I discovered that God had given me a talent which I must maximise to receive more from Him,” she added. She scored the job creation programme 100%. She said the structure of the programme is such that the system would change anyone willing to learn. The programme taught her discipline, financial management, staff management, customer management and how to create a niche for herself with particular reference to Pastor Afolabi Adun’s lecture, “Distinguishing Oneself from Others Makes the Difference.” She appreciated the State Government for the opportunity to produce facemasks for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh