A non-governmental organisation, Ibironke Adeagbo (I-A) Foundation is set to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria with its vision to fund the education of children from less privileged backgrounds.
This is coming in response to a study by the United Nation International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), which stated that one of the world’s five out-of-school children is Nigerian with the United Nations putting the figure at 13 million.
The founder of the United Kingdom-based NGO, Mrs. Ibironke Adeagbo, while speaking with journalists, said the number is alarming and as such requires urgent attention.
She said the NGO will work with government at federal and state levels to reduce the number.
“I worked in the education sector in the UK where I encouraged children to aspire to go to the university. So, when I came to Nigeria and found children on the streets who are meant to be in school loitering over the place, it was sad. 13.2 million is a lot of number. Hence, the foundation has come to Nigeria to work with government to reduce the number of children that are out of school.
“We are looking at funding less privileged children from primary school to university level. Ogun State is our pilot project. If it works well in Ogun, it would spread to other states. We are going to find out who needs the service and that they need it before giving them.”
Adeagbo added that to generate funds for the project, the foundation will host a black tie dinner in London where foreign donors can give towards the project.
She said an endowment fund has been created at Olabisi Onabanjo University to reward students who come out best in accounting, which she said would spur intellectual resilience in students and build the quality of accountants in the country.
According to her, among the challenges the organisation has experienced is the inadequacy of sustenance at some centres.
“We worked in Nasarrawa State where we went to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. We took some resources to them and brought some teachers to teach the children because they could not go to school. We sat with them, ate with them and got the teachers to teach them. “When we returned to monitor the project later, we understood that some of the security guards working at the IDP camp took some of the resources from the kids. Which is sad.”
Meanwhile, one of the trustees of the foundation, Mr. Diran Famakinwa, who is optimistic about incorporating less privileged children into the formal school system, said providing the children with education is a basic human right which should not be denied any individual.
“We ought to raise the profile for this issue. It is a national problem. A person has very limited chance of becoming economically viable without education. We believe that as we get more people educated, we increase the number of people creating innovations for more economic possibilities,” he said.