This page is about my incredible young cousin, Joseph, who had a wild dream to educate children in a disadvantaged area of Ibadan, Nigeria (my home town) and has put all he has into making this dream a reality. Heavy rains in recent months have caused damage to the school he built for disadvantaged children and this fundraiser is to rebuild the roof and support the completion of the building. Here is his story (culled from his answers to what he thought were questions for my college report - This will be a surprise for him :)
"I inherited the idea from my older sister who started 18 years ago by educating local stray kids in our sitting room while she was job hunting. When she left home, my other sister took it up until she got married and also left home.
Parents who don't send their children to school are often judged as irresponsible but in most cases around me it is due to the sincere inability of the parent to afford education costs so the children stay at home or even work minor jobs like hawking. This is what prompted me to continue my sisters' legacy following my accounting degree in 2011.
I truly believe the best start a child can get in life is sound education if they really are to be tomorrow's leaders, they must be able to at least read and write and think for themselves. So my vision is to impact the lives of as many students under my reach as possible with quality education.
I also believe that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well, so in 2013 , I decided to set up the school and have a proper structure. This was easier said than done - I had no savings or investment and started with nothing other than a desire to change lives. I have been taking 6 month loans from the bank to construct the school in stages while children continue to attend and we increase our capacity. I started with 10 students in one classroom, we now have 86 children and 10 permanent teachers.
It has not been an easy journey but I am not motivated by money, award or achievement but the joy I get when I look at formerly aimless children who are now purposeful kids with ambitions to become medical doctors, accountants, lawyers and teachers. Some of these children may not even be able to afford secondary or university education, but for now, they get to come to a happy school environment, well dressed in their school uniforms and they believe they can achieve anything in life - that is always a good thing.
Not only have I been able to provide affordable, sound education to little children, I have also been able to give back by helping out children whose parents can't afford to pay fees. Currently there are 15 of my students, some orphaned, who are learning for free, it gladdens my heart to know that I am able to play a significant role in the educational development of these children.
Prior to April 2020, we were in the final stages of construction with only the gutters around the school and toilet facilities for children and teachers to go. Unfortunately, we have been set back by heavy rains which tore off the roof in April and the Covid 19 pandemic which raises significant concerns for the future. With many parents now out of work and struggling to make ends meet, education becomes, understandably, low on the list of priorities."
A birthday wishlist:
Ok, back to Joy the dreaming dancer. Initially, I wanted to raise some money for re-roofing the school, but being the dreamer that I am, I couldn't stop there. So please come on a dream journey with me -
- Imagine if we could adopt this school and raise enough money to complete the school building project and leave Joseph completely debt free (DREAM PAID FOR! @ €2000 - THANK YOU!!!)
- Imagine if a few of my friends could 'adopt' a child each and pay their fees for a year (approx. €200 per child per year)
- Imagine building a playground for the kids (every school needs swing and slides - DREAM PAID FOR! @ €2500 THANK YOU!)
- Imagine donating a library of books ( I know there are ZERO libraries in the area)
- Imagine a summer camp for these kids or computer literacy classes or a skills workshop
- Imagine if we could find a way to honour and encourage the teachers to say thanks for investing in these kids
- Imagine if we could provide food packages for some of these struggling families during this time
This page is a great start and the target will allow me create a fund for the completion of the building project and help my cousin become debt free. Feel free to donate here or talk to me about partnering to make any of these other dreams come true (donations to a naira account also possible) - It would be the BEST birthday gift EVER.
A crazy idea and some prizes:
I know how fundraisers work, I'm supposed to do something crazy in exchange for your money so here's the deal: Every €200 raised, buys 10 minutes of me dancing (like I won the lotto) in a public place (with proof). The highest donor on every €200 milestone gets to pick my next dancing spot (within my Covid lockdown radius).
I am also a cringe/competitive soul so I have prizes! For donations of €100 or more, you can pick any one of:
- A special edition 'Dancing for Joy' mug with stunning graphic designed by my amazing sister Victoria
- A handwritten or typewriter typed mushy gushy letter about how much I love you
-A tray of 'the best brownies you ever tasted' delivered to your door (Dublin only)
Every penny helps so please know from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate every donation. This is just me being crazy, as usual!
And finally, A challenge:
I would love if friends could join me over the next 21 days. Would you consider dancing in a public place for one minute and posting on your social media profiles with a link to this page to raise awareness/get more people donating? This would really help me as I am not on any social media channels. Send me your videos and the most daring dancer will also get a prize! I'm just dreaming here but imagine if 10 of my friends got 10 friends to donate €10 each? That's €1000!!!
Use Hashtag: #DancingforJoy2020
Ok, legz go! ;)
- Frederick Odutola
- Tomi Obideyi
- Vinny Soap
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