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Saturday, 25 October 2014
YOLANDA GEORGE-DAVID - I Had 97 suitors and 18 miscarriages.
Dr. Yolanda George-David is a psychologist and life coach. She is also a presenter with Inspirational FM 92.3, and anchors a counseling and empowerment radio talk show, called, “Sharing life’s issues with Aunt Landa or Yolanda.
In line with her works of charity, she runs a foundation, Aunt Landa Teenage Bethel Foundation, where sexually abused girls and teenagers are rehabilitated.
She spoke with VERA WISDOM-BASSEY on her life and challenges and how she had 18 miscarriages.
You seem to be a workaholic, how do you derive your strength?
There are two kinds of people. The first, are those who wake up in the morning to make a living, and another wake up because they must and that is the way they are.
I live by helping people and so it makes it easier to fix schedules. Even though it is hectic some days to the point that I just feel like lying down, but when I remember the people that need my attention, (as you saw the crowd here today), I’m moved to leave the house to attend to their needs. Some of them are sick but cannot afford their drugs, people who are raped and all of that, you just have to get up and keep moving.
Considering your very tight schedule, do you have time for your husband?
I have a family time, and when people call at such times, I usually tell them, no, this is a time I attend to my family. My husband, a cardiologist, is the medical director of the foundation. We met when he was also on a missionary job. So both of us do the same thing. Mine in a crazier version to a certain level. However, he has been so supportive, and is my biggest fan. I never take my family for granted.
First of all, I am a child of God, a wife and don’t have a nanny. I don’t have a cook; so, cook my husband’s meals everyday. When I’m leaving the house, whether 4:30 or 6:00am, I must have prepared his breakfast, while his launch and his dinner are in the microwave. So am changing the world, first of all I make sure I have the backing of my family.
How do your male fans see you?
Well, before I got married, I had 97 men wanting my hands in marriage. He was one of the 97 suitors. I never dated anybody, as I was so busy with my missionary works and all of that. I appreciate and reverence the person God has given me. Men are hunters, and they will always be attracted to women.
Whenever people come to me I always draw the demarcation, I care for them. I love everybody but there is certain love that is reserved for my husband alone.
How do you source your funds, material and drugs?
Last week, my husband and I had to sell our property, because the company that was helping us with some of the drugs stopped. Right now we don’t have sponsors, because we are like Jesus center, if I may say so. We do public service, and that is why, people are coming and going. We reach out to people once in a while. And so at the end of the year, we are planning a bazaar, where people will come and buy things from us, so that we can put the money into the foundation. We raise funds we are restricted to the good will of the people.
But the basic funds are from my husband and I that is why sometimes we have to do jobs. For me no matter how exhausted I might be I have to go for conferences. The money I’m paid for speaking at the conferences is used to run the foundation.
So, no corporate organisation has been assisting you?
No, the only partnership we have with any organisation is Inspiration Fm, and they are our media partners. Whenever we have events they carry us along, but for cheques none for now.
How did you meet your husband?
Well, as I said we were on a missionary job to Zamfara with some young people. There was this strange man, as strange as he was, although we’ve met earlier, one of my friends have introduced him to me. Both of them were doctors. Funny enough, less than two minutes, I saw this young man we started talking and I found out that we have the same passion. There were so many suitors, and I said to him that I’ve worked with God for a long time and I have to pray to be sure that he’s my right husband. I thank God that I made the right choice; he’s the best. He is from Abia State.
You have over 15 centres in Lagos, how do you manage them?
I have PA’s that are assigned to the centers. Most of our centers are private; we have several cases we handle that are a bit sensitive, some people come in for addiction issues. They don’t even want other people to know what their problems are; some are raped and would not want the public to know them. We have others who go for abortion, they come and we give them some money every week to talk care of themselves. They get between N1, 000 and N3, 000. Instead of aborting, we train them on skill acquisition, and also give them reasons why they can be mothers. In this way they can be useful to themselves after delivery, and some of these girls are hiding away from their parents. So the centre cuts across. I have a health plan and try not to do everything myself. My husband is a medical director, so most Wednesday, my husband alongside his friends who are medical doctors assist.
Although am a gynecologist, I work mostly in places where am needed and I try as much as possible to stick to my routine. There are some people that wait for two years before they see me, and there are some counselors that the foundation pays, and some volunteer also come to work with us. But the problem I have is that most of the patients after seeing the other counselors still want to see me, and so I have a backlog and overdue cases. Right now, the vision is strange, people complain that my husband and I are not being paid, but from our pocket we still have to pay the people that we employed. They don’t understand, but eventually am going to sell my property to help people without being paid.
How long have you been on this?
Unofficially, we’ve been doing this for the past six years; from 2008, we started by gathering teenagers. In 2010, we started fully with three volunteers, and we had a programme at Makoko, where more than 763 girls and children came out and admitted that they had been sexually abused. Some of the children didn’t want their parents to know that they were sexually abused but somebody they can trust. So, some of them were bitter and angry, and we had to rehabilitate them.
What is the lowest moment of your life?
Life has not been a bed of roses for me. The period I was waiting on God for the fruit of the womb, was one of the worst moments. On the last Saturday in 2012, to be precise, I was doing a show on miscarriage, while I had miscarriage the weekend of the crossover into the New Year. And I went on air and I said, “if you’ve just miscarried share it with me.”
People were calling, saying, Aunt Landa; you don’t know what it feels to miscarry. But they had no idea that I have just miscarried. But from that period, God picked up that lowest moment. It was low, but somehow, I found out in my valley, that the moment I was able to speak to one person, I was able to pick myself up. To some people, when they are at their lowest moment they buy dresses for themselves, but for me, I look for people to help. I had 18 miscarriages before I eventually took in.
With your miscarriage, you still went on air?
Yes, if I had not done so, I would have still reached out to someone. Some people were made to serve, while some were made to worship. I believe that in every ministry, there is a calling for everyone. I did not go to Bible school because I wanted to be a pastor, but to know where God needs me to work. Am not a great leader, but am happier when I help people, it makes my day.
What inspires you?
To see God use me to help the helpless; find hope by the words of my mouth and transform frowns into smiles. To love and know I am loved unconditionally. That’s my inspiration.