“Learning happily. I like what Lagos State Government has done for me.”
The young Oyebade is not alone in this, Kabiru Abdulahi, a pupil of Ketu Comprehensive School said his parents were already considering sending him to learn a trade because they could not afford to buy educational kits for him.
“My parents said I will go and learn how to repair motor before his friend came and said the Lagos government will provide books and kits for pupils in the state and that was when he said I should go back to school. That is why I am here to collect mine. I have collected it and I thank government for this help.”
Speaking on the initiative, the founder of HOFOWEM, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode said the urgent need to intervene in some critical needs of the people informed the establishment of the platform.
According to her, the initiative tagged “Project Bright Steps”, and the decision to distribute shoes and socks to pupils was one of the ways to motivate the young ones, boost their self-esteem, help them appreciate their self-worth, encourage them to be proud of themselves, and most importantly equip them.
She said aside the positive impact such would have on the education of the pupils, it would also encourage local production of shoes, and thereby boost the economy.
The governor’s wife said, “Unfortunately, walking without shoes has led many children to get sick, lose their feet to bacterial infections and other life-threatening diseases. It is essential for these children to wear shoes. Wearing shoes is not a luxury, but a necessity.
“As a mother, I am deeply passionate about children. Some lucky ones have the necessary support, while others have very little support of nothing. HOFOWEM realises that many children do not have the opportunity to wear ordinary shoes. Yet, this is something that we take for granted.
“Properly equipping our children for school, plays a great role in boosting their confidence level, morale, concentration and overall performance.
“A properly kitted pupil has higher chances of doing well in academic studies, because he/she is better motivated, more confident and has higher self -esteem, which translates to better academic performance.”
“These pupils represent the future of our state and the country, and we will continue to do our best to motivate them for excellence.”
She emphasised that her pet project, HOFOWEM, was borne out of a burning desire to touch lives and be a source of hope and relief for the less privileged in the society, saying the ongoing scholarship scheme by the foundation is aimed at funding undergraduate programme of some of the brightest students from public secondary schools in the state.
As it concerns the women, LEADERSHIP Sunday learned that over 1000 widows across all ages have been empowered with financial assistance, equipment support and skills training programme. Through hope, for the sick, free goiter surgeries have been performed for the women.
Mrs. Ambode described the widows as some of the most vulnerable in society that need support, hence the move by the foundation to empower them for self-reliance towards earning regular personal income.
She said, “We had carefully studied the situation and discovered that this category of persons is the hardest hit by social circumstances around them. This is the reason our Foundation is focusing on them namely: the children, women, widows, the youth and the aged women. “HOFOWEM decided to raise the stakes, packaging this programme for widows still in their active years. This is to help them have a means of income.”
She added that the foundation decided to enlist the relatively younger widows for training in skills of their choice, to go with monthly allowance and would be supported with business equipment upon graduation, while the other two categories of women would get equipment support or financial assistance to expand their businesses.
‘’This arrangement is designed to guarantee for you a stable means of income, to help meet your needs, those of your children, as well as your loved ones. It is hoped that this will bring more self-confidence for you, joy into your hearts and smiles to your faces’, she said.
Throwing more light on the intervention programmes, the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Ms. Oyefunke Adeleke, said HOFOWEM’ s novel approach to social intervention is quite admirable.
She lauded the founder for approving and supporting the empowerment programme in view of the several challenges facing widows, promising that the foundation would continue to seek succour for them as it had done in the past.
Adeleke said, “At HOFOWEM, we believe in putting smiles on the faces of those we come across and this we would continue to do, especially with the less privileged in our society. Everybody deserves somebody who makes them look forward to tomorrow. And that is who we are at HOFOWEM, providing the shoulder to lean on.”