The ECWA nursery and primary school was established over a decade ago. It is located in a small village called Dadin-kowa about an hour’s drive from Gombe metropolis. It has a nursery and a primary section with a total population of 187 pupils. “This school has a good reputation for academic excellence as the pupils who pass through it are found to speak better English and tend to do well in secondary schools as far as this local Government is concerned” said Mr. Miyims (Head Master). The school charges only $30 per term which is cheaper than other schools around hence, it attracts children of low income earners, petty traders and farmers within and around the community.
Unfortunately, the state of the furniture and infrastructure in the school is disturbing as school pupils are using their laps as tables for writing. This doesn’t seem right and if nothing is done, I believe the passion and zeal to study will gradually deteriorate in the minds of these kids. Despite the state of affairs in this school, there seem to be little or no concern at all to help out as this has been the case since the inception of the school. Yet, these kids are expected to grow up into CEO’s of companies, Engineers, doctors etc., I feel the least we can do is to help make their learning environment a little bit more comfortable.
Therefore, the idea of this project is not just to furnish the class rooms, but also to sensitize and engage the community in the process, thus; enabling the community to become proactive towards matters relating to grass root education. Their (parents, stake holders and the community as a whole) involvement in finding a solution to a problem of sort which a lot of people tend to ignore, thinking it is only the responsibility of the Politicians and Government, will go a long way in helping the common man see the value in education, thereby encouraging their wards to attend and remain in school.
At the end of the presentation, a call was made to the audience and stake holders to get involve – People came out to pledge their support and a sum of 35,000 naira was realised (approximately $200) which was enough to purchase 8 more chairs for the school.
A couple of weeks ago, we visited a village called Laturkwakwa in Akko Local Government area of Gombe State as part of our routine community development programs in villages. My attention was instantly drawn to the dilapidated state of a school in this community. Interestingly, this school is the only school in this community housing over 200 kids, yet, it is without doors, windows and roof. The questions that ran through my mind were; how can we expect these kids to realize their potentials academically when the learning environment is this horrible?..we tend to expect so much from school kids and yet, we provide them with so little. I feel its not right, and hence the motivation to canvass for support from stalk holders in the community, interested individuals and organisations to give this school the much needed face lift.
Participants receiving training on how to produce liquid soap, shampoo, hair cream and body cream at our Community Literacy and Vocational Training Centre
As we touched down in Manilla that faithful afternoon in August to attend the 4th USLS, I instantly felt welcomed from just looking at the smiles on the faces of other delegates as everyone was looking forward to meeting new people and making friends. I knew right away that this was gonna be an amazing experience.
Throughout the various workshops, presentations and interactive sessions that lasted for 6 days, one thing was common and constantly being re-echoed: “Do something for the less privileged and reach out to communities in need”.
Today, as I sit back reflecting on those words, I realised how positively they’ve impacted on me as an individual, as everything I’ve been able to do in my community with regards community service and volunteerism are all products of the inspiration from the symposium. The “Voice in Social Change” competition of the 4th USLS was the motivation for me to develop my community development initiative, and that was a milestone in my journey towards humanitarian service. My experience at the “learning journey” totally opened my eyes to the significance of Service over Power. I now see leadership through the lens of service to humanity, In which case, Leadership has little or nothing to do with occupying an office. It is, and should always be about “what’s in it for the people”, and that’s a clarion call for us all to answer.
Building up on the lessons learnt and experiences acquired from the symposium in Manilla, I founded the “One for All Educational Trust Foundation” in North-eastern Nigeria; an initiative with a focus on promoting grass-root education in rural communities through community participation.
We held our first graduation ceremony for the first set of participants in the tailoring and design unit on 27th Feb, 2016. Eight participants graduated having been found worthy in character and in learning. The next batch will be coming up some months from now.
As a way of saying thank you to the Rotarians and YMCA members in Gombe, who have contributed immensely in the achievement of this success, certificates of appreciation were also presented to these selected individuals in recognition of their valuable contributions.
A Foundation that I co-founded in Gombe after returning home from Australia just executed a project of setting up a library in Billiri community school, Gombe, Nigeria through the collaborative efforts of Swinburne/Northeastern University Global Leadership Class of 2015.
The library is hoped to assist in promoting the reading culture of both students and community members.