File photo of Almajirai.
By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
THE Kaduna State Government, in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has begun the process of integrating hundreds of Almajirai into formal education system. This came as the deputy governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, said that the government welcomes the support that development partners are providing in its quest to educate all children. She said the policy of free education for the first 12 years is aimed at expanding access to education by removing obstacles like school fees and lack of food, noting that Kaduna State was grateful to development partners and civil society organisations for complementing the effort to put all children in school, by designing a programme that provides financial relief to street children and their families.
The deputy governor who spoke during at the flag-off of cash disbursement to almajirai under the Children in Street Situation Programme, held at the Yar’Adua Hall Murtal Square, Kaduna, informed that the programme will commence with 2,674 almajirai who will each receive N5,000 each as cash transfer. According to her, the donors plan to increase the amount to N10, 000 to ensure that these children are enrolled and kept in schools. Dr. Balarabe noted that the innovative intervention covers “financial inclusion through banking the beneficiaries, promoting social inclusion through birth and digital identity registration and expanding literacy through enrolment and provision of accessory materials and uniforms.”
She listed stakeholders involved in the almajirai project to include the National Population Commission which is providing the children with birth certificates. Others are Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board which is providing reading materials, and Keystone Bank which has opened accounts for the beneficiaries. According to her, the Kaduna State Resident Identity Management Agency is registering and enrolling the children with National Identity Numbers, NIN, while UNICEF is providing the funds for the cash disbursement. Dr. Balarabe pointed out that Governor Nasir el Rufai’s administration was bent on developing human capital and providing equal opportunity for every resident of Kaduna State, noting that the governor’s love for children “ensured that Kaduna State enacted the Child Welfare and Protection Law in 2018, to domesticate the Child Rights Act and to further strengthen policies taken to promote the access of all children to decent education and health care.”