Selected students, mostly indigents, today benefited from the annual educational support initiative of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ in Ondo State.
The students, drawn from 11 secondary schools in Ondo East/West and Akure North all smile home with cash amount to support their school fees and note books.
In her address, the Chairperson of NAWOJ in Ondo State whose administration started the initiative two years ago, Mrs Doris Olumoko noted that it was a move to complement the effort of the government to ensure that no child in the state is denied access to education.
She said: “As we all know, education has been described as the foundation for expanding opportunities, transforming economies, fighting intolerance, protecting and achieving the sustainable development goals. When education is interrupted, it affects everyone-especially students,teachers and families.
“It is in line with these thoughts, that NAWOJ in Ondo State initiated the Ondo NAWOJ Education Support Initiative through which we ensure that no child in Ondo State is deprived of education due to poverty.
“Our focus is ensuring that indigent pupils and students in Ondo State, are given the opportunity to assess education even though their parents cannot afford it. By doing this, we are bridging the gap and securing the future of these children to make them less vulnerable to social vices”.
She disclosed that this year event was made possible with the Support of the Special Adviser to the Minister of Interior Honourable Bola Ilori, and the General Manager of Adaba FM, Sir Martins Ayoola.
The NAWOJ Chairperson expressed readiness to extend the gesture across the 18 Local Government areas of the state but constrained by paucity of funds and therefore urged well-meaning Nigerians to partner the association in achieving the goal.
The State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr Tona Aderoboye, commended the leadership of NAWOJ for the giant strides recorded since inception, saying “it’s our joy that you are making impact on humanity”.
He noted that the only way to overcome poverty is to give sound education to future children, and therefore lauded the step taken by NAWOJ to secure the future of the children during this period of financial crisis and assured of the readiness of NUJ to give necessary support come next edition.
The General Manager of Adaba FM who doubles as one of the sponsors of the programme, Mr Martins Ayoola said he discovered that the initiative was one of the cardinal things any association can do to uplift and help the less privileged in the society, hence the reason he supported NAWOJ.
He enjoined others to collaborate in their little form to support the gesture, while describing it as the type of project that should enjoy support from the national level of the association, and should not be a one-off programme.
He advised the organiser to create awareness by appealing to well-to-do people who are wasting money on irrelevance things to patronise the project.
The State President of the National Council of Women Societies, Mrs Jumoke Aborode, appreciated NAWOJ for the laudable disbursement of fund, and prayed that God continue to help and reward its leadership.
The State Commissioner for Education Science and Technology, Mr. Femi Agagu commended NAWOJ for the initiative, noting that the fact that the association realized the importance of education is a great milestone in the state’s educational system.
Represented by Dr. Yomi Akinrinmade, the Commissioner noted that no nation can grow without focusing on education, while acknowledging that the gesture was a complementary effort to further support Governor Akeredolu-led administration, and assured that whatever support needed should be communicated to the ministry to enhance the initiative.
Mr Ibidapo Oladipo, representing Mr Bola Olori appreciated NAWOJ for the landmark project by mobilising for partnership to sponsor the students, and enjoined the beneficiaries to face their studies and make NAWOJ proud.
The General Manager of the Nigerian Television Authority in Akure, Mr. Segun Ojelade commended the Olumoko-led executives of NAWOJ for effective and innovative leadership, saying future investment is the best achievement one can be involved in.
Mrs Margret Adebayo, representing Women-Led NGOs also appreciated NAWOJ for starting such laudable programme despite the economic hardship in the land, saying the resources provided would accelerate the learning process of the students to succeed.
In his comment, the Chairman of Ondo State media group, Mr Kunle Adebayo said it’s worthy of commendation in time like this, affirming that the event showcased the human development strength that Ondo State is known for.
Representative of Aponmu Community, affirmed that the initiative gone a long way to help beneficiaries in Aponmu, by coming when some students needed it most.
A beneficiary, James Taiwo from Imafon, said NAWOJ helped her mother to pay school fees being a widow who is struggling, also John Janet from Ilu-Abo thanked NAWOJ for assisting her father to pay her school fees.
A widow, Mrs Asuquo Adedoyin thanked NAWOJ for rescuing the situation about her child’s school fees.
A teacher from C.A.C Grammar school commended the selection process, which entails the executive members of NAWOJ coming down to schools without being invited to see things for themselves.