The Okala Foundation is proud to support the education of university students in Nigeria since September 2023.

A West African country, and the most populous in Africa, Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, is prey to the activism of the terrorist group Boko Haram. The group prevents, among other things, many young girls from going to school,  under the false pretext that Western education perverts youth. But the problems of this giant African country do not end there. Poverty, lack of energy, corruption, little investment in education, bad governance…etc.

UNESCO, the United Nations agency for education and science, noted in December 2021 about Nigeria that:

“Over the past three years, the federal government has spent only 1.4% of its gross domestic product on the education sector, well below the 4 to 6% recommended in the UNESCO 2030 Education for Action Framework in order to achieve inclusive and equitable education, as well as the generalisation of lifelong learning. »

It is therefore safe to say that education is far from being a priority for the Government which is faced with several crises (security, economic, demographic, social, etc.).

UNESCO added that:

“Low public investment forces many parents to pay the cost of their children’s education, which increases with the level of education. Household expenditure covers school fees, the cost of uniforms, textbooks, teaching materials and ancillary costs such as transport and meals, which represents, on average, more than half of the household budget. »

This goes for families that can afford it, blecause, as UNESCO noted:

“in 2018, poverty affected 46.4% of the Nigerian population and 53% of families lived with less than US$1.90 per day. Education is therefore far from being a priority for many households that are already struggling to meet their most basic needs. As a result, even though primary education is supposedly free and compulsory, around 10.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are not in school. »

These numbers are alarming but thanks  to private initiatives, which support the efforts of disadvantaged families, some young girls manage to realize their educational dreams. This is the case of Saaondo Hembafan.

A sad story…revealed to the Foundation, thanks to social media.

This young girl, barely 20 years old, says she was forced into marriage by her father to a “rich man”, in order to send her brothers and sisters to school. It was in June 2023 and on a famous social media platform that she told her painful story, which moved the Foundation’s representative in Canada. Today, and thanks to the Foundation, young Saaondo is fulfilling her dream of studying as the Foundation has helped her  to pay all schooling fees at the Delta State University, as well as, other additional costs.

As told by herself below, her story could have easily have a very sad ending…