By Sunday Ani
Two schools, LEA Primary School near Amukoko and Ebenezer Nursery and Primary School and their neighbouring communities in Ajegunle, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State, went into wild jubilation as a non-governmental organisation, Champions of Life Fellowship Foundation (CLFF), gave them a lifeline by providing boreholes.
On Wednesday, September 2, representatives of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and the two schools, as well as some members of the communities witnessed the commissioning of the boreholes with water treatment plants and generating sets provided by the Foundation.
According to the founder of the organisation, Olusegun Akanji, the need to provide water to the two schools was identified sometime last year when the organisation held a programme for over 250 students drawn from various schools in Ebenezer Nursery and Primary School.
He said the organisation has a seven-point curriculum that teaches personal development and it was during the programme that his team discovered that the schools lacked potable water for the pupils. “During the programme, we gave them some school materials like bags, exercise books, and lunch boxes among others and it was then we also discovered that the school did not have water. So, we thought that as a foundation that is interested in children, we should fill the gap because one of the very important things to children is to have easy access to water. So, we promised that we would be back to install, not just boreholes but also water treatment plants and generating sets for the schools. And, as we were building, we also discovered that the communities did not have water; that is why we provided generators so that it can power the water,” he said.
Akanji further said the organisation’s basic aim is to empower people, particularly children, and train them to believe that they can be great in the future.
“So, what we are doing here today is to fulfill part of that promise, so that the schools will have access to water and the people within the neighbourhood can also benefit from the water supply,” he added.
He said the organisation’s next programme, tagged, “Feed a family,” designed to enable families that need food to have access to packaged uncooked food like garri, rice and others, would soon kick off.
On how the boreholes would be maintained, Akanji said the organisation had also put in place measures for that.
“We have asked the schools to extend the pipes outside for the community to buy water at a very cheap rate. The money realised from the sale of water will be saved and used to buy fuel to run the generators and do other maintenance. The water is for the school and also the community but we needed to put it in somebody’s care and that is why we located them in the schools,” he stated.
The Foundation, which has only been in existence for about two years, according to Akanji, has been assisting people in different places, with the money raised through the members’ personal contribution. “We have not received one naira from any agency, whether local or international. But, we are open to partnership, because we want whatever we are doing to grow. We also want it to be transparent if people give us money. We have members and everybody contributes what they can. That is how we have been able to finance what we have done so far,” he said.
While commissioning the project at Ebenezer Nursery and Primary School, the Education Secretary, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Education Authority and representative of the Lagos SUBEB and the local government, Aboluwodi Solomon Adebufe, thanked the Foundation for the giant stride.
“In fact, I am very happy because water has been a problem in this school. We have three schools here and the water system has been packed up for some months now, although, we have been trying to put it in order.
“We are happy because with COVID-19 which requires water to wash hands regularly, the Foundation has just solved a major problem for us. As soon as we resume on September 21, teachers and pupils will have free access to water. The idea of going outside the school premises to fetch water will no longer be there, so I am very happy. We now have water within the premises with which they can use to wash their hands regularly and even drink,” he said.
In the same vein, a primary four teacher at the school, Abakpa Martha, could not hold her joy at the new development. She said: “We are very happy. We have really suffered for lack of water in this school. Sometimes, the children would defecate and there will be no water to clean them up. With what this Foundation has done for us, a new dawn has come for us here and we really thank them for that. We pray that their pocket will never dry.”