Voting is an essential element of democracy in any country and every legal adult citizen has a right to vote. As long as you are above the age of 18 are entitled to vote in federal and state elections. If this is the case, then why is there a surge in young people’s apathy in voting?
A lot of young people’s attitudes toward elections are that they don’t particularly like the proposed candidates, and for some others, it is if their candidate wins, they won’t do what they promised to do…or what they think they promised to do. These two reasons are why many young people have decided that their votes do not count.
Voter apathy is part of the general structural malaise in Nigeria and more young people need to get involved in the electoral process. We can make progress if more young people get involved in the political process, both in terms of running for office and voting during elections.
If you ever think that just one vote in a sea of millions cannot make much of a difference; one notable case in November 2000 was Bush vs Gore. Bush won Florida by 0.009 percent of the votes cast in the state or 537 votes. If 600 more pro-Gore voters had gone to the polls in Florida that November, there may have been an entirely different president from 2000 to 2008.
Basically, who wins an election sets the course of life at that given period of time. For example, this tenure dictates the policies on education, the quality of education, and the disbursement of funds for projects. It is alarming to know that if the head is wrong, every other part suffers. Children don’t have a say in the election process, they are dependent on adults to make decisions that impact or impale their lives.
Children need you to vote, to vote wisely.
If there is anything the pandemic and #EndSARS has taught us, is that there is an urgent need for people to participate in choosing political leaders who will serve the public’s interest and promote good governance. The human cost of bad governance is evident in the low level of basic infrastructure, educational system, high unemployment, and the number of out-of-school children, amongst others.
The first step to voting in your own interests is identifying and understanding your needs. Make a list of your priority issues and use your list to evaluate whether your concerns match up with the party or candidate’s stated priorities and future plans.
For the future to be better than the present, children need you to vote wisely. Remember, the effects of bad governance will catch up with everyone someday.
A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that one in every six children in Nigeria is depressed. According to the report, “Nigerian children and young adults are increasingly under the most pressure to succeed globally even with limited opportunities and support from the government.” So, in a real-life context what does this mean, and as a parent, caregiver, or concerned citizen, what can you do?
Children experience a range of emotions; they feel sad, act grouchy, or be in a bad mood. But when a sad or bad mood lasts for weeks or longer, and when there are other changes in a child's behavior, it might be depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that can cause someone to feel sad, irritable, or hopeless. It may affect your sleep, appetite, or relationships with others. The reality is that depression can affect children, and in children, the disorder can affect how children interact with friends and family. It may prevent them from enjoying school, sports, hobbies, or other normal childhood activities.
It is important to note that depression is not just sad, and not all sad children are depressed. A child has to experience a sad mood for a long period of time (over three weeks) and be diagnosed by a professional to determine that it is depression. If a child is depressed, parents/caregivers may notice some of these signs: Sad or bad mood, being self-critical, lack of energy and effort, sleep and eating changes, etc. Because there is no single cause of depression, it is pertinent to speak with a professional if you notice these changes in your child.
To manage the situation, after observation, listen closely to your child. These will determine the next step which will be to set up a visit with your child's doctor or a child therapist. A child therapist (mental health doctor) will spend time talking with you and your child. They will do an in-depth check for depression by asking questions and listening. The therapist can explain how therapy can help your child.
More importantly, be patient and kind. When your child acts moody or difficult, try to stay patient. Spend time with your child doing things you both can enjoy. These things gently encourage positive moods.
According to UNICEF, children have the right to go to school and learn, regardless of who they are, where they live or how much money their families have. If this premise applies, what then does quality mean in the context of education and learning? Simply, quality learning requires:
This basically means the above have to be available before a form of learning can be qualified as ‘Quality’.
A close look at Nigeria’s current educational situation would reveal a huge gap in terms of quality and access to education. One of the major challenges we face is inadequate funding, mostly on the part of the parents who can’t afford ‘quality' education. This means Nigeria is still behind schedule with reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, especially in education.
Inadequate funding also exists on the side of the government. The 2021 budget share for education is Nigeria’s lowest in 10 years – 5.6% vs. the recommended 26% by the United Nations. This will affect the provision of learning facilities and the income of teachers, which in turn brings an increase in teachers’ apathy. Consequently, the educational system in Nigeria is facing a huge decline, and now more than before swift action needs to be taken to prevent decay.
Nigeria's Ministry of Education has said the number of out-of-school children stands at about 10.5 million, although UNICEF reported the figure was 13.2 million in 2018. With the COVID pandemic and insecurity, that number is set to increase. Northern Nigeria is disproportionately affected by this challenge – only 53% of 6-11-year-olds regularly attend primary school vs. the national average of 66%.
The gap between what pertains to and what we define as quality education is widening, making it more difficult to achieve many other SDGs. Ensuring a quality education for all is central to the achievement of other SDGs, particularly, the goal to end extreme poverty. We can all play a part in closing this educational and wealth gap by supporting those who may not be able to assess education due to financial barriers. It is now more important than ever to invest in human capital and ensure that every child has the skills necessary to succeed.
“The future of the world is in a classroom today…
...we must be vigilant every day, lest we lose one
fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.”
Ivan Welton Fitzwater
“The future of the world is in a classroom today…
...we must be vigilant every day, lest we lose one
fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.”
Ivan Welton Fitzwater
We appreciate everyone who has supported us one way or the other. We’ve done well and we’re ready to do even more. If you would like to make a donation to our cause, click here.
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In August 2020, the video of Ikechukwu Oranmife, a 15-year-old from Anambra who creates amazing automobile designs from rubble in his environment went viral. Ikechukwu’s story was featured on BBC Pidgin, and the applause for his genius was loud. However, most of it ended online and he was back to his regular challenges when the news died down.
In his BBC Pidgin interview Ikechukwu talked about his ideas, the inspiration behind his designs, and his dream of becoming an engineer in the future.
Ikechuwkwu’s creativity identifies him as a ‘Special Child’. We at TSF, believe every child has a right to dream and we were interested in supporting his dreams.
The foundation reached out to the BBC and we were able to get in touch with his guardian - his grandmother. After several discussions, she talked about his creativity and the financial challenges involved in helping him develop his creative potential. She believes, just like we do, that Ikechukwu is a special child and that his talent will take him places. She gave us a brief about his education and referred us to his Principal.
The Principal, Mr. Mattias, went further to talk about the challenges they face due to the current crisis in the East, and commended the willingness of the students to learn despite the situation. We had several conversations with him on Ikechukwu and talked about our Inspire Scholarship and what we want to do to support Ikechukwu on his journey.
The Foundation is committed to providing and supporting Ikechukwu through his secondary school education, and his future plans. Thanks to you, our volunteers, and we have been able to get Ikechukwu on our Inspire Scholarship Program.
We believe this is the beginning of a life-changing story for him and his family.
We appreciate everyone who has supported the Foundation one way or the other and look forward to doing more with your consistent support.
If you would like to make a donation to our cause, click here.
On the 16th of October 2021, our Partnership Manager, Sola Ogunbiyi was at WFM to highlight some of our work, our impact and the big why - why we do what we do and why more people need to be involved.
Speaking on the ‘big why’, Sola said “Millions of Nigerian kids don’t have access or the means to quality education, and large populations of these kids reside in underserved communities. This is a large population of our future as a nation; a future that carries the hopes of Nigeria. The Special Foundation is committed to supporting and providing access to quality education for kids in underserved communities through our programs”.
In the preparation for a better Nigeria, the government has a part to play. You and I as citizens also have a part in making the future work. “A number of Nigerians have mentally checked out and aren’t hopeful about Nigeria becoming better. In order to prime young Nigerians for a better future, they have to have a quality education. But there is a large population of people who are growing with little or no access to education, and these groups of people will one day be employees or run a business or try to run for an office and if they don’t have this solid foundation, then it is a recipe for disaster.”
To listen to the full radio interview; Click here
We appreciate everyone who has supported us one way or the other. We believe that with more support we can do even more. If you would like to make a donation to our cause, click here
Liga Caroline’s passion to help and support kids in underserved communities qualified her for a scholarship. Her story and journey so far are nothing short of inspirational.
Caroline, from a family of 8, lost her Dad when she was in SS1. For two years, her mom took on the role of breadwinner, cheerleader, and support system to Caroline and her siblings. It was indeed a tough burden to bear.
In 2014, her family lost everything during an attack by Fulani herdsmen in their community. She was left in despair. She worried about her future as her dreams were dashed by these challenges. She decided to leave her family in search of opportunities that could help her further her education. She served as a house help to a family and in return, the family paid for her school fees at the College of Education Zuba. She did this until she was able to graduate from school.
A year after graduation, a friend directed her to Kazahchat School Abuja, where she was given the opportunity to volunteer and support kids in their learning. Kazachat School is one of our partners in delivering quality education to kids in underserved communities in Abuja. The feedback and recommendation from representatives at the school indicated that Caroline was a good fit for our Special Scholarship Program. Her passion and dedication earned her a place.
At TSF, we believe every child has a right to dream and we were interested in supporting these dreams. Caroline has been properly onboarded into our Special Scholarship Program and is currently enrolled at the University of Abuja studying Economics Education. The Foundation is committed to providing and supporting Caroline through her university education, and her future plans.
We look forward to the many feats she will achieve.
We appreciate everyone who has supported the Foundation in one way or the other. We believe we can still do more for people who need a little support to achieve their dreams.
If you would like to make a donation to expand our reach and help more people in underserved communities, click here.
The outbreak of COVID-19 upended what we regarded as ‘normal’. Learning and education for many Nigerians were disrupted as regular activities ground to a halt, including schools. To curb the spread of the virus, most schools moved their lessons to virtual platforms. However, virtual learning systems mean that a good number of students without internet access are left behind. For many of these students, the big question is when will everything return to normal?
Prior to the lockdown, the Foundation had made preparations for the annual Summer School Program. However, due to the situation, we had to adapt and deploy new strategies. The Literacy Project; Mavis Talking Books and Pens Books were launched and over 300 students in underserved communities were able to benefit from this audio-visual solution.
The new normal
We kicked off with a target to have at least 100 students onboard on our Inspire Scholarship Program. We started the year with about half of the target, and at the moment, we have reached our target and are committed to providing continuous financial support to these kids.
In June 2021, as part of our Mentorship Program, we had a career day in Model College Yaba, where we had over 50 professionals (who are part of our volunteer base) from various disciplines, speak to over 500 senior secondary school students in the school. Click to read more.
Between August and September, we had our annual Summer School Program in two locations: Abuja and Lagos. Over 500 students attended the program, with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines. It was exciting to gather physically, to learn, and socialize. Click to read more.
We were able to onboard our first university student, under our Special Scholarship. Liga Caroline is currently enrolled at the University of Abuja studying Economics Education. She lost her Dad when she was in SS1, and he was the main sponsor of her education up until his death. Her progress is a testament to our promise to provide support all the way up to this level.
The Future beckons... 2022
So far, 2021 has been quite successful. We hope to achieve more in 2022 as we plan to roll out more projects and explore new partnership opportunities. We also plan to amplify our impact on several platforms and grow our volunteer network.
The target for 2022 is to have a couple of School Build projects in the works and to double the number of kids on our Inspire Scholarship Program.
We appreciate everyone who has supported the Foundation one way or the other. We’ve done well and we’re ready to do even more. If you would like to make a donation to our cause, click here.
Welcome to the Special Foundation Blog, the blog for The Special Foundation, a privately funded social impact organization focused on building Africa’s next set of leaders by refining their minds through education.
Education can fix a lot of social ills in our society and it impacts every area of our life. It can lead to better domestic production, reduced crime, improved health, gender equality, better choice of leaders and a better future.
The notion of "Making dreams come true" - Our Vision lies at the heart of the realization that most children in Africa due to no fault of theirs have no access to either quality education or no education at all. Every child regardless of the economic situation of their parents deserve to be able to dream and we seek to make their dreams come true.
We dream of an Africa where more young people have access to an education and the essential tools that provide them with a foundation to be positive change agents to their respective communities, the African continent, and the world.
In this blog, we will share information about ongoing projects and plans of the foundation and our thoughts on the ways by which we can educate the future of Africa.
We will also share with you any other news relating to The Special Foundation.
You are more than welcome to respond, add comments and suggestions. We only ask that we keep our comments relevant to the conversations that take place here.
We moderate comments and will remove any offensive or irrelevant. That means if you simply come by to advertise your website(note: often considered SPAM), your comment will be deleted.
We encourage that you visit the 'Who we are section' of our website and learn more about us. We also encourage you to get involved in our foundation either by volunteering or donating to the cause.
Thank you for reading and helping to create the right environment for the educational development of underprivileged children.