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Monday, October 3, 2016

Turning "little" minds into Big dreams: Introducing Ariana Oluwole


Ariana is someone I have admired for quite some time. She has a certain confidence about her that you just automatically like her even if you have never met her in person. This was how I got to learn about her work with Narnia Daycare. For an industry so important, Ariana has found a way to brand her work in Sierra Leone of working with young children and providing high quality child care and learning as they grow up. She is changing the landscape of childcare as a young woman who left the corporate world in pursuit of her dreams and I had to make sure WCA captured and told her story. WCA has also shared Ariana's story via Guardian Nigerian and soon to be Afroelle Magazine. We are so proud to feature her this month and we know you will be blown away by her passion, drive wit and commitment to serve and raise up the next generation of African leaders.




        
                                                                 
ARIANA  BRAND + WOMAN


In speaking to Ariana we understand that she sees herself as "An artist, I create beautiful things. I am good at building something out of nothing", she describes herself as a producer, actor and an artist. She shares her journey with me on how she came to the work that she does. She has a humbling way of talking of her values, because she believes that one should "respect people no matter their status". Ariana goes on to tell us that she is a proud Sierra Leonean woman; her golden rule? "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you"

 "I was very shy growing up and hid that by getting lost in the magic of books a habit I picked from my mama who had the most incredible library by age 8, I was bored with the fairy tales and wanted more, I read books by Jane Austen; Charles Dickinson Catherine Cookson; C.S Lewis; Louisa May-Alcott and George Elliott.

I learnt how to share at a very early age when I went from being the only daughter in a nuclear family to sharing everything with my cousins, who sought refuge with us during the rebel war. I was quick to discover the children that needed babysitting in our neighborhood as I loved how appreciative they were of every single effort that I would make"


                                             
ARIANA  SELF CARE-CHECK IN

Selfcare is such an important value of ours here at WCA that I always want to know how women who are balancing so much take time to take care of their mental, physical and socio emotional well being.  Ariana shared some of my favorites including getting pampered and being at the beach! In her own words she shares her ways of getting self care by telling us that; 

"I love massages and foot soaks they are calming and relaxing to me. On a daily basis I indulge myself in essential oils depending on my mood. You are most likely to find peppermint or lavender oil in my small purse. Very recently I am learning to take short 5- 10 minutes break during work to meditate on soothing scripture verses or just music. After such breaks, I feel rejuvenated!

When I can afford it, I love spending time at out lovely beach resorts. The beach is my favourite place on earth; I could literally live on a beach and not get bored. When I disappear next to you be sure to find me speaking to the waves."


ON BUSINESS AND CHILD CARE



















Leaving a job to pursue one's life long dream is not an easy feat, so Ariana tells us a bit about what inspired her to take the leap to start Narnia Daycare. 

She tells us that Narnia Daycare was born out of a desire to cater to the needs of children; before birth, birth; babyhood and toddler stages with a holistic approach.
Ariana worked in the marketing, administration and business support for several years but always had a passion for working with children.

Her  pivotal point was having her son in 2012, she discovered there was no one to take care of her son the way her or her Mom did. With encouragement from her support who reminded her of her life long dream she took the leap of faith and as she puts it "simply because I wanted the best for the life I had brought into the world".  With her mom's educator background of 40 years she had the perfect combination she needed to launch her dream day care center Narnia Day Care. 


The name Narnia is based on her favourite children’s book by C.S lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia. Ariana says "I want to create magic for children, I want to encourage self- discovery, build a kingdom were good always triumphs and a space were every child would be free to be themselves! Narnia is the early learning Adventure."

When starting a company there are many challenges that come with the terrain, and there are also many solutions that arise from those obstacles one has to overcome. We asked Ariana to tell us about challenges she faces when doing business in Sierra Leone. 

Ariana shares that though she is very optimistic two of her major challenges have been infrastructure and Human Resources.  In regards to infrastructure she shares that renting is very expensive and landlords mostly request 2-3 years payments for long leases. She was able to create a space out of a family home which has helped alleviate her issues with renting. With Human resource she tells us that "growing and keeping a good team is a struggle" but being the champion that she is she shares the solution  is that " I have learnt to keep our staff motivated and we have cultivated a team spirit where everybody has a vested interest in Narnia. We are making good investments in training and knowledge acquisition."

Ariana shares her love for her company and the biggest contribution to the growth of her business 


" I love the hustle and bustle of Narnia, it feels like home. There are no dull moments; we are constantly on the move. I love the fact that I am building the future leaders of Sierra leone, I am creating the change that I long to see. I believe the golden rule has helped in both handling my team and clientele. At Narnia, the customer is King. We go the extra mile with a human touch."

We ask her 10 years from now where she sees Narnia and her current work and she tells us;  

"The possibilities are endless, I see us franchising in other African countries, doing night care and boarding services for babies and toddlers. I see an empire meant to meet the wishes of children. I wouldn’t limit myself by saying too much now."

Every Bosschique evolves throughout their business so we were keen to know what area of work Ariana has grown in and what she had learnt from that growth?


She shares that she has grown in the area of  Team Building.  That meeting people half way is valuable when running a business and because of this has lessened her micromanaging of staff. She explains that " I am learning to trust in the power of the team rather than self. I have accepted that Narnia is not Ariana but a legacy that must be preserved for all time."

What should someone should have if they want to enter into this field and most importantly be successful. Ariana shares her recipe for success with us: 

1. Be Passionate- To work with children you have to interested in them, affected by them and similarly express your love for them
 
2. Be Patient- Patience is needed every second of every minute with the children as well with their parents and guardians, with your staff, with nature and the environment. Everything around caregiving and education works with good timing.

3. Show Empathy- One must be connected with everyone you interact with so strongly that you share in their feelings, sharing their joys and sorrows
       
LOVE + SISTERHOOD

We treasure sisterhood at WCA so we know our Bosschiques do as well but we want to know why. 
Ariana shares that Sisterhood is everything to her; she expresses so passionately that  "African women are raised to be there for each other and we will do better if we understand that when one African woman wins we all win."

Ariana finishes her interview with poise and ease and shares her final thoughts with us on Women and Africa by ending with our favorite line: Women change Africa because we are resilient in our service to our communities.

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