Princess Patience Odeh, the sleek and sultry queen of the tube and the wife of Jan Gerrits of Zwolle, Netherlands, is a one woman squad who has consistently demonstrated extraordinary competence in whatever she is doing by articulating vision, value and strategy as a result of her humanitarian disposition and attachment to the poor and the down trodden.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s TADE ASIFAT, the undisputable Crown Queen of Okpe Kingdom shed light on why she donated books and writing materials to some schools in her community back home in Nigeria and the recently celebrated twelve and half years of her blissful marriage.
Let’s have an insight into your NGO.
The name of my NGO is: Stitching Kids and Women Foundation. It has been in existence since 2014, but was officially registered this year (2015) in Zwolle, Netherlands. The registration could not have taken place without the support of my husband.
As with the registration of any organization either with the aim of profit-making or for non-profit purposes, a number of requirements must be met. All this requirements cannot be supplied by me alone, hence the support of my husband.
What are the aims and objective of the foundation?
The aims and objective of the foundation is to help the less privileged with special focus on children. I focus more on children because a child that did not have a good start would miss a lot of opportunities in its latter years.
This will also result into the immediate community and the larger society losing out on the potentials of such child. Such situations exist all over the globe but they say “Charity begins at home”. Now that I have two homes (Nigeria and Netherlands), I am also committed to helping children in both homes.
The children of today will grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow. What we give them and how we prepare them today will shape who they become as adults and leaders of tomorrow. I am therefore, urging us all to chip in something tangible today in the welfare and well being of our young ones by paying special attention to the education needs of our children.
Recently, your foundation in Zwolle in Netherlands some items to your community back home in Nigeria. What are the items donated and what is the spirit behind it?
The items donated are writing materials such as books, pencils and pens. The spirit behind the donation is because we want to make impact in the lives of other people here in Holland and back home in Africa.
How do you get funds to run this foundation?
At this moment, the only source of funds for running the Stitching Leads a Woman Foundation and all the work we have been doing over the years and the recent one comes from our salaries. My husband and I, use part of our personal incomes for the work we have been doing because we believe in the principle of fair opportunity for all children and convinced that given that chance, the hidden talents in them could be harnessed for their own good and for the good of the larger public.
What is your vision for the foundation in 10 years?
Our vision in 10 years is probably to see some of the children that had received help turn round and give back to other children. We are aiming for the sky.
What is the secret of your successful marriage and what do you find most interesting about your husband?
First, I will thank God for His Grace and mercies upon my marriage. I will put the secret of coming this far down to communication. We have an open communication policy, trust in each other and most important, we both learn to simplify our lives.
What I found most interesting in my husband is his love for me and interest in what I care for. He showed total passion and commitment to issues concerning the family. Again, I thank God and those who worked selflessly in different roles to making it great.
What kind of man is your husband?
He is humble and respectful, gentle and very caring. In short, I can go on and on. He is a total package.
Can you recollect some fond memories of your growing up with your mother?
I have so many fond memories of my mother, though the most cherished ones are those I shared with her when I was a little girl. These moments were the times we spent together in the kitchen preparing meals for the family. Those things I learned have now become indispensible house management recipe. Good meal is also a good way of bringing smiles and satisfaction on the faces of family members.
Can you define your style?
My style can be defined as elegant, unique and classic.
What style items do you love wearing?
I love good and comfortable shoes. My favourite colours are black and white.
What is the most expensive fashion item you own?
I am not given to ostentatious fashion. It does not need to be expensive to be fantastic.
What thrills you as a woman?
Motherhood thrills me the most.
What puts you off?
Unruly character or behaviour.
What do you think life could have been if you had not met and married Jan Gerrit?
Life would have been extremely boring.
What is your opinion about love and marriage?
True love is the best thing that can ever happen in someone. With love, you are happy and fulfilled. Marriage is an appropriate reward of true love.