Dreams from the Slum Empowerment Initiative, a Lagos based Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, observed the 5th of September as International Day of Charity with a major event at Araromi Community in Ajegunle. It was part of its annual SmartInSchool project, designed to orientate and support children, providing educational scholarships and educational materials majorly for out of school children who lives in the rural areas.
The event started by 10 AM with an opening prayer by one of the volunteer Dreams from the Slum, Chimezie Udechukwu. Beyond the expectation of the organizers, over 1,000 children were present at the event, making the venue to get choked up. But that did not stop the children and their parent from staying back till the end of the event.
Isaac Success Omoyele, Founder, Dreams from the Slum Initiative told TELL that the whole idea was to get children to be smart in school with their educational materials and also provide scholarship opportunities to them.
“The initiative is aimed at raising awareness and providing a common platform for charity related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level.”
He explained further that “We have been in existence since 2013. This programme which is the third edition is an annual event marked on the International Day of Charity. It is tagged Smart in School Project to encourage people to give back and for us to also give back. The whole idea is to get children to be smart in school with their educational materials and also provide scholarship opportunity to them. There are many children in slum communities that are out of school.
According to Omoyele, Nigeria has the highest number of children that are not in school. He said, “It is not surprising that because of the pen and book some children are not in school, so we want children to go back to school with all educational needs. Today, we are giving materials to over 1,000 children in Ajegunle – textbooks, notebooks, and school bags”.
He further said that his life journey motivated him to set up the initiative. “I grew up in the slum and out of school several times, all because my parents could not afford my school fees and also because I lacked basic school needs. It was a big challenge for me, being unable to complete my education. But thank God for the scholarship I got. This experience gave me the inspiration and the determination to help other people living in the slum community starting from where I grew up at Ajegunle. I want every child to get at least a basic education.”
He appealed to corporate bodies for support, stressing that “The attendance is so much that the materials we have are just not enough. We budgeted for 1,000 children and we have over 6,000 people here. I just believe that partners out there will come to support when next we are having another programme.
Jasmine Greg Nwoye from Irede Foundation gave an insight on children with disability. To him, every child irrespective of their disability has a right to quality education. “Having a child with lost limb doesn’t stop them from having education. He also used himself as an example because he has no limbs but that doesn’t stop him from having education.
On his part, Crystal Cummincy from Trinidad and Tobago, during the first speech of the day on Dyslexic disorder, also confirmed that she is a victim of Dyslexic disorder, a learning disorder that affects the ability to read, spell, and speak. “Children who have it are often smart and hardworking but they have trouble connecting the letters they see to the sound those letters make. About 5 to 6% of American have some symptoms of Dyslexic such as slow reading trouble spelling or mixing up words. Adults have this disorder as well. Some people are diagnosed early in life while others don’t realize they have Dyslexic until they get older. Investment in education is the right thing to do. Children in the slum should not be denied education,” she said.
A lade identified as Rose, a member of Bimbo Odukoya Foundation emphasizes more on child protection and family planning. “Sex education is very important and parents must teach their children sex education at a very tender age,” she said.