Ambode Laments Poor Living Standard among Lagos Pupils

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  •  Unveils special intervention for 225,000 indigents

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode has lamented poor living standard among pupils in 1,016 primary schools in the state, noting that most pupils “come to schools barefooted.”

Ambode has also unveiled a special intervention under the Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM), which according to statistics, would benefit at least 225,000 pupils across the state.

She expressed grave concerns about the plight of Lagos pupils at the unveiling of Project Bright Steps at Ikorodu with the distribution of 50,000 shoes and branded socks in public schools across the state.

According to her, Project Bright Steps, an initiative of HOFOWEM is to boost the morale of the children and sensitise the parents that the welfare of pupils is important, in getting the best of them in their academic pursuits.

She explained that the initiative started in February 2017, noting that 175,000 shoes and HOFOWEM-branded socks, were distributed to all primary 1 – 3 pupils of public schools across the state.

Ambode said getting the best from education “begins with proper dressing to school. We have observed with some pain, that most pupils were less than properly dressed to school, as some turned up in bathroom slippers while many others went barefooted.
She noted that the sort of daily appearance for school activities certainly could not guarantee them the desired self-esteem, for confidence to excel in their academic work.

At HOFOWEM, according to her, “we have considered this challenge and settled on the mass procurement and distribution of shoes and socks to the pupils, at least to prepare them for school.”

After the 2017 edition, she noted that the foundation unveiled 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.

“The distribution centres are: Agege, Maryland, Yaba, Ojo, Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Lagos Island and Ikorodu which doubles as the flag-off venue. This arrangement is for easier accessibility to the various schools and the benefitting pupils.”

Ambode said 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.

Thanking all public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies, who had assisted HOFOWEM in its humanitarian endeavours, she urged the pupils to be serious with their academic work and that they should not make excuses of challenges and limitations.

“Pupils can learn something new every day, if you listen attentively in class. With strong determination, pupils can overcome all barriers to achieve their 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 said.

The Chief Executive Officer of HOFOWEM, Mrs. Oyefunke Olayinka said 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 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.

“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 at the event, 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 1,016 primary schools.

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.

“The First Lady has a burning desire to touch the lives of the less privileged in the society. She is everywhere assisting the indigents. This initiative is continuous all through the year,” she said.