HOME FRONT Al Ilm: Giv­ing suc­cour to or­phans in Kaduna

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - From Maryam Ah­madu-Suka, 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

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