A non-governmental organization in Kwara State, Meadows Community and Development Outreach, MCDO, has donated study aids to indigent primary school students in Ilorin to launch its Education Support for the Less Privilege (ESPLP) program.
The procession for the donation of items was held at the organization’s area office in Mandate Estate, Ilorin, on Saturday, November 19, 2022.
The Director, Dr Kareem Waheed, a researcher and university lecturer at the University of Ilorin, stated that the organization was borne out of the desire to help underprivileged persons and families who have fewer advantages, privileges, and opportunities compared to other groups.
According to Dr Kareem, the exercise also placed its beneficiaries on a scholarship scheme, with the intent to fund their education up to Primary 6 level.
Dr Kareem, who spoke on the gradual collapse of education system and scholarship in Nigeria, especially Kwara State, called on the government to accelerate its plans to revive the sector.
He described education as the harbinger of hope for the society, and expressed optimism in the rebirth of the development of Kwara State once adequate provision is made for students and teachers.
“Kwara State will be a lot better when the education of our wards is catered for, taken seriously, and not politicized. These indigent students only need encouragement and little financial support to excel.
“Sometimes in 2016, while on a scholarship for my Ph.D. program in India, a group of my friends who are now co-founders of the initiative with myself, thought of ways to give back to society, and here we are today.
“Imagine the ripple effect when we educate more people to become philanthropists tomorrow. That’s the MCDO vision. In 5-10 years, we want to be part of those instrumental to the growth and development of Kwara State.”
Some items donated include bags, books, sandals, pencils, socks, and various school uniforms.
Speaking on the need to ensure the sustainability of the project, Dr Kareem stated that the beneficiaries in the first phase was selected from fifteen (15) households after an initial assessment was conducted by the team to identify most vulnerable pupils.
“We are looking at something that will last. Something that we can always be accountable for. Our decision to select 15 households is to see that we can manage both resources at our disposal and students on the scheme.
“Today, we have paid their school fees and we intend to keep this ongoing till they graduate in Primary 6. We are happy that their parents were here to oversee the process,” he said.
While urging parents to seize the opportunity to help their kids stay committed to their studies, Abdurrahman Akindele Ayuba, CEO, Center for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, CCEPE, and Coordinator, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All, CSACEFA, noted that the only way to appreciation the efforts of the MCDO team was to invest their time in nurturing the kids to become good vanguards of the state.
Also, speaking during the exercise, Mr Salaudeen, on behalf of the parents, appreciated the team, expressing his surprise on the development.
“This is different. We are not used to this type of gesture from private people who are not politically motivated. I commend the team, and promise that as parents we will help our kids in their studies.”
Founded by the trio: Dr Kareem Waheed, Engr AbdulHakeem Olawuyi, and Comr Saliu Bashiru, MCDO strives to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger in Kwara State as well as help increase opportunities for natives and residents of Kwara State.