By Justine John Dyikuk & Okonkwo Denisia Ijeoma
One of Nigeria’s leading NGOs, Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) has distinguished itself as a pacesetter in transforming lives of the citizenry across the nation through education.
In line with Malcolm X’s dictum “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” the Not-for-Profit-Organisation funds the education of destitute children through scholarships.
As one of its core areas of intervention, 64 penniless children in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja were sponsored by the Foundation.
COFP certified that children within its reach continue to access quality education through scholarship programmes because the more they are educated, the more they grow to become responsible citizens who can make positive impact to growth and development of their society and the world at large.
In Nigeria, Primary and Secondary Education is supposed to be free but it is not and since many poor parents find it difficult to make ends meet, the foundation embarked upon this charitable act to assist underprivileged parents send their children to school.
The organisation took the bold step because numerous indigent families are weighed down by the expenses related with educating their children in school which has often led to high rate of school dropouts, child labour, street children and increase in crime in the society.
The NGO has its scholarship programmes as part of their curriculum to assist some of the beneficiaries the opportunity to have the basic education, primary and secondary school based on good performances.
In addition, the Yemiti Internally Displaced Host Community school has for four years received their monthly salaries/allowances of teachers to enable children in this poor community stay in school.
The Foundation is convinced that “A nation without good and affordable education system for children is bound to face developmental issues in the future because, the children of today are the adults of tomorrow.”
The more they are educated, the more they grow to become responsible citizens who can contribute positively to growth and development of their society.
For instance, despite the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the sudden closure of schools at a time when students and pupils were set to commence their terminal examinations, the Foundation ensured that children within her reach continued to access quality education through her scholarship programme.
To ensure that this group of children went back to school, the Foundation has continued to support the education of 64 destitute children in twelve schools (both Primary and Secondary) in FCT Abuja during the 2019/2020 academic session.
Some of the beneficiaries have been enjoying COFP scholarship programmes from their primary school level and the Foundation has continued to award them scholarship through secondary school as a result of their good performance.
For the past four years, the Foundation which has Sr. Agatha Chikelue, DMMM as Executive Director has supported in the payment of monthly salaries/allowances of teachers in Yemiti Internally Displaced Host Community school to enable children in poor communities stay in school.