Oluwafunke Adeoye: A Nigerian Lawyer Who Walked The Path Less Travelled Wins Waislitz Global Citizens Award



Oluwafunke Adeoye: A Nigerian Lawyer Who Walked The Path Less Travelled Wins Waislitz Global Citizens Award

A humanitarian Lawyer who has taken it upon herself to give free legal representation to indigent pre-trial detainees across board is worth celebrating hence the Waislitz Global Citizens Award Win. Discover more about this amazing personality and her motivations.

By Blessing Iwowari

PUBLISHED: August 15, 2023

In a remarkable celebration, the world’s leading advocacy organization, The Global Citizen, dedicated to social change and eradicating extreme poverty, alongside The Waislizt Foundation, a private foundation seeking to create opportunities for positive social impact both locally and internationally, announced three extraordinary winners doing great and impactful work in their various fields of endeavor on the 8th of august, 2023 for cash prices of $250,000. The first awardee went home with a whooping grand price of $100,000 while the other two categories had $75,000 each for second and third categories.  A Nigerian lawyer has been named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Waislitz Global Citizens Award. This accolade not only recognizes the lawyer's outstanding contributions to the criminal justice sector but also sheds light on the organization behind the award and its inspiring contributions globally.

Oluwafunke Adeoye, a humanitarian Lawyer through her organization Hope Behind Bars, an NGO that she founded in 2018, is the first-ever individual of the global award to be working in the justice criminal sector. She was recognized for the role she has been playing in the criminal justice sector which is bridging the justice gap by providing free legal representation and support to free indigent incarcerated individuals thereby promoting criminal justice reforms through thorough research and technology. Hope behind Bars was birth as a result of the first-hand experience she witnessed in prison of the injustice meted out on indigent prisoners who were wrongfully accused and could not afford the legal fees needed to pursue their cause. It was personal to her because her father was wrongfully incarcerated without trial too. 

According to the interview she was granted right after receiving the prestigious awards in Abuja, Nigeria. She recounts how coming from a very poor background with big dreams has made her lookout for such opportunities that aligned with her vision. She opted to start representing indigent inmates for free at the young age of 26 years old, newly happily wedded with a kid. She dared to follow the path less travelled because of her burning desire to rescue helpless people in dire situations. This burning desire made her forget everything else, only armed with God’s assurances that he wanted her to do the work of helping low-income prisoners get justice especially those wrongfully incarcerated. This she has done diligently over the years without looking back.

How Hope Without Bars Has Impacted Indigent Inmates

  • They have helped over 7,500 indigent inmates get all forms of intervention. Through their Access to Justice program, they meet indigent persons in contact with the justice system at various detention or correctional centers and offer free legal aid services to them. 
  • They ensure that women and children and other vulnerable persons who are wrongly accused or are victims of human rights violations are the first to get legal representation.
  • They do not just represent inmates legally and get them out of prison, they also make sure they are well taken care of by providing, food, shelter, and teaching them life skills they need to be empowered and well-integrated into society.
  • They have done well to integrate innovative technology in providing access to justice. This she’s about to do by fully launching a Tech App called “Justicepadi” that will revolutionize legal aid and continue to expand her work in West Africa and beyond.

What is The Waislitz Global Citizens Award:

The Waislitz Global Citizens Award is an esteemed recognition bestowed upon individuals who have impacted lives and exhibited remarkable excellence in their efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and its systemic causes. The award serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for change-makers across the globe knowing that their service to mankind is being appreciated and celebrated. Australian businessman and investor, Alex Waislitz founded Waislitz Foundation in 2013. The foundation represents a new approach to giving. It aims to invest in, and directly impact some of the world's biggest social problems through active participation in the projects it supports. These awards are given out every year to the recipients that qualify, to help improve the quality of people's lives through innovative initiatives and partnerships that they are part of.

Global Citizen Award: A Catalyst for Change 

Global Citizen is the world’s leading international organization that leverages the power of advocacy, engagement, and education to end extreme poverty and promote social equality. Rooted in the belief that collective action can drive transformative impact, Global Citizen operates through a unique blend of digital activism, live events, and policy advocacy. The organization harnesses the influence of renowned artistes, the media, activists, the corporate sector, and world leaders to raise awareness and generate support for critical issues, ranging from health and education to gender equality and environmental sustainability. Established in Australia in 2008, Global Citizen can be traced back to a music festival in 2012. The inaugural Global Citizen Festival, held in New York City's Central Park, united renowned musicians, celebrities, and advocates on a single stage to inspire a global movement for change. This event marked the birth of a new era in social activism, combining entertainment and advocacy to rally citizens around the world to take meaningful action. Over the past 10 years, monies realized from campaigns and commitments announced on global citizens' platforms, in billions of dollars have been used to impact over a billion lives.

The recent recognition of the  Nigerian lawyer, Oluwafunke Adeoye with the Waislitz Global Citizens Award, which comes with a $75,000 prize, portrays the profound impact that individuals can have on society when driven by compassion and a sense of global responsibility. It also highlights the transformative potential of organizations like Global Citizen and the Waislitz Foundation which have seamlessly merged advocacy, entertainment, and activism to catalyze positive change. We will continue to celebrate the accomplishments of this exceptional lawyer alongside her team who have made Nigeria proud and placed the country on the world map for something positive and worth emulating. The prize money awarded will allow her to do more, break new ground and expand her reach. “Ending extreme poverty is not a choice, it’s an obligation. My hope is that it will inspire many thousands of people around the world to do what they can to improve the living standards of those in dire need,” Alex Waislitz, Chairman and Founder of the Melbourne-based Waislitz Foundation.

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