…Call For Support Of More Indigent Students In Ogoni
Education stakeholders from Gwara, Kaa, Kono-Boue, Luawii, and Sii communities in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State have called for the declaration of a State of Emergency on educational infrastructures and the provision of other social amenities as a way of creating the needed enabling environment for teaching and learning in the area.
The stakeholders also requested for more support for children and students from 'Ogoni Widowed Households', as well as for children of single-mothers, affected by the 'Sira Syndrome' a cultural practice that forbids first daughters from marriage, as practiced in some Ogoni communities.
The stakeholders who lamented the sorry state of educational infrastructure in their communities, made the request during the 'Praise Concert and Harvest of Success Stories' event, organized for 100 students beneficiaries of the project: 'Reigniting Hope: Enhancing the Reading Culture in Ogoni' by Divine Benevolent Care Organization, at Sii, community, in Khana Local Government Area, Rivers State.
Special Guest of Honour at the programme, Chief Benedict Deezim XVI, Paramount Ruler of Sii Community, said it has become a matter of urgency for the Rivers State Government to move into action and do a reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools in the rural communities, as the state of Comprehensive High School Sii has begged for government attention for years now.
The paramount ruler who said aside the dearth of teachers, the state of the school building in Sii was not different from the experience of most of the schools in the area, commended the effort of Divine Benevolent Care Organization, in the provision of educational and health support for student from widowed households in the communities.
Chief Deezim urged the project beneficiaries to build on the good testimonies, by utilizing the opportunity provided them to become meaningful citizens in their communities. The traditional rulers hinted that the unavailability of power supply in the communities has not only affected the education of their children and wards, but has also affected the local economy of the communities and available business opportunities.
Dr. Benard Moses, Executive Director at DBCO, said funding for the project which has students drawn from five communities of Gwara, Kaa, Kono-Boue, Luawii and Sii all in Ogoniland was made possible by TrustAfrica.
Moses hinted that the organization was not only prepared to see to an enhanced reading culture among students in Ogoni, but to also ensure that they get access to quality education, and be able to measure up with their pairs in the cities.
He said his organization organization have so far donated mobile solar lamps and other educational materials as reading aid to 100 students from poor widows households in Ogoniland, as well as a total of 500 face mask to the students and teachers as Covid-19 preventive materials, preparatory to the WAEC and recent NECO exams.
Moses regretted that falling education standards and lack of equal opportunities, as well as inclusion is partly responsible for the moral decadence in our communities, and the unprecedented crime wave, but expressed hope that the situation can still be rescued for the better.
He revealed that a visit to schools in the project communities by the project team exposed students writing the WAEC and NECO exams in uncompleted, dilapidated or completely de-roofed school blocks as witnessed at CHS Sii, GSS Kaa, GSS luawii, BNCS Gwara and CSS Kono-Boue.
In his speech, Pastor Rueben Namah of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Luawii, noted with delight that the programme beneficiaries and their families testified to the gains of the project against the challenge faced by some of the benefiting communities at the start of the project.
Pastor Namah while calling on the parents not to allow the dream of the children die after the WAEC exams, assured that the church will always support projects targeted at improving the lives of less privilege members of the communities and their families.
He urged education policy makers and administrators in the State to consider declaring an emergency on schools in the rural communities, and the over concentration on school infrastructures at the city centers does not allow for inclusion.
Kenneth Nwiito, Chairman, Community Education Committee, Sii Community Education Committee told our reporter that most rural communities in Khana local government area, lack good school building, electricity and pipe-borne water.
Nwiito called on the Divine Benevolent Care Organization and its funders to extend the project beyond the pilot communities, and also allow for the participation of more students in the next phase of the programme.
The 'Praise Concert and Harvest of Success Stories' event was also used by the Port Harcourt based non-governmental organization to do a public presentation of its '2020 yearly bulletin'.
School principals, community education committee members, women and youth leaders, as well as religious leaders, and the widows whose children received the educational support were all present at the event.