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‘Why I gave goats as prizes to outstanding students’

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By Nwafor Sunday

Rev. Fr. Dr Innocent Nwafor, the parish priest of St. Michael Awgbu, Catholic Church, Awka Diocese, has explained why he decided to give out goats to distinguished students of Santa Maria Nursery and Primary School, Egbeani-Ezeawulu Nibo, Anambra State.

One of the reasons he gave was that the poor among the distinguished students can sell the goat for school fees and purchase books that will help their learning.

Recall that last week, the management of Santa Maria Nursery and Primary School splashed gifts (goats) to outstanding students for distinguishing themselves academically in their various classes.

Asked how it started, Fr. Nwafor said: “Actually, it is an initiative of an Austria-based NGO called ORA. The programme is ongoing in some Africa countries such as Ghana.

“An office of the NGO happened to be in the community where I worked for some time. Through a friend, it was extended to Nigeria.”

Quizzed on the choice of goats, he said: “It makes the children to be down to earth.

“In Awgbu, where the programme has been going on for three years now, some children are learning for the first time the various kinds of goat’s food.

“Second is for economic value. The children learn to take care of animal till it gives birth. The child sells it and uses the money to pay school fees, if in private school or buy novels among other things.

“So they learn to care for animals. In that way, they can better develop their caring sensibility to follow human beings.

“It will equally help them to develop a positive self-image. They look at the goat and feel that it is the fruit of my handiwork and make them work harder.”

To reduce poverty and increase the level of education in the school, Fr. Innocent said: “A lot still needs to be done.

“We need computers, whiteboard, standard tables for teachers and scholarships. The school manager can speak better in this regard.”

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