The Kwara branch of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), has enrolled 200 Almajiri children in a school in Ilorin to ensure a better future for them.
Hajia Halimat Yusuf, Chairperson, Education Committee of the association, said on Friday in Ilorin that the children have the right to go to school and be educated, irrespective of their origin, religion or tribe.
She made the remarks while presenting the beneficiaries with school uniforms and learning materials.
Yusuf, who was a former Commissioner for Education in the state, said that the move became necessary, because of the high rate of out of school children.
She added that FOMWAN was determined to encourage and support the children to have western education, and support the implementation of programmes that will gradually take the children off the streets.
“FOMWAN is determined to have a good number of children in schools because if they are not educated they are more likely to suffer adverse health outcomes and less likely to participate in the decisions that affect them.
“It will be a big threat to their ability to build a better future for themselves and their communities,’’she said.
Newsmen report that the children, who were mainly scavengers and beggars, were enrolled at Karuma LGEA Primary School ‘A’ in Ilorin.
Yusuf described as worrisome the increase in number of Almajiri children on the streets, mostly in Gambari area in Ilorin, and how they are used for begging.
She described the idea as a violation of the rights of children to education, health, security, food and dignity.
“They will be the one guiding them; holding their arms to various places in the town and outside the town.
“The children were so small before, but we later discovered that they are growing up to teenagers and so on. So we pitied them and found it necessary to help them,’’she said.
According to her, “the adverse condition being experienced by the children could deprive them from having the good things of life and their rights as a citizen of the country.
Yusuf, however, said that the association was only able to adopt 200 children because of the financial burden involved in the task.
She said that the committee had informed the relevant government agencies and the state government had expressed interest in taking over the sponsorship.
In her remark, Mrs Fatimah Ahmed, the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, commended the organisation for investing in the educational pursuit of the children.
Ahmed, represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mrs Susan Oyetunde, described the effort as a great contribution to the education sector in the state, and urged well meaning individuals and organisations to do likewise.
The commissioner sought for more public-private-partnership in the development of education in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Earlier in her address of welcome, Mrs Halimat Lawal, the Headmistress of the school had applauded the Muslim women group for its timely intervention.
Lawal pledged that the newly enrolled pupils would excel, and urged other philanthropists to complement government’s effort in its policy of educational for all.