Some celebrities do not think of themselves alone in everything they do but remember that in whatever they think or do, they must learn to give back to the society. One of Nollywood screen diva and controversial actress Empress Njamah, has carved a niche for herself by indulging in many humanitarian activities in the nation’s capital, Abuja. Every year, she stages nothing less than eight philanthropic events to celebrate with the less privileged. Her style of giving cannot be compared to what many of her colleagues do to reach out to these children. She does not only go visiting orphanages, but the CEO of House Of Empress Foundation (H.O.E) creates a workshop where the children get to learn additional skills apart from what they are been taught in school.
However, in an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she opens up on how she spent the Valentine with the less privileged and her philanthropic lifestyle…
The foundation is nine, and I must say it’s the God factor that has kept it going not me.
How did you come about it?
I came about the foundation due to the overwhelming occurrence of child negligence. I was moved to do something, at least start somewhere by giving them that tiny ray of hope. And I still intend to do more with the help of the Almighty.
How many times do you celebrate with the less privileged in a year?
It is not easy staging the parties but I can only thank God for being faithful. Within the space of 12 months and 365 days in a year, House of Empress Foundation organises nothing less than eight parties in a year. I stage a party during the Valentine season which is done in order to express my love. I celebrate with them on Children’s Day, Easter, Democracy Day, Independence Day, Christmas and of course, I do celebrate my birthday with them. I stage all these parties not because I just want to throw money around but to make these children believe they are loved and can be cared for. At the same time, not to make them feel bad about themselves.
You recently had a Valentine jamboree with the less privileged, can you tell us about it?
On February 14th, as a way of expressing my love, I paid a courtesy visit to Garki Hospital, where I did not only meet with the children and other patients in the wards, I also did not go there empty handed as I gave them gift bags to show how much I love and care about them. I also visited some of the homes run by House of Empress Foundation, Hope for Survival, Christ Foundation Orphanage, to mention a few.
What has been the challenge so far?
I must say it’s been really turbulent, but God is faithful and will always be. At the same time, I do not see challenges, I only see opportunities to make things better. Challenges skyrocket me to the next level and make me stronger.
The same thing I have been doing all these years. I will not only provide their basic and education needs. I also organise a programme whereby I invite music artistes and some of my colleagues in the movie industry to have fun with the kids. It will be a full day of fun as there will also be food.
How do you raise funds for your humanitarian activities?
It has not been easy though. Like I mentioned, the God factor always miraculously weather the storm. It’s part of how I pay my tithe. I have never gotten funds from a soul, government or friends. It has been my sweat all the way and House of Empress has been supportive too.
How do you feel anytime you celebrate with the less privileged?
I feel fulfilled as a person, because growing as a child in church, I was taught to always help those in need and by doing that your giving brings a ray of hope that he/she thought had been dashed, thereby bringing God’s blessings upon you. I celebrate them all the time not just on my birthday. The foundation celebrates with the kids every month. It brings joy to me whenever I am with them, I feel loads of joy and happiness which words can’t explain.
What are the major side attractions you give to these children?
Dash out gifts to them and continuously inducing that positive mentality into them. We have a lot of things we also do that make them happy, called the workshop which introduces them to so many things which keeps them busy – art and craft, matting, moulding, drawings (pay people who come to train them). The girls learn catering too.
Just like a house with many rooms, HOE is a firm with many departments, from the clothesline to the multi-purpose unisex saloon to the events planning section and also interior décor. We are unisex and everything is under one umbrella.
What inspired it?
Like I said, the God factor, everything happens for a reason. I am really not the vogue kind of person or the type that wears what’s in fashion. I am just that jean kind of person and I love dinner wears too. Back in the days, friends always asked me to help them combine stuff or call and ask what they should buy in terms of fashion items. I love to dress up people, so I guess that is part of how I thought why don’t I just do this? Here, I am doing it and till date I dress up people for events and so on!
What were the challenges of setting it up?
Money, they say, answers all things. So I had a bit of financial challenges and then the perfect location. It was not easy but I thank God.
What inspires your fashion?
Colours, the environments, my mood, mom, because she was and is still a fashionista in her hey days. I guess it runs in the family.