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Celebrating Black History Month – Fola Bello

23 October 2018

We are proud of the diversity we have within our organisation and would like to showcase and celebrate this during Black History Month. Over the next four weeks we will be sharing stories and personal experiences from various members of staff.

Growing up in Nigeria was interesting, it was fun and instilled values of hard work, determination, and excellence that are very much of the person I am today. My parents decided to relocate to London from there in 1958 when my father was offered a scholarship to study Accountancy in the UK. After he qualified and the family grew, they decided that it was time to move back to Nigeria, so we moved back there in 1970.

As a young adult, I returned to live in UK in 1987 to further my education and then started my career as a Management Accountant in 1995. Perhaps I chose this career because of my close connection with my father being my mentor, as I thoroughly adored him.

However, within five years in this profession, I lost all motivation and passion to continue in it, so in 2002, I decided it was time for a change. I had always been passionate about children and families so I went back to University and completed a degree in Family Work. During this time, I volunteered as a mentor supporting young people at risk of exclusion. I found it extremely rewarding working with the young people, helping them to identify their skills and unlocking their potential. From then on, I was more than convinced that I had discovered my vocation in life.

I resigned my job as an accountant to take up a role at an inner-city London School. My salary was halved, but I did not mind. I convinced myself that fulfilling my vocation was more important than money.  From a young age I learnt “if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade”.

“if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade”

Whilst working at the school I learned so much from the young people, their families, complexities and challenges I knew using the holistic approach with each family member was very effective so this led me to seek an organisation that worked in this way and ultimately improved the life chances of children and families.

I joined Family Action in 2005 as an administrator, but within short space of time, I transferred to front line work supporting children and families.  Currently I oversee two services as a Project Manager for Lewisham Young Carers & Southwark Building Bridges. I have a great team of staff and 16 excellent and committed volunteer-mentors. I am dedicated, passionate and totally committed to ensuring that our services for young carers, children and families are of quality and are a positive experience for all.

I am inspired by the work of Mother Teresa whom, through her selflessness and sacrifice, dedicated her life to countless missions to love and care for those individuals that nobody else was prepared to look after. As an African living in the UK, I am committed to my roots and in making a difference to the lives of people in the Southern part of Nigeria. This led me to start BAK Foundation for disadvantaged children, young people and their families to educate and empower them to smash limitations, believe in themselves and ultimately help their community out of poverty.

When I am not supporting the needs of vulnerable families, I enjoy swimming, reading, travelling and having spa treatments.

If you would like to become a volunteer for family action, find out more here.