Chronicles of a Social Worker – Fighting Poverty Through Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

The United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated every year on October 17th and this year’s theme was Overcoming Extreme Poverty.  According to Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, ending poverty is not just about helping the poor as it is about giving every woman and man the chance to live with dignity.  She believes the possibility of achieving fast and sustained poverty eradication depends on our ability to work collaboratively as this will eventually lead to the transformation of all humanity.  I couldn’t agree more.

Poverty is real and the rate is alarming given the cases of children who continually apply to come on board Fair Life Africa’s Disadvantage to Advantage Programme.  Through education, individuals develop the right skills and mental capacity they need to improve their livelihood and break out from the vicious cycle of poverty.  I had the privileged opportunity of talking to one of the School Principals about our D2A! Initiative recently.

School Principal: This is a very good initiative.  I’ve heard of corporate organisations giving educational scholarships to bright students…  We really are grateful you could stop by at our school today.

Me: You’re welcome, Sir.

School Principal: You said you’d like to meet the students, right?

Me: Yes, please.

School Principal: I think God has sent you at this particular time…  You see, some of our students have been having challenges paying their school fees…  These days everybody blames just about anything on the economy, but you know, teachers have to be paid to do their jobs efficiently….

Me: Well, Sir, just to state things clearly.  The educational scholarship Fair Life Africa offer is strictly for children from less privileged backgrounds.  Like the name, Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative, we are seeking to help bright and gifted children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds attain a better status in life through educational and vocational scholarships.

School Principal: Wow! So this includes vocational scholarship?

Me: Yes, we are also interested in sponsoring children with potentials in Arts, Sports, Music and any area where they are gifted in.  We currently have five children who are enjoying five years of vocational scholarship under our D2A! Initiative.  This was after they came out as winners from the Talent Search Competition we organised in partnership with Ultima Studios last Christmas.

School Principal: The same Ultima Studios we all know..?  I’m short for words.  But wait o, how do you manage to do all these as an NGO?

Me: We get donations from Corporate bodies and generous individuals who are concerned about impacting the lives of others.  But it’s really not been easy either.  We hope more people will see the need to lend their support.

School Principal: It’s been a pleasure talking with you.  Why don’t you come to our school tomorrow morning, so you could have the opportunity of talking to all the students during our usual morning assembly.  The teachers would also assist in distributing the forms to students in their classes instead of you going round the classes.

Me: That sounds great!  I look forward to meeting the students tomorrow.      

It’s always a great feeling doing – and talking about – what you love.  We are investing  in the lives of children, our future leaders.  We are fighting poverty through education.  Together, we can do more…

Written by Emeke Ndego

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