The Truth About Family You Weren't Told: Balqees Opeyemi Alabi Spills the Beans!


 Balqees Opeyemi Alabi, born on September 11th in Agege, Lagos State, Nigeria is a resilient and accomplished individual. 

The Truth About Family You Weren't Told: Balqees Opeyemi Alabi Spills the Beans!
Balqees Opeyemi Alabi

Her educational journey, from her early years at St. Louis Primary School in Ibadan to earning a chemistry degree from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), reflects her unwavering dedication to excellence. As a professional seamstress who owns C'Stone Style, she believes fashion is more than just clothing; it is a form of self-expression. She also passionately engages in community service, advocates for sickle cell patients, and is known for her book, "Family: The Institution.” Balqees is currently working on her Master's degree in Environmental Chemistry and Pollution Control at the University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan.  In this interview with Alli Abiola, as she celebrates her 31st birthday, she reflects on her profound love for God and humanity, which defines her character, rendering her an inspirational embodiment of determination and compassion for society. Excerpts.

Tell us about your background, when and where you were born - a bit down memory lane

I was born in Agege, Lagos State, on September 11, to Mr. and Mrs. Alabi Adeyemo, from Omi-Adio in Ibadan, Oyo State. A family of five. I am a seamstress, an erudite scholar, a seasoned administrator and certified business analyst, and a visionary leader. My early elementary education started at St. Louis Primary School, Orita, Ibadan, while staying with my paternal grandfather. 

However, I could not take the common entrance examination due to an ailment. After a while, I proceeded to Pacesetter Secondary School, Ajuwon, Ogun State, and graduated in 2011. My exceptional grades in the West African School Certificate earned me admission to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), where I obtained my first degree in Chemistry in 2016. I have received several awards for volunteering and community service. I am also a teacher, the author of the book "Family: The Institution", and an advocate for sickle cell patients. I am dedicated to helping and caring for children. I am a great lover of God and have a deep love for humanity. Aside being a professional seamstress who owns C'Stone Style, I am pursuing a Master's degree in Chemistry at the University of Ibadan (UI).

What challenges did you face in your early education, and how did you overcome them?

The challenges I faced in my early education were primarily due to being born into a family that could barely provide for the needs of the children. Most times, I encountered financial difficulties, and there were times when I went to school without any money. My educational requirements were often not met. I cannot say I completely overcame these challenges, but I can say that I grew up with them. After the passing of my grandmother, I had to live with another family member to continue my secondary school education. I experienced a childhood that was similar to that of many girls who needed assistance to cope with life.

As a 'seamstress', you pursued your first degree in Chemistry at the University of Lagos. What sparked your interest in these two distinct fields and your academic journey so far?

I left my grandmother's place in Ibadan when I was in Primary five at about ten years old because the ends were not meeting. As a child, I knew the way back to my poor parents' house in Lagos. It was mischievous, though. When I returned to my parents, they did not enroll me in school on time, so I told them I wanted to learn fashion design. I spent eighteen months learning the craft before going to live with another family member who enrolled me in secondary school. I grew up with sewing, and I had to make money from it to support myself after high school and during my university days.

The Truth About Family They Don't Want You to Know: Balqees Opeyemi Alabi Spills the Beans!
C'Stone Style - Let's dress you up!

Studying chemistry at the University of Lagos was not something I planned. As a young lady, I initially aspired to study Medicine and Surgery, but I did not meet the cutoff mark for the course. Conversely, my experience as a chemistry student turned out to be truly rewarding. I graduated with a GPA of 4.0 out of 5.0, which was a satisfying achievement. While many children dream of studying nursing, becoming a doctor, or pursuing engineering, I chose to major in chemistry.

Share some insights into your community work and advocacy efforts for sickle cell patients 

I have been actively involved in educational outreach programs, where I have conducted sensitization sessions on critical topics such as sex education and sickle cell diseases in several secondary schools. Additionally, I have raised awareness among various groups of individuals about the importance of ecosystem sustainability and caring for our planet. My passion for environmental conservation and sustainability has led me to organize numerous environmental cleanup initiatives and engage students in these efforts. This commitment to ecosystem sustainability ultimately inspired me to pursue a master's degree in Environmental Chemistry and Pollution Control.

Your book, "Family: The Institution," has an intriguing title. What inspired you to write it, and what message or themes does it convey?

I was born to Muslim parents, but my early life involved living with various families, including Christian households, and I eventually embraced Christianity. At a certain point, I became involved with a Christian group that exposed me to different aspects of life. This experience left an impact on me, leading me to the profound realization that the most esteemed institution is not religion; it is the family.

An excerpt from my book, 'Family: The Institution,' highlights this perspective:

'It is no wonder that attacks against the family are prevalent; the devil sows seeds of discord, causing people to seek refuge in religious institutions, praying fervently for deliverance from the perceived curses and wickedness associated with their own families. Have you ever considered that after setting your family's foundation ablaze with prayers, you still seek to join other families? You search for family within religious organizations, communities, and society itself. The reason is simple: you are designed to function within a family.'

How do your spiritual beliefs influence your life and work?

I maintain a balanced perspective, valuing work while embracing people regardless of their tribe or religion, as long as they seek acceptance. I do not consider myself a religious person.

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Thank you for joining us in this captivating journey into the life and insights of Balqees Opeyemi Alabi. Her story is an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the profound importance of family, education, and service to our communities.

But, dear readers, this is just the beginning. There is so much more to uncover from this remarkable individual. Her journey is far from over, and her wisdom continues to unfold.

Stay tuned for the second part of this incredible story, where we will delve deeper into Balqees' experiences, her dreams for the future, and the lessons she learned along the way. You won't want to miss it!

In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts and reflections on this interview. We look forward to having you back for the next chapter in the life of Balqees Opeyemi Alabi.

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