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Adelaja Oluwademilade: Volunteering gives you an avenue to be the change you desire

By Esther Ijewere
30 July 2022   |   2:42 am
A teacher-certified Early Childhood Educator and an SDG Youth Advocate for SDG 4 (Quality Education), she is a volunteer at Street2School Initiative, an NGO aimed at providing quality education...

Adelaja

Adelaja Oluwademilade is a graduate of English from Covenant University.

A teacher-certified Early Childhood Educator and an SDG Youth Advocate for SDG 4 (Quality Education), she is a volunteer at Street2School Initiative, an NGO aimed at providing quality education to out-of-school children in Lagos.

With a strong passion for kids in marginalised communities, she believes every child should have access to education irrespective of their socio-economic background.

Over time, Oluwademilade has also developed an interest in advocacy to end period poverty in Nigeria by working with Royal Gem Initiative. The initiative provides sexual health education and sanitary pads to girls in low-income communities.

Currently a Lagos State SDG Youth Ambassador and a member of the UNESCO SDG4 Youth Network, her greatest desire is to train young people to become transformative leaders in society.

She shares her inspiring story in this interview with ESTHER IJEWERE.

Growing Up
GROWING up was pretty interesting for me; I’m the second child of three children. So, being the middle child, I didn’t have much going on me.

Growing up for me was basically going to school, attending Sunday School, going to church and having extra lessons at home, because I wasn’t so good at Maths.

Being A Certified Early Childhood Educator Advocate
I would say my passion to teach is a God-given passion. I never imagined doing anything relating to education, talking more of teaching; it was in my final semester in school I got the calling. Also, my mum is an educator, so I think I got a part of it from her.

To make learning fun and impactful, teachers themselves must love their job because when a teacher doesn’t like teaching, it will affect the student’s performance. Also, teachers should make use of learning aids like flashcards, videos, pictures etc, because children learn by seeing and doing not just talking in the classroom. This will also help students remember what they were taught in class.

Why I Became A Sustainable Development Goal Advocate
He lives in a world where there’s so much gap between the elites and the marginalised, and the only way to bridge this gap is to provide sustainable means of livelihood. This requires a collective effort and not just the responsibility of the government. So, I decided to take the lead and contribute my quota towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

My thoughts On “School na Scam”
I don’t think school is a scam and I’m not saying this because I’m an advocate for quality education. Everyone has different passions and goals, and sometimes, these passions are not related to what is being taught in school and that is okay.

However, we must understand that the fact that one does not practice what they were taught in school in their workplace or make money with it doesn’t make education less important. Truth is, education is what makes the difference in a person so, whether you learn in school or not, you still need the education to become better at whatever you decide to do. Education has and is still opening doors of opportunity for people who desire it. School is NOT a scam.

Challenges I Have Encountered As A Youth Advocate
Funding: So many things are to be done yet few resources are available. Getting more young people to participate in Youth advocacy.

Socio-economic Inequality: There is a huge gap between the rich and the marginalised in Nigeria. Trying to bridge this gap is challenging due to the economy of Nigeria. Overpopulation: A lot of people, especially in rural areas, keep having children they cannot cater for. The number of children is increasing in their numbers; however, there are no resources to take care of them.

My Thoughts On Volunteering
Volunteering gives you an avenue to be the change you desire to see in your community and the world at large. So, if you have the opportunity to volunteer, please I beg you, do it wholeheartedly, because, at the end of the day, it’s not about the money and assets one would acquire, but the impact one would have made and the lives one would have touched.

What I’d Do Differently If I Contested For Presidency
While I acknowledge that there are other areas to look into, I believe that quality education is one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria. I will strive for free basic education for all children and introduce educational reforms that will target reducing the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

Also, I would look into the issue of overpopulation in the country by introducing a two-child policy. I know some people may not be in support of this, but that’s the only effective way to reduce overpopulation and ensure equal allocation of resources in the country.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
My mum (Mrs Abosede Adelaja): Her strength, resilience and work ethic. Jumoke Adenowo: I love her passion for raising godly women and her style.

Jackie Aina: I love how she talks about setting boundaries and how she teaches young girls to be self-confident.

Where I See Myself Five Years
In five years, I would have completed my Master’s degree in Education and I hope to be doing work that contributes to transformational change in the Nigerian educational system.

To Young Girls
Be open to learning. Be kind to yourself if you make mistakes. Don’t be in a hurry to “blow”. Settle down and learn the skills you need to thrive. You can do great things from a small place.