By Kelechukwu Iruoma
A non-governmental organization, Hope for African Children Initiative, has given seven out-of-school children full scholarships to go back to school and gave out educational materials such as school bags, sandals and writing materials, among others, were distributed to about 1,000 children in Makoko, Lagos.
The event, which witnessed career talks, mentorship and skills acquisition for the children living in the slum, was in accordance with the advocacy program of the organization.
“While many children in the slum do not go to school, the slum environment, poverty and lack of school facilities are enough challenges in ensuring quality education and satisfactory learning achievement for the children living in the slum.
It is not rare to see cases of 100 pupils per teacher or students sitting in the small classroom space of school buildings which are usually on water because of the lack of classrooms,” the organization’s Executive Director, Noel Alumona said.
An example was that of Queen Esther, an 8year old little girl who had never been to school in her entire life but was awarded a scholarship to cover everything about her school from primary till she finishes her secondary education.
Recounting his encounter with Queen, Alumona said: “I met her at the slum in Makoko, paddling a boat herself. There was something so extraordinary about her; her charisma, her pretty smiles, and her calmness.
While our volunteers went through the Makoko slum, our attention was caught by the crown on her head and her carriage as she passed us, paddling the boat by herself.”
“We got off the boat, called her and requested to see the family. After our enquiries, we got to know that she has never been to school at all because her family could not afford to send her to school.
Well, the good news is that we offered her a full scholarship to cover both her primary and secondary education, including school materials and uniforms,” he said.
He said the programme is under the organization’ HACI Scholarship Scheme which aims at ensuring that no child is left out of the classroom. For Funmi Obayemi, a mother of one of the children who benefitted from the scholarships expressed appreciation to the organization, saying they have helped her child secure a bright future by sending him to school.