|DEADLIER THAN CANCER
“Elimination of illiteracy is as serious an issue to our history as the abolition of slavery” -Maya Angelou
“Good morning sir, please kindly assist us, no amount is too small. May Almighty Allah bless you”. That is the voice of an elderly beggar I met at the intersection in Lekki speaking good English, with a different girl accompanying him every time. I was forced to ask the question, “How come you speak good English?” “I was a teacher in Sokoto until some cattle rustlers invaded my village and I lost my eyes, arms and family and came to Lagos to beg for alms. My people know that I’m educated and that’s why they send their children to me to teach them English, Maths and a form of trade especially the girls. We use the money to buy materials for our small school and the rest I use to take care of my two sons in SS1. I remarried. The girls are my students and they willingly volunteer to follow me here so we can get money…(Adaptation from Jude Idada’s experience in Lagos, Nigeria). This is a beggar, double amputee and he is still involved in educating the people. So, what excuses have I not to be a part of the change my community, country, continent is desperately in need of?
From my perspective, quality education is just what my community needs and all around me, there are people who are already providing this. These people are inspirations to me. One of them is a womanwhose structure I see by just peeping through the balcony of my class, I can clearly see the structure she erected on the river to create a better life for kids in a slum called Makoko, Yaba in Lagos state. She is fondly called“Mama Makoko” all because of her humanitarian activities. Her name is Regoe Alfredo Durugo. She has taken it upon herself to educate over 5000 children in the slum area. Even paddling her own canoe in the riverine Makoko just to educate those children. Now that’s what Africa needs! That is what I want to do. I want to affect lives, I want to provide education. Each time I go out and see 6 year old kids hawking when they should be in school, I get disturbed. Just imagine a family with 7 kids yet none is educated! That’s the change I want to make. How do I intend doing this?
Considering the fact that I’m still a minor, permissions need to be taken, support needs to be provided and I feel blessed to have a loving family and great friends who understand me and are providing all the above mentioned. No matter how we see cancer, illiteracy as a disease is wrecking more havoc than cancer and I want to use this medium to make my intentions known on “THE CHANGE I WANT TO MAKE”. Little drops of water form a mighty ocean, and for I AMARACHI to start making an impact globally, I need to start somewhere. That is why with the support of my parents, I’ve decided to dedicate all my free time to going to slums like Makoko and hold free tutorial classes for not only the little children but for their parents too. Even if it means paddling a canoe to do so. My friends and I have also decided to donate our old books to the children and pool our savings together to buy additional materials in order to encourage the learning process. I have also decided to make posters in order to enlighten people on the importance of education because if people lack interest, the service of my friends and I will be rendered useless. Imagine a world where everyone is educated. Pollution rate will reduce, poverty will become a thing of the past, religious riots will be a forgotten issue and global economy will be positively affected. In the words of Malala Yousafzai,”Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world”.
NAME: IGWE AMARACHI ESTHER
AGE: 16 YEARS (YOUTH)
SCHOOL: CANON JAMES PEARSE
WORD COUNT: 696