Ask The Elders: Recipients for the Humanitarian Awards


The theme of this month’s issue is hard work, one of the traits that an Omoluabi, a child of character, encompasses. This trait played a crucial role in the planning and organizing of the Windsor African Diaspora Festival (WIDAFest), which was an 8-day event. The last day of the festival included the Vigor Gala which included the Unsung Heroes Awards. Multiple awards were presented, one of them being the Humanitarian Award. The recognition celebrated senior individuals who worked hard to uplift humanity and promote goodwill. Among the distinguished awardees of the Humanitarian Award were Scholastica Lyanga and Mardrick Rogers, both of whom will take center stage in this edition of ‘Ask the Elders’. Our conversations with them encompass their sentiments regarding the award, the sources that fuel their inspiration, and the valuable counsel they extend to the wider community.

Scholastica Lyanga is a community leader, advocate, and volunteer. She has been serving the community since her youth and is involved in multiple committees in the Windsor-Essex community. 

Q: What do you find most challenging in your humanitarian efforts?

A: What I find challenging is not being able to do more for the community due to the limitations and systematic issues. I am doing my best and would like to do more especially for the African Community. I hate seeing newcomers stay in hotels for a long time when they just get here. People do not have proper housing and it bothers me because you need a proper house to be a healthy person. I wish there were more resources so people can be accommodated so they do not have to suffer to have basic needs. I do my best, but we could all be doing better, especially the Government. 

Q: What are some of your inspirations? Can you tell us more about that?

A: I went through a difficult time as a young person. I did not have access to the things people have today and it made life hard for me. I was not able to work for 15 years, and it made things hard. Over 70% of the women I work with have started to love themselves. Seeing other women achieve that brings joy to me. I want people to be happy, that is why I help others. 

Q: What is a good way for new people to get involved in the community?

A: Do not be afraid. You can start by volunteering for small organizations. Work with organizations that improve your talents and skills so you can help more people. If you are religious, pray to God and ask for guidance. I am a very spiritual person, so I make God the center of all my activities. I work with GOD all the time.  

Moving forward, we introduce Mardrick Rogers, a dedicated individual actively engaged in various community committees and acknowledged by numerous entities, which have honored him with prestigious awards. He believes in investing in society to make a difference in the future.

Q: What do you find most challenging in your humanitarian efforts?

A: I am from Sierra Leone, and I was just there recently. It was a sad sight because they do not have schools, portable toilets, and other necessities required for a healthy society. I asked them what they wanted, and they said they would like a community center so I am currently building one for them where they can just gather and improve the sense of community.

Q: What are some of your inspirations? Can you tell us more about that?

A: I am here in Canada, I have seen all over the world and I have gone extra miles to do things for people, especially in Africa. I also noticed that we are not as united as Black people and that is what inspires me to do what I do.

Q: How would you advise people that want to be more involved in the community?

A: Don’t just complain, you have to get up and get involved. Speak up and say your opinions, encourage others to also get involved. I advise young people to be more involved because they are our future. Do not wait, be in the community. Ask questions and do not be afraid to confront people in authoritative situations. The woman that organized the WIDAFest event motivated me and lifted my heart to do more.    

Acknowledging and honoring individuals who demonstrate a genuine commitment to giving back to their community holds significant importance. Community members like Scholastica Lyanga and Mardrick Rogers serve as beacons of inspiration, setting forth admirable models that resonate across generations, inspiring everyone within the community to actively engage in fostering positive transformations.Their tireless work and contributions stand as a testament to the fact that positive change is attainable through persistent effort and shared determination.

Written By; Funmi Dawodu



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