Nelly Ngene in class during school hours at Rev. Harrison Nursery and Primary School, Ugwuaji village, Enugu state.
“Nelly’s father died two years ago unexpectedly and his mother is unemployed. When the CF Scheme was announced, we obtained a form for him and filled it out and he was selected. We informed the mother that Nelly has been awarded a scholarship by ESSPIN and she was very happy. Nelly is a very intelligent but quiet boy.” says Deaconess Charity Ugwu, Head Teacher, Rev. Harrison Nursery and Primary School, Ugwuaji village, Enugu state.
Six year old Nelly Ngene from Ugwuaji Village in Enugu State lost his father two years ago and was left in the care of his mother who has no source of livelihood. Nelly’s mother struggled to raise Nelly but her husband’s relatives made life unbearable for her. Nelly’s mother had to return to her poor parents’ home in Ugwuaji village. Nelly and his mother were an extra burden to the already overstretched and aged parents who could barely cater for their own basic needs.
Nelly’s grandparents managed to enroll him in a public school which was tuition free. But the only evidence that Nelly was in school was a school uniform he wore every day. A school bag, foot wear or writing materials were out of the question for Nelly, because what was more important to him was where his next meal was coming from. Nelly missed out on a lot of class work and got several beatings from his teachers because his grandparents could not afford to buy books. Thus, schooling became a nightmare for Nelly.
The CF Scheme was the opportunity Nelly needed, and indeed a blessing. He was selected and enrolled in Rev. Harrison Nursery and Primary School Ugwuaji, one of the Methodist schools where the CF is being implemented. He was provided with all the basic school supplies – school uniform, footwear, school bag, books, pencils and erasers. Nelly’s mother was overwhelmed with joy. For her, it is indeed a dream come true. “Now I love to go to school, and I want to be a banker...”says Nelly as he smiles.His head teacher is also pleased, “I am happy with what ESSPIN has done, giving Nelly hope. I ask that ESSPIN should continue to support the CF children. Just imagine how many of these children came first to third [in their class]. Out of the 38 CF children I have in my school between primary years 1-3, seven of them! Nelly took first position in the whole of primary 1B…!”
The first term of school has just ended and Nelly’s success in the overall assessment, thanks to the Challenge Fund Scheme, has delighted parents, teachers and the Methodist mission.
There are lots of changes since ESSPIN came to our school - if the government copies the types of things that ESSPIN is doing, our schools will be better” says Deaconess Ugwu.