Rose Ihudiya Amuzie is a passionate young Nigerian who is making radical changes with education in Ajegunle, Lagos. Using plastics to enrol their children in school, the first class graduate speaks about her projects and her passion for education.
Can you give an overview of your background and how it has influenced your life’s direction?
If it wasn’t for a kind benefactor who saw me through school, I don’t think I will be here today doing this. I grew up in Ajegunle and I still live in Ajegunle where access to educational opportunities is a bit of problem for many children here. I went to Covenant University where I bagged a first-class degree in Sociology.
Growing up, my parents experienced difficulty paying my tuition of 6000 naira at the time and I had to drop out of school to a public school where my kind benefactor saw me and decided to take up my education all though secondary and tertiary.
My sister founded Isrina schools in 2015 and due to how the parents are not able to provide for their children’s fees (5000 naira) because of low resources, we decided to partner with the “African Clean-Up Initiative” (acinigeria) through their recycles pay educational project to enable parents to support their children through school using recyclables. If they can’t go far, at least let them have the basic education they need to survive in their everyday life.
What misconception about Ajegunle do you think should be addressed?
Whenever I tell people that I stay in Ajegunle, they give me a funny look and ask if I really attended Covenant University. They see this place as a place filled with rascals, where people are not well to do and don’t have a future or hope. I want to address it that there are potentials here, people with raw talents that if only people can dive into harvesting the opportunities.
How have these projects helped in changing the lives of the benefiting parties?
Now, we have more kids in school because it is like a haven for them when they come to school. They are not on the streets roaming around unlike before; their literacy and numeracy skills have improved overtime- they can now read and discuss with their peers. We usually have teamwork in school and thanks to educational organisations that have donated educational materials, these kids can have writing materials to use in school.
In a way, the parents usually see the school as a free school because whenever the parents come to register their children and don’t have the means, we try to give the child what he/she needs to begin school. Sometimes, we give notebooks donated by other people and textbooks also for those that will leave theirs when going to another class. With the adoption of the recycles pay educational project, parents can now cater to the needs of their children by bringing in the plastics [allows for parents to exchange plastics with textbooks, continuous assessment and cover a part of their children’s fees] and at the same time, it also helps in keeping the environment clean.
What are your goals by being a part of these projects?
In assisting these children, one of the goals in 2020 is to see how these kids can have a conducive learning environment. Where the school stays is in a rented facility and it is not conducive enough for learning. No place to play around, no sporting activities and it is in a way congested for the children. One of the goals I have for them is to have a place for the children where they can have different segments. We usually have skills acquisition programs and we have to wait for school to be over before we can do that because there is no space dedicated to that particular purpose.
Also, reaching out to more children on the streets so that they can have access to basic educational opportunities. I desire this and I hope through the support of various organisations, I can get it done this year.
What are the major challenges in carrying out these projects?
Finance is one of the major problems and also a space of ours is another challenge. The day to day running of the schools can be a challenge as we rely on donations. Getting finance to pay the teachers is also another challenge, there is passion in teaching but at the same time, we still need something to keep motivating them.
What is your view on the educational system in rural communities in Nigeria?
My view on education in rural communities is that most of the things we learn are not connected to today’s realities of life. Getting educational support and material is also a bit of problem, you can imagine how a child is meant to learn without a book. If they can have access to these things, it will improve their learning and exposure.
Having modern technology in classrooms is also another problem facing schools in low-income communities in Ajegunle.
How do you think the Nigeria education system can be better?
There is a lot of work to be done but if we can improve on the curriculum, introduce technology to the classroom, I think it can lead to an improvement in the Nigerian education system.