As new school year begins across the country, 300 homeless children in settlements along the Elegushi Beach waterfront in Lagos state have received the support of The Destiny Trust, a non-governmental organisation to go back to school for the 2019/2020 academic session.
The target beneficiaries are children who have never been in school, those who are drop-outs but need re-integration and children who are in school but can’t afford essential school materials.
Speaking on the initiative, Seun Abimbola, programmes manager of the organisation, said education is at the centre of the organisation’s work with disadvantaged children.
“Education is at the heart of our work with children and we remain committed to giving every child a fair opportunity regardless of things that stand on their way,” he said.
Explaining why the organisation focuses on the education of homeless children, he said: “We consider that child displacement is a major contributor to the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, currently an estimated 13.2million. Violent conflict and gentrification uproot many children from the environment where they go to school. When displaced children and families settle in temporary shelters, they usually have very low motivation to put their children in school in the new environment. We are worried that these children grow into teenagers and young adults without education even if they stay longer in the same location. We want to make sure that children go to school wherever they are, wherever they go.”
The organisation called on state governments, especially that of Lagos, to review the admission process for children across public schools, urging against policies that could further widen the literacy gap that every stakeholder in education should be working together to close.
The Destiny Trust provides care, rehabilitation, education and empowerment to homeless children and disadvantaged young people.
The organisation’s intervention has been in slums and poor communities around Lagos.
The Trust also runs a learning and rehabilitation centre for street children at Bogije, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
Here are some pictures of the new initiative of the group: