Almost defying belief in such an oil rich country there are over eight million children who do not attend school in Nigeria, a figure unlikely to show any significant improvement over the foreseeable future. Even where children are lucky enough to reach a school, text books are in such short supply that in some of the poorest areas as many as twenty children will have to share just one book. And while in the UK every child has access to a library, there are very few libraries in Eastern Nigeria and even where they do exist they often hold only a limited and outdated range of text books.
As UNESCO has reported “... education is the key to increasing economic growth in poorer countries – just one dollar invested in education can generate up to fifteen dollars in economic growth ...” Or, as the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova in October 2011 said: “...an educated population is a country’s greatest wealth .... there can be no escape from poverty without a vast increase in secondary education...” A further document from the World Bank entitled “Textbooks and Library provision in Sub Saharan Africa“ reported that “...the most significant sources of information for students were copying from the blackboard, teacher dictation and low cost leaflets often in the form of notes plagiarized by teachers and sold to students . These leaflets are generally poorly written and equally poorly produced but are affordable and thus in demand. Cases were reported of teachers forcing students to buy their notes as a means of income supplement.”
Lots of fine words have been written by many distinguished people but what has been needed is practical, positive action to provide young children with the books they need.
As a result of the belief in the importance of education, not only for the overall betterment of mankind, but also for the vital part it can play in the eradication of poverty and ignorance, Choice has launched a hugely ambitious project to send one million text and educational books to the Imo State Government in Eastern Nigeria over the next one year or so. The books, to be distributed to all schools throughout the state, are being sent to support Governor Rochas Okorocha’s policy of providing free education for all children. Over time it is hoped to extend the project to cover other states in the region.
First Book Consignment
The first consignment of books was given a huge send off in London in the presence of Ambassador Dozie Nwanna, Deputy Nigerian High Commissioner, Dr Eric Uzoalor representing Amb. Ralph Uwechue, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ngozi Njoku Director General Imo Foundation and Donatus Ozoemena, Deputy Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, both representing the Imo State Government, as well as the full complement of Choice staff who had worked tirelessly to collect, sort and pack the books.
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Some time ago Choice was approached by a group of village elders in the Eastern Nigerian village Umuorkpara. At that time the village children had to walk several miles each day to the nearest school.
Could Choice help with the building of a new school in the village? After careful and intensive research it was agreed that this was a genuine, sound and indeed very worthwhile project. Choice is proud to report that the new school has been built and is serving the local community.
So, thanks to you, Choice has been able to turn some of the items you can no longer use to give children in a small Nigerian village the chance of a proper education and brighter future for everyone in the village.
Children are Gifts from God....... Are the words of Emma Yeboah, one of the directors of the Countryside Children’s Welfare Home in Ghana. But what has that got to do with Choice?
Put simply, as part of its wider charitable mission, Choice has made a substantial financial and book donation, through the efforts of Aloysius and his staff, to the Countryside orphanage with the promise of further support over the next few years.
We are delighted to be able to show how the unwanted coat, shirt or book collected from your shop by Choice can in a small way be used to assist children who have so little and only survive thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Emma Yeboah. Thank you in turn for helping Choice to help these children.