Nigeria: Meet 11-Year-Old Chinonso Onyekwena, a Boy Who Does Head Gear ‘Gele’

Can we meet you?
My name is Chinonso Onyekwena. I am 11 years old and in JSS1. I am from Ufuma in Anambra State.

What do you do?
I’m a student and I tie headgear, called (gele) in Yoruba land.

How did you start this business?
It all started some years ago. Whenever I returned from school, I would help my mum at her make-up studio. My mum saw that I have passion for gele tying, so she enrolled me in a training centre that teaches how to tie gele. That was how the journey began.

What made you go into the business?
I would say it is because I have passion for it. As we all know, we can go to any extent to achieve anything we have passion for. My boss made me love it the more.

I was trained by professionals.

What problem is your business solving?
My business is solving the problem of women having difficulties in tying headgear, when attending events.
My service makes it easier, neater and faster for them.

How do you combine schooling and the business?
I manage with the help of my mum, and by God’s grace, the two aren’t clashing. I do my business in my mum’s studio, although I’m also into home services.

I tie headgear for my big aunties and my mum’s clients.

What is your long-term goal for the business?
My target is to tie gele for Nigeria’s First Lady, Her Excellency Hajia Aisha Buhari.

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Have you ever made money from doing your business?
Yes, and I wish to make more.

What motivates you and who is your role model?
I would say my mum is my greatest motivation and role model. She has taught me so many things and imparted so much into my life.

When you see super-awesome kids doing wonders in different fields, do you feel motivated to try more or you feel you are lagging behind?
I feel motivated to try more and make sure I also get to my peak.

What aspirations do you have for the business?
I wish to be known worldwide and tie gele for prominent women in Nigeria and the world at large.

Were you at any point discouraged, maybe by your parents, siblings or pressure from studies?
No! I have always been encouraged.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself as a professional make-up artist and gele guru, who will be known worldwide and will render services to prominent people in the society.

What other thing(s) are you good at apart from this business?
I am good at drawing.

Any advice for other kids with potentials out there?
I would advise them to be consistent; to believe in what they do and ensure they are the best in whatever they engage in.


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