HOME FRONT Al Ilm: Giving succour to orphans in Kaduna
Motherly love is very essential when a child is growing up as it provides some sort of cushioning for the child’s progress as it goes through the hassles of life, no wonder a child deprived of this love at a tender age grows up somewhat disoriented.
It is on this backdrop that a nongovernmental organisation took it upon itself to lend a helping hand to orphans, the less privileged and abandoned children.
Al Ilm Child Trust Foundation was founded in 2012 by three young, inspiring and energetic women Aisha Shettima, Huraira Umar Baba and Aisha Yakubu - who were moved by the idea of a celebrity in the United States of America (USA) who provided free education to gifted kids in public schools. The sole aim of the trio is providing succour for orphaned children in Kaduna State.
Daily Trust gathered that the foundation, in collaboration with Pure Esteem, jointly launched a fundraising campaign for Al Ihsan orphanage also known as Gidan Marayu in Nassarawa, Kaduna State, which is home to over 72 children between the ages of three and about 20 years.
Speaking on the orphanage, a member of the trustees and co-founder of the foundation, Aisha Yakubu, said, “Our aim is to help educate, empower and improve the quality of life of these children. I will like to use this medium to deeply appreciate everyone that has donated and to also advocate for educational sponsorship for the orphans. Please come forward and sponsor just one child; let’s empower and make a difference in the lives of these children.”
Giving a brief history of the foundation, Aisha Shettima said: “It was around 2012 when I heard of a celebrity who provided scholarships to gifted kids in public schools in the USA. I thought it was a fantastic idea and wondered if it was possible to replicate it here, even if it meant putting one gifted child through to university. Fortunately, while discussing it, Aisha and Huraira, eagerly jumped on board and we started meeting to discuss the finer details like funding, etc and the rest, as they say, is history.”
On why she decided to establish such a foundation, she said, “As Muslims, service to God by serving mankind is a core part of our belief, and we sincerely believe education is truly the very best gift you could give someone because you are teaching someone to fish and not just giving them the fish to eat.
“I am grateful to God that presently, we are sponsoring 29 children at nursery, primary and secondary school levels. We fund the foundation mainly through dues we pay as trustees and members as well as what we get from well-meaning individuals who give donations from time to time and encourage other charity organizations to come on board and sponsor at least one child.
“Charity to Cheer Foundation, Abuja is for now the only organisation we partner with in sponsoring children, mainly those at Al Ihsan orphanage home.”
On her part, Huraira Umar Baba, also a trustee/co-founder of the foundation, speaking on the need for the less privileged to be adequately supported said: “We saw the dire conditions of our education system especially at the elementary level where the public schools turn out pupils year in and year out without having undergone any education.
“They can neither read, nor comprehend anything, which informed our decision to start what we have been doing for the past four years. When we started getting the gifted children and sponsoring them, we knew we had to do more, there is a dearth in our education system that an emergency needs to be declared. We decided to get volunteer teachers in public schools to teach pupils how to read, teach basic mathematics, science and health education.
“We hope to get people with spare time to volunteer. So we will be rolling out a pilot programme soon which we hope goes viral; that everyone sees the education of our youth as something they can contribute to, so that each child has a fair chance to a bright future.
“Our aim is to equip every child with the right education so that they have a good future in whatever field they choose because in reality it is something we all as a people need to do to change the future of our society and country for the better.
“The alternative of everyone folding their arms and leaving the government to do everything is not a pleasant one. When you think about it, illiteracy is the major handicap in life, what every child needs is the opportunity afforded to our children who we strive to see they get excellent education.
“We feel every child should have a good education, this singular act changes the future of a generation.”
From top left : Trustees of the AI IIm Child Trust Foundation, Huraira Umar Baba, Aisha Shettima and Aisha Yakubu with some children sponsored by the foundation