Nigerian entrepreneur Paul Orajiaka is using his toy company to instill African values and cultural heritage and to build a better society for Nigerian children, families, and communities through investments in education and community development.
Paul Orajiaka is founder of Auldon Nigeria Limited, a manufacturer of African-themed toys that promote and teach Africa’s cultural heritage to children. The Unity Dolls that represent the major tribes in Orajiaka's homeland of Nigeria—Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba—are incredibly popular and promote moral values and cultural pride.
But Orajiaka's investment in Nigeria does not stop there. A portion of the proceeds from each doll sold is used to fund community development through the Culture Vision Organization. Its aim is to help build a better society for Nigerian children, their families, and communities through investments in education, water and hygiene, women’s empowerment, and micro-enterprise.
Funds are used to rehabilitate run-down elementary schools in remote rural communities neglected by or having poor government attention. The level of decay in most public schools across Nigeria in terms of infrastructure and teaching aids is heart-wrenching, and recovery often depends on the concerted efforts of concerned citizens.
Orajiaka invested in the rebuilding of a Salvation Army Nursery and Primary School in Agunfoye Igbogbo Ikorodu, a remote part of Lagos, Nigeria. The school was originally founded in 1955 and serves over 3,000 students. Orajiaka’s social initiative also provides classroom furniture and writing materials for these students.
Orajiaka’s company engages graduate apprentice students of the Lagos State Technical College and equally Friends of the Disabled Nigeria Organization in a skill acquisition program. Students are trained to make dresses for the Unity Dolls and earn an income.
As part of his mentoring and counseling program, Orajiaka visits various primary, secondary, and college-level technical schools in Lagos three times a quarter to give motivational talks and entrepreneurship classes at no cost to the government. He has spoken to more than 10,000 students in the last four years and mentored over 200 people who have started small businesses. As an entrepreneur concerned with improving opportunities for the youth of Nigeria, Orajiaka has seen his story inspire these young prodigies.
In recognition of his efforts in supporting education, he has been called “an upstanding corporate citizen” by Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola. Recently, Auldon Nigeria Limited signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board. The partnership is intended to empower apprentices of the board with a sustainable source of livelihood upon graduation. The graduates have been hired to make 40,000 pieces of Unity Doll dresses over a four-month period.