Lois Auta, the
founder and executive director of Cedar Seed Foundation, 2014 Mandela
Washington Fellow, 2016 Ashoka Changemaker Scholar and Finalist – Aso Villa
Demo Day 2016
Humility – I come
from a very poor background but I didnt allow it stop me from becoming the
great woman I want to become. I was affected by polio at age two but I see it
as a bridge and not a barricade. I sold recharge cards to pay my school fees
but I pay schoolfees for others today.  From my humble background I worked hard to
greater heights, got a handshake from President 
Obama in 2014, a hug from Michelle Obama in Washington DC, another
presidential handshake from President Buhari in August 2015. As if that was not
enough I got another presidential handshake from President Buhari in September
2016 on the same day I met Vice President 
Prof.Osinbajo and Mark Zuckerberg at Aso Rock Presiential Villa. These
are memorable experiences for me.
Determination – First, I
would’nt have achieved all these without God, and secondly without deciding
from my spirit/heart/mind that I can make it and without the YES I CAN spirit
in me I wouldnt have been where I am today.
Passion – Passion has made
me to discover my purpose on earth and form the passion I exhibited many people
are inspired by what I do
My mother was my great
influence, she was my teacher, my role model, my adviser and my backbone. When
I grew up and I saw myself differently I felt bad and shy about it, I refused
playing and mingling with children of my age, I was always lonely and low
self-esteem set in until my mom taught me to accept my condition, she said God
knew why I was created this way so I should accept it and move on. Today, I am
very confident and fearless. God has used her to make the woman I am today. I’m
grateful to my mom.
My mother – Ladi Auta  – God used her to give me life, hope,
strength, confidence, courage, education and make me the woman I am today. She
so much believed in me that few days before she passed away in 2011, she
gathered her family and blessed us when she reached my turn she said ‘’ Lois
keep working hard and I know you will make me proud even in death’’ Hmm what a
strong word and I believe she is resting and very proud of me even after she
has left me. I love her 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – I
want to follow her brilliance and intelligence in policy making and influence.
Joni Eareckson – I want to
follow her footsteps of knowing God, disability activism, determination and her
 In the next five years I
want to see persons with disabilities and less prividged children being educated
and financially independent. Yes, I have a  program manager, friends, family, local and
international partners that are interested in the idea and we started
discussion and working on that.

based violence

Solutions: I have given scholarship
awards to girls and women with disabilities at Cedar Seed Foundation initiated
by me through the support of Sahara Foundation, US Embassy and Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation I have trained women on ICT
through the support of Nigerian Communications Commission and US Embassy.
Presently,  I’m one of the disabled women chosen to be
part of working committee on having a Disability health policy for women with
disabilities in Nigeria initiated by Disability Rights Advocacy Centre and
Federal Ministry of Health and supported by USAID.
I am also advocating for
the passage of disability bill to be passed into law which will address many
disability issues in Nigeria. One of the laudable events was when I convened an
event at Ekiti Hall, US Embassy, Abuja on December 03, 2015 in commemoration of
International Disability Day where the former US Ambassador James Entwistle
gave the opening remarks, some passionate members of the legislators were
present, disabled people organizations, National Orientation Agency and other
critical stakeholders attended the historic event. I was also part of the team
that worked on the current disability bill and this initiative also led to the
passage of the disability bill on July 13, 2016 by the house of Senate which
the members of the senate promised to do on the day they attended the event.
This event was one of my greatest accomplishments.
I also mentor many young
girls (able and disabled) to move to the next level.
I visit parks and gardens
alone to relax, rethink, refresh and get new ideas that will take me to the
next level.
MY   –  
It will make her
independent or self-relient, it will make her work more harder and it will also
help her to support other women.
I will like to be
responsible for gender policies and advocate for the inclusion of women issues in
government policies and programs generally. I will also advocate for 50/50
affirmative action on all policies, programmes, committees, positions,
appointments etc for women
They should keep doing the
right thing, work hard,  be good, be
kind, be helpful, be independent, they should love each other, support each
other, be happy and observe a stress-free life.