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Facebook group to the rescue of indigent parents, pays fees at low-cost schools

By Iyabo Lawal
20 December 2019   |   3:31 am
In its bid to ensure education for all and support government in its bid to tackle the problem of out-of-school children, a group of concerned parents and educators (CPE) has moved to support indigent parents by paying school fees of children in low-cost private schools. CPE founder, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde and other volunteers from the…

Some members of the Concerned Parents and Educators (CPE) group during a visit to one of the low cost schools in Lagos.

In its bid to ensure education for all and support government in its bid to tackle the problem of out-of-school children, a group of concerned parents and educators (CPE) has moved to support indigent parents by paying school fees of children in low-cost private schools.

CPE founder, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde and other volunteers from the Facebook group of parents and educators, visited many of the low-cost private schools that charge as low as N5, 000, to pay school fees of children.

Mrs Ogunde, who runs Edumark Consult, an education branding firm, said: “We are giving this money to many low-cost schools that are serving the very poor communities.  In these low-cost schools we have parents who have not been able to pay school fees for quite a long time.  That was why a group of us came together.  We identified five pupils from each school; we will give the money to the parents and the parents pass it on to the school.”

The group raised over N1, 000,000 for the project, which supported low-cost schools under the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED). 

The schools were in deplorable conditions and could hardly boast of essential facilities for learning. Some were in makeshift structures behind residential buildings accessible only through markets; used sheds with dirt floors as classrooms, operated in dimly lit structures built against fences.

The founder who was moved top tears on seeing the children learn in such environments said they needed to be supported so children do not end on the streets.

“As we went round all these places we did not see any public school.  We kept seeing houses, people and young children.  
They must be educated.  We live in a society unable to do this and we have people like you.  You are actually doing a service.  Where would all these children be if not for your schools,” Mrs. Ogunde said while addressing some school owners during a visit to Oke Odo -Ijaiye area of Lagos.

While thanking the group, a parent whose child attends Dan Esther Nursery and Primary School, Iwaya, Yaba Keji Araromi, said her soft drinks business could not cover her family’s bills.

“I sell soft drinks and it has not been moving well.  That is why I have not been able to pay my child’s school fee,” she said.

A grandmother, Abosede Fakorede, said where she sold fish had been demolished leaving her with no income.  She said the N5, 000 gift from CPE would reduce the debt she had to pay the proprietor of the school.

Mrs Mary George, proprietor of St Mary Nursery and Primary School, Oke-Ira, Ogba, said: “Honestly I am very grateful.  Most children in my school are not paying.  There are four children who have not paid for more than four terms.  For some of them, their father is ill.  I could not pay my landlord.”
 
Proprietor of Neid Wilson School, Surulere, Mr. Idonesit Williams said he often got into debt because of non-payment of fees.

“This kind gesture is so wonderful. 

Sometimes at the end of the term I will go and borrow money to take care of myself and my family because of the debt,” he said.