Chinonyerem Ukwuani and her father
“Before Adaeze’s father died, he entrusted her to my care and instructed that I help Adaeze get an education. I am so happy ESSPIN has helped fulfil that dream through the Challenge Fund as I was unable to do it on my own due to lack of funds. I thank ESSPIN and pray that God will reward them...” Juliana Oweh, Adaeze’s guardian.
Adaeze and her brother are orphans. Chinonyerem and her three siblings are children of a visually impaired beggar and his wife who makes less than N3, 000 (approximately £13) per month as a hawker. These children are among the 1,200 indigent out-of-school children who were given a basic education lifeline in October 2011, through UKaid-ESSPIN’s Challenge Fund Scheme in Enugu State.
Although Nigeria is implementing a free and compulsory Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, approximately 8 million of the country’s 32 million primary school age children do not go to school. The majority of these out-of-school children are disadvantaged children whose families cannot afford the cost of essential school supplies to complement government free tuition. This is a serious threat to the achievement of the MDGs for universal education and gender equity.
Working in partnership with Christian missions and a group of non-government organisations, ESSPIN is giving impoverished children school supplies to enable to access quality primary education in selected mission schools. Teaching aids, and teacher and head-teacher in-service training are provided to the partner mission schools. In return, the partnering missions waive the tuition fees for those children selected by the NGOs from the poorest of the poor families to benefit from the scheme. The project partners monitor the children’s progress in school. “I thank ESSPIN because they have given me the reason to smile again. Chinonyerem has returned to school and ESSPIN has done so well. They gave her everything she needed for school; books, school sandals, socks, school bag, in fact I am overwhelmed by the care they have shown” says Mr. Ukwuani.
About 2,000 Enugu children will benefit from the Challenge Fund Scheme over 2 years. It is expected that the partnering missions and NGOs will gain sufficient experience and capacity to take on and scale up the scheme to cater for the basic education needs of thousands more children from poor households in Enugu State.