By Florence Onuegbu
The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International on Sunday inaugurated its 100 per cent free school in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State.
The free school project in Ibeju-Lekki, which is built under the auspices of the Inner City Mission for Children is the fourth in Lagos State and 10th in Nigeria.
The Chief Sponsor of the project, Pastor Deola Phillips, who spoke on behalf of co-sponsors at the inauguration said that the 100 per cent free school project was to ensure that the indigent children had access to proper education.
Phillips, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Love world Incorporated said that education remained a core focus area for the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International.
She said that in Nigeria, the estimated number of out-of-school children remained unacceptably high, as reports had it that poverty was a major reason why millions of them had never seen the four walls of a school or had dropped out of school.
According to her, the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International is at the forefront of protecting the right of every indigent child to education, as it is strongly believe that education can be the catalyst that breaks the cycle of poverty.
”By giving indigent children access to education and helping them learn relevant life skills, we are molding them to become profitable members of society which will, in turn, help us to build and sustain vibrant and economically stable communities.
”Today, we are set to commission the InnerCity Mission Primary School, Ibeju-Lekki which will provide a suitable place of learning for the children in this community and environs.
”This is a monumental step in building the foundation of a great future for them. This Primary School will equip boys and girls alike from communities in Ibeju-Lekki with necessary tools to help them live above poverty and deprivation.
”Through the unique curriculum we offer, they will be transformed to become children who would grow up to be adults who bring profit and not destruction to the society.
”Today’s child is tomorrow’s future. This school represents hope, opportunity, and is a message to every child who will be enrolled here that their dreams are possible,” she said.
Phillips said that children in the community would no longer have to walk for long hours to get to the nearest school, as education had been brought right to their doorsteps and a new day had begun.
In her opening speech, the Director, Inner City Mission, Pastor Omoh Alabi said that to deny children their fundamental right to education was to hamper the growth and advancement of any nation.
According to Alabi, the school is completely free, as it is a sustained solution that eliminates the financial barriers limiting children in low-income families from accessing or completing their primary school education; irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity or nationality.
She said that each child enroled across the network of schools received a scholarship to start and complete their primary education
Alabi said that in addition to quality education, they received school uniforms, school shoes and socks, textbooks, notebooks, stationery, school bags, sportswear and free transportation to & from school.
She added that they would receive free Primary Health Care at the school dispensaries, free school meals and more, all through their primary education journey, at no cost
”Since its inception, over 2,000 orphaned, vulnerable and excluded children have enjoyed the opportunity to complete their primary education and its complementary services, all thanks to the indefatigable support of Partners of the Chris Oyahkilome Foundation International,” Alabi said.
In her welcome address, the Coordinator, Education Programme, Deaconess Venessa Nosegbe said that the mission was spreading its tentacles globally, to see that every indigent was given an opportunity to education.
Nosegbe said that the aim was to provide a broad and up to date educational experience for the indigent child, with focus on their spiritual, physical and mental development for a life of service and fulfilment.
She said that with the blend of Nigerian/British curriculum, every child learning needs would be addressed.
Also speaking, Oba Muideen Balogun, the Onisolu of Solu-Alade Kingdom commended the foundation for choosing Ibeju-Lekki for the project, as the presence of the school would count as another development marker for Ibeju-Lekki.
”Let me use this opportunity to call on other well-meaning individuals and organisations to find ways and means to site industries, projects and other meaningful initiatives in Ibeju Lekki.
”Infact, Ibeju Lekki is considered the fastest developing area of Lagos State and there is no better time to put your presence here, than now,” Balogun said.
The Chairman, Ibeju-Lekki Local Council Development Area, Mr Olowa Jaja thanked the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International for the free education and complimenting the work of the government.
Jaja, who was represented by the Chief Technical Adviser on PPP, Mr Quadri Adedayo said that the local government council would ensure the protection of the education facility. (NAN)