BY JACOB AJOM
In a season many are talking politics, promising the electorate heaven on earth if voted to power in 2015, one individual, a mother, a professional and an avowed believer in the possibility of changing the world by educating the child remains unyielding in her chosen pastime. Mrs Rali Abdulsalam, a business analyst/accountant with over 14 years of varied work experience in oil and gas sector has a pet project – Kiddies Talent Hunt TV Reality show, which she started in 2013.
“It all started when a young man, Tobi Adefunke told me he was wanted to organise a beauty pageant for kids. I had my reservations for the project because I felt that would be exploitative. I felt there could be more positive ways of engaging these kids. Then I thought of a talent hunt show which will look at those things the society often ignores, with a view to bringing out the best in every child that comes up for the programme.”
She explained that the programme has five stages – audition, selection, mentorship, the grand finale and tutorship. Tutorship is enjoyed by the 24 finalists who make it to the boot camp. And this, she said has paid off for some of the gifted kids discovered during the first edition of the programme.
“At the grand finale which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites Mufutau Adeleke got scholarship spontaneously from one of the parents among the spectators. In another case, we have been able to sign a recording deal with Quay Productions to produce a single for one of the girls, while in yet another instance, we have one of the boys who will be training with Lego, a construction company. One of the girls discovered is called Gift. She is just 6 and will be presenting her writings on Inspiration fm, Lagos.”
Abdulsalam said the programme highlights the innate skills in each child. “As parents, you know my child has this special talent that others don’t have. On our part we have a lot of professionals in various fields who help bring out the best in these kids. Some offer their services for free.” she said.
She disclosed that plans were on for the next edition of the programme. “We are preparing hard towards the next edition which should come up between January and April 2015. The forms are available on our website, www.kts/ngr.com and auditioning will take place in January next year.”
According to her, it has not been all smooth for the programme, The challenges were numerous. “The problem of acceptance associated with any novel idea and that of finance were some of the inhibiting factors.
“Initially, some companies were skeptical. But as we moved round with an aggressive marketing thrust, we were able to get some of them on our side. These include MTN, Diamond Bank, AMNI Petroleum, Lego Funturf among others. We will ever remain grateful to them,” she said.
She also acknowledged the immense contribution of the Lagos State Commissioner for education, “who approved the proposal even without seeing us. We were able to get to schools and sold the idea to them. They schools in turn saw the advantages in the programme as the participation of their pupils would project the name of the school if they do well.”
Has she found this satisfying? Abdulsalam smiled and projecting her voice even higher, she said, “It is fulfilling and I am glorifying God that he is using me to affect children positively and make them useful to themselves, their families and the society at large.”