‘I am Fulfilled Helping The Less Privileged’
Mrs. Patricia Udeme is the 2015/2016 District Governor of Lions District 404A-1. An educationist, she has held many other positions in the club that showcase her rich and vibrant experience in the service of Lions Club.
Lion Patricia Udeme is the 2015/2016 District Governor of Lions District 404A-1, which covers part of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Delta and Edo states.
The school principal of New Era International College, Asaba whose passion for helping the less privileged led her to becoming a member of the Lion’s club 18 years ago, has held several leadership positions before becoming the District Governor of district 404A-1.
While speaking on her plans for her tenure, she noted that she will not be taking on any new single project but would rather support clubs in the pursuit to take up good projects and also ensure that members who are in need are catered for. “I borrowed the template of my immediate past governor; what he did was not to take on a single project and I saw it as a very nice idea because he was able to spread across the district. We are going to assist clubs with grants to help them carry out their projects and this way, you will reach more areas.
Most times, you find out that these projects are so gigantic that you are unable to complete them within one year, and so, it is either abandoned and goes on a snail pace.
Based on that, we rather reach out to various clubs and regions. “Members’ welfare is very close to my heart and so we will begin our charity this time from home.
We shall be there for our members; our foot soldiers that do the actual work, some of them have needs too and we shall address them accordingly.
In as much as you are serving as a Lion, if there is a need to help in case of any misfortune, we just can’t keep you out because you have served others and there is a need for you to be served having spent your resources and time doing same for others.”
Udeme further stressed that the district will key into the established global service initiatives of the Lion’s Club International to alleviate hunger, engage in sight preservation and adult literacy programmes. “We already have a partnership with the Eye Foundation to undertake 1000 cataract surgeries which is on-going while we also are in partnership with the eye hospital in Warri, Delta State to undertake 500 cataract surgeries and implement the grafting of corneas.
My project cuts across both men and women but special attention will be given to children and the elderly irrespective of the gender. I will support programmes relating to women.”
The district is also looking at partnering with the government. “I am in talks with the wife of Delta State Government, the literacy centres we are looking at establishing, the government will be involved.
We will also partner with other NGOs when the need arises even though we are the largest NGO in the world. “We have a Lions’ quest programme which is being implemented globally as Lions.
It is aimed at equipping adolescents with skills for life. A curriculum based programme, we commenced the pilot study in Lagos and will expand the programme to other states in the district and much of our efforts is geared towards training the teachers who will deploy the curriculum resources.
The programme is targeted at guiding the adolescents, teaching them principles and skills that will help them face the real world.” While noting that one year may not be enough as a Lions president, she said that the system is structured in such a way that you know in two years time, you will be a president after being made second vice president and so you kickoff plans, programmes and projects and limit it to your tenure of one year.
Udeme who says she is very fulfilled knowing that she has put a smile on the face of someone who is in dire need, added that nothing gives her great joy than engaging in acts of charity. “There are so many people out there who are down-trodden, who need help and nothing can be too small to help out which can do a lot in their lives.
So, that fulfillment is there for me, especially when I see that I have been able to put a smile on the faces of people even if it is just to give a shoulder to lean on or to give a helping hand to get up, it gives me great satisfaction.”
She recalled that right from childhood, it excited her to render help to others. “As a child from an average home, I was driven to and back from school and so each time I am been driven, and I see other children walking back home especially when it’s raining, I feel bad and the feeling lingers so much that I might not eat when I get home.
Most times, when the driver comes for me and I beg him to stop to pick some of the children especially those who stay around our neighbourhood, he would usually refuse and I could get home and not have my meals, but when it’s my dad and I plead, he stops and pick those he can which makes be very happy and fulfilled.”
The school principal, who is a core educationist has a National Certificate of Education (NCE), a bachelor certificate and a masters degree, all in English Education.
While commenting on the standard of education in Nigeria, she said said, “It is unfortunate that education has gone down in recent times, and I think the government should do something about it because the craze to make money since teachers are not well paid or looked after has affected the standard of education.
The developed countries where we send our children to are not better off; the only reason why they are better is that they take good care of their teachers and when you do so, you see that the teacher gives his/her 100 percent best and becomes very productive.”
Udeme who hails from Asaba in Delta State and happily married with children said that having known that she will become District Governor two years ago has helped her prepare for job and family regarding the roles attached to them.
She also advised other women to stay focused in pursing career without neglecting the family, saying though is it very tasking for women in their child-bearing stage; family comes first.
From 1997 when she became the president of her club, she has held several leadership positions, including Zonal Chairperson 1999/2000, Regional Chairperson 2000/2001, chairperson Worldwide Induction 2002/2003, Vice Person for District 404 Convention 2003/2004, Chairperson for Retention 2004-2006; Chairperson for All African Conference 2007-2008, member, Leprosy Committee 2008-2010, Chairperson, mini convention 2010/2011, Chairperson for membership and New Club Growth Specialist 2011/2012, member, global membership team 2012/2013, 2nd vice District Governor 2013/2014, and 1st Vice District Governor 2014/2015.
On her fashion sense, she said: “I love fashion, and I admire fashionable people. I do not have any particular regimen for fashion and so what you see is how it is.”