Meet Young Philanthropist: Omowunmi Afolabi
Omowumi Afolabi’s TEACH Initiative is chock-full of lessons, nuggets and the like. For me, it re-emphasizes the reality that one’s past and history -good or bad- can spur one to achieve great things, positive things, impactful things! And so, every experience must be treasured and moulded into a veritable channel of good tidings.
As the fourth of seven children with a Police Officer father and a ‘petty trader’ mother, Omowunmi could not boast of an affluent past. She was the child who sold bread on the streets with her siblings to make ends meet. Despite these challenges, she was able to have an education, perhaps not the sort she wished for, but adequate to job done.
Not one to throw pity parties, Omowumi’s experience made her sensitive to the plight of impecunious pupils in impoverished schools and communities.
As a Youth Corp member in Yobe State, she gave free classes to over 50 children in the community under a tree at the village square and received a State award for community development upon completion of her service year.
In 2008, she founded the TEACH (Transforming Education and Championing Health) Initiative which is designed as an innovative, community-based and integrated school health, school feeding, and public pre-primary & primary education project that specifically addresses the UN SDG 4 and it’s corresponding targets.
T.E.A.C.H believes they can change the world through education, one community at a time.
Their mission statement is: “To improve access to quality pre-primary and primary level education in safe, healthy and conducive learning conditions that maximizes the benefits from educational programmes for as many children as possible.”
TEACH aims to improve the poor quality of education received by many primary school students who are currently insufficiently equipped for successful transition to secondary school.
TEACH has currently adopted four public primary schools in a Satellite town community in Lagos state, Nigeria and they are currently running a #Dress2Learn campaign which is designed to replace torn and worn out uniforms with new ones for children in adopted community schools who could not otherwise afford them.
Dress2Learn hopes to reduced pupil absenteeism, increase pupil participation in school activities, boost self esteem and give the pupils a sense of belonging and school pride.
Their other modus operandi includes tutoring, mentoring, health, school feeding (providing a nutritious meal or snack a day) scholarships (for Orphans and Vulnerable children) and infrastructural upgrades.
I daresay that in another half-decade, TEACH will be a vital part of the success story of many young pupils today. That alone is a lesson in itself; are your projects scalable and sustainable?
What lessons have you learnt? Do share in the comment section below!