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Charity Mission School seeks Help to Continue Support for Indigent Children - TELL Magazine

Charity Mission School seeks Help to Continue Support for Indigent Children

Charity Mission School

From Oluchi Ugboaja

Evangelist Abraham Olorunnimilo Ajao is a different kind of proprietor of a school. Where most of his colleagues overbill parents and guardians for everything from tuition to uniforms and extra-curricular activities, the septuagenarian does nothing of such. Instead, for seven years since 2017, he has admitted indigent students to Cornerstone Charity Mission School, CCMS, Papalanto, Ewekoro Local Government, a remote area in Ogun State without asking for a kobo from their parents.

At first, people didn’t believe it. They thought it was a scam, especially considering that no other educational centre had any such programme. And in this era when some criminally minded people are taking advantage of people’s situations, it is hard to believe that there would still be kind-hearted persons who would stake their time and resources for the development of others. But then, news got around and then the rush began. A widow with two kids had tried to enroll them in tuition-paying schools. No luck. “No fees, no school”, they told her. Then she tried CCMS. Her kids were promptly admitted, thanks to the magnanimity of the proprietor of the school, Evangelist Ajao.

Hard to believe, not so? But it’s true. And the increasing number of students on admission is proof enough. Unable to pay the inordinately high tuition fees in schools, especially those run by big time churches, penurious parents had nowhere else to go but to proprietors like Ajao willing to take up their wards under their care for literally nothing.

It is not that the proprietor himself is a moneybag. No! His motivation stems from what he passed through in his younger years. By his own account, he was a brilliant student but didn’t go past Standard 6 because both parents died pretty early.

“I was not yet 10 when they died,” Ajao revealed. So, he dropped out of school. It was galling but as an orphan there was little or nothing to reverse the card fate had dealt him early in life.

Left on their own, there are thousands and thousands of school-age kids denied such opportunities in many communities in Nigeria today. Think of the Almajiris in northern Nigeria, their equivalent hawking water, confectioneries in highways and streets or as domestic servants in the southern part of the country whose fate had already been sealed through no fault of theirs. If fate was unkind to Ajao, he apparently didn’t want it to be so for kids roaming the streets without any form of education. He actually wanted to further his education but was robbed of that.

So, Cornerstone Charity Mission School is meant to bridge that gap for school-age students whose parents can’t afford the fees and sundry levies Shylock proprietors now demand.

Now, there are about 150 students at CCMS though the classrooms might not be your model for an ideal school. There’s a shortage of teachers, chairs and tables. There’s no functional laboratory to speak of. When the Ogun State Education Board paid a visit sometime back, they thought of shutting down the school but had a change of mind when they discovered it was a tuition-free institution.

Of course, there is so much a charity organisation can do or achieve however well-funded. And that is precisely what the administrators of CCMS need at this moment.

“We are appealing to the government, corporate bodies, NGOs and private individuals to support us anyway they can,” Evangelist Ajao pleaded.

Also making the appeal is Pastor Zacchaeus Ademoyegun the head teacher of CCMS, while speaking with the press. He has not been paid any salary for months and it’s not easy as a family man. But his joy is having the students come to school and be taught despite the challenges. “It’s not easy to work and not be paid at the end of the month,” Ademoyegun says, but concedes that “we are working for God because all these children are the children of God.”

According to him, founding members of the ministry and, by extension, the teachers do not receive salaries except two other teachers who are paid promptly, “according to our capacity.”

That capacity, without doubt, can double or even quadruple, it goes without saying, if members of the public come to the aid of the magnanimous proprietor whose dream is to keep the young ones educated up to a certain standard, some notches higher than his own Standard 6 after losing both parents.

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