The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, through her foundation, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, (HOFOWEM), has flagged-off the distribution of 50,000 shoes and socks to pupils in Lagos Primary Schools. Muritala Ayinla reports
At a time when most parent can hardly pay their children schools fees. When most children of school age are found on the street begging or hawking just because their parent cannot afford to enroll them in school, the Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, (HOFOWEM), a Non-Non-Governmental organization is embarking on initiatives, “Project Bright Steps” aimed at encouraging children enrolment in schools.
It is a common fact that most parents are gradually losing interest in the education of their children, while others are forced to withdraw their wards from schools due to the economic realities. Some of the pupils yet to be withdrawn go to schools shabbily dressed or lacks some basic items needed for academic success.
This, according to Mrs Ambode, founder of the NGO, informed HOFOWEM’s decision to embark on ways of encouraging some of the parents boost the morale of the children. She said with the interventions such as donation basic items needed by the pupils, the foundation would also be sensitising the society that the welfare of pupils is important, in getting the best of them in their academic pursuits.
Flagging off the distribution of 50,000 shoes and socks at the Cherubim and Seraphim Primary School, Lagos Road, Majidun in Ikorodu, Mrs Ambode said getting the best from education began with proper dressing to school, saying that the foundation had observed with some pain, that many pupils were less than properly dressed to school, as some turned up in bathroom slippers while many others went barefooted.
New Telegraph gathered that in the first edition of Project Bright Steps in Februaryv2017, 175,000 shoes and HOFOWEM- branded socks were distributed to all Primary 1-3 pupils of public primary schools across Lagos State.
Hence, for easier accessibility to the various schools and the benefitting pupils, the distribution centres are stationed in Agege, Maryland, Yaba, Ojo, Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Lagos Island and Ikorodu.
The Governor’s wife said that indecent appearance of pupils for school activities would certainly not guarantee them the desired self-esteem, for confidence to excel in their academic work, saying that the pupils could be encouraged by making them look elegant while in the school uniforms.
She said: “Our Foundation had pondered this and settled on the mass procurement and distribution of shoes and socks to the pupils, at least to prepare them for school.
By the grace of God, upon the huge success recorded in the first edition, we are flagging-off the second edition of the project today, with a plan to distribute no less than 50,000 shoes and branded socks, to the Primary One pupils of public schools across the State.
Commending all the public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies, who had assisted HOFOWEM in its humanitarian endeavours, she assured that Project Bright Steps was planned as an annual event, and would continue as such, by God’s grace, to touch as many pupils as possible in the state’s public primary schools.
Mrs. Ambode urged the pupils to be serious with their academic work and that they should not make excuses of challenges and limitations. “You can learn something new every day, if you listen attentively in class. And with strong determination, you can overcome all barriers to achieve your desired dream. Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet to the ground, do small things, in great ways. It is about your attitude of mind,” she counselled the pupils.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, HOFOWEM, Mrs Oyefunke Olayinka said the Project Bright Steps was a programme aimed at increasing school attendance by equipping pupils for school, thereby serving as a means of support for indigent parents, who might find it difficult to provide the basic school needs, required by their children and wards for enjoyable schooling.
According to her, since the commencement of operations, the foundation had touched the lives of many and is still putting smiles on the faces of the less-privileged without wavering, adding that through the foundation’s various humanitarian programmes, hundreds of women, children and youths had been reached. She said: “Parents and guardians should know that anything worth having does not come easy.
All hands must be on deck, backed by prayers to achieve our most ambitious goals for our children,” she said, while charging the pupils to put in their best in everything they set out to do.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Mr. Ajayi Ajibola commended Mrs. Ambode for the gesture, as it would relieve parents the burden of providing shoes and socks for their wards. Also speaking, Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Dr. Ganiyu Sopeyin said the distribution of the shoes and socks would take place in all 1,016 public primary schools across the State.
He said last year, pupils in primary one to three benefitted from the distribution in 1,010 primary schools. Commending the Governor’s wife for the gesture, Sopeyin added that the exercise was a testimony that the present administration’s clarion call to Non-Governmental Organisations, NGO, was yielding the needed synergy between government and well meaning Nigerians to raise the standard of basic education in the State.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Adekanye described the project as laudable and a step in the right direction to provide quality and accessible education to pupils in Lagos State Primary Schools.
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