…364 kids get bags, books, writing materials
Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation (CEF) has donated school bags, books and other writing materials to the pupils of three Lagos public primary schools in Mushin Local Government Area (LGA).
The donation was part of Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation’s ‘Kit-a-child’ programme held every new school year.
The schools – all on Ladipo Street, Papa Ajao – are Oduduwa Primary School, Estate Primary School and Papa Ajao Primary School.
The children – 364 of them from kindergarten to primary six – were gifted school bags, exercise books comprising 40 leaves for kids in the older classes and 2A, 2B and 2D for their juniors, pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners as well as free snacks of doughnuts and a drink.
At Papa Ajao Primary School, Head Teacher Mrs. Oladele Folayemi described Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation as a godsend for indigent parents and their wards.
Folayemi, who administers the school’s 174 pupils with a staff strength of only five teachers and one cleaner, lamented that most parents had been unable to afford writing materials for their wards.
“I’m very glad because they (CEF) have done a wonderful thing. The parents of some of these pupils have not been able to afford their books. But now all of them that are present today have received the writing materials and I am very glad about that.
“A child came to school with only one notebook. I asked the mum, ‘Is it only one notebook your child will use for 12 subjects?’ She sighed and said ‘God will help me. I’m hoping that by Monday, I would have bought her more notebooks.’ That mother will be pleasantly surprised to see her child return home today with so many books. Many more parents who hear of Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation’s gesture will also be attracted to bring their children to this school. We are very grateful,” she said
The delight was similar at Oduduwa Pry School, where Mrs. Akpan Sifon Godwin is Head Teacher with over 86 pupils and nine-member staff strength.
“I am so happy about today, about what I have seen Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation do for the children. They gave them bags, books and many other things. I am very happy. I pray that the Almighty God will reward them. As they have done for these children, I pray God will do for their kids too and they will continue to make progress in life.
She noted that since she was appointed head teacher last year, “only one other non-governmental organisation has come to visit these kids, but Cakasa has done even more marvellously.”
Mrs. Godwin noted that the school’s challenges were many, and lamented that it seemed the pupils and staff had been abandoned by the government.
Pointing at the broken ceiling of several classrooms, she said: “It seems as if they (government) dumped us here. Everywhere is dilapidated; you can see that even the walls are not painted, we are just like that.
“We are looking for help, people should come and help us; we need more help so that these children will feel at home in school, they will not feel like they’ve been abandoned.
“I have up to 86 kids here, from kindergarten to primary six. My staff strength is nine, both teaching and non-teaching. Each class has one arm each, but because we don’t have enough teachers, we joined two levels in the same class. So, primary one and two are in the same classroom, primary three and four too, etc, because of a lack of teachers.
“I’ve complained about the problem to the authorities, even the Mushin Local Government Area Chairman promised to do something for a long time, but never came back to fulfil his promise.”
Estate Pry School, with its 104 pupils and four teachers, is administered by Mrs Orelaro Abosede who thanked CEF for fulfilling its promise to help the school meet some of its challenges.
“When EkoExcel came to tell us that they wanted to link us up with an NGO that they saw doing wonders somewhere, I said okay, if it is something that will be beneficial to our children, they are wholeheartedly welcome. So, CEF came and we told them some of our problems. They left and promised to return.
“They’ve now fulfilled their promise and have done welcome back to school for the children. I really appreciate Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation. They have been trying and we have seen it now, we have enjoyed it. The donations they made have solved one of the problems we listed.
The CEF team was led by its Executive Director, Mrs. Helen Egbe, who noted that the foundation has been in existence since 2014
She explained that the annual ‘Kit-a-child’ scheme is under CEF’s education portfolio.
Egbe said: “Under education, we try to help parents alleviate the poverty and challenges they are facing getting materials, such as notebooks and school bags for their kids.
“What informed this Kit-a-child’ programme is that most of the children in public schools come to school without writing materials, bags, and school shoes. On one of my visits to one of the primary schools within the area of our head office, New City Primary School, Palm Avenue, Mushin, I noticed that some of the children were putting on torn uniforms and they came to school without writing materials.
“That is what inspired our Kit-a-child programme, where we are able to – at the beginning of every school year – provide writing materials such as exercise books, pencils, biros, erasers, sharpeners as well as school bags for the older primary school classes. That’s what we have come to do in Oduduwa Primary School and Papa Ajao Primary School. These three schools are within the vicinity of our head office and the area where we are located.”
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic cost many parents their jobs, resulting in many of them being unable to afford their kids’ basic school needs when the new school term resumes.
“With the public schools, we find that a lot of these children do not have these things.
At Papa Ajao, we found out that only three children in a school of over 170 pupils came to school with writing materials. So, coming here today and giving them exercise books, comprising 40 leaves for the older children and 2A, 2B and 2D for the younger ones, has really brought joy for us at Cakasa.
“Our goal is to see a transformed society, we want to be able to help and save lives, ameliorate the challenges faced by the average man in communities like Mushin and Alimosho, etc.
“Even the students we are also supporting in Alimosho LGA – the 10 girls from different schools – we were able to provide not only writing materials, we also bought all the textbooks they need for this new school year and that’s one of the things we are doing in Alimosho LGA, to be able to help these parents. These girls are enjoying this scholarship up to the first university degree, so their programme is unique and different for Alimosho.
“For Mushin, we are doing the back-to-school project and we hope to be able to do more. Many schools need help and we are calling on other meaningful organisations, and kind-hearted Nigerians to also join us in this work so that we can reach more people. A lot more Nigerians need this help and intervention.”
The donation was witnessed by, among others, a representative of the Lagos State government-funded EkoExcel, Mrs. Azenabor Promise, who commended CEF and urged other organisations to partner with schools to lift indigent pupils.