“Harsh economy hindering services to schools”

A non-governmental organisation, FATESASkills Initiative, has said the high cost of fuel and living is hindering its ability to provide free vocational skills to secondary school students across Lagos State.

FATESASkills Initiative is on a mission to bridge the gap between formal education and vocational training and has a vision to enable students to acquire practical skills alongside academic qualifications, right from the classroom.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, founder of FATESASkills Initiative, Mrs Gift Ogbemi, lamented that lack of funding was a major challenge to her dream of equipping students with vocational skills, saying she always used her own funds to train students in some of these secondary schools in Lagos.

She said, “Our initiative faces several challenges. The foremost challenge is the lack of funding and resources.”

The rising cost of fuel has made it difficult for some of our team members to travel to schools when needed. Additionally, we often struggle with inadequate materials at schools, despite our efforts to teach the students. This situation hampers the learning experience.”

“Our mission is to empower young students with practical skills that can supplement their academic education, providing them with a well-rounded skill set that makes them more employable and better prepared for entrepreneurship. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to acquire these valuable life skills.”

She revealed that in Lagos Schools, her NGO offered a range of skills, including hairdressing, such as braiding and wig making, barbering, nail care, and pedicure.

Ogbemi said, “We want to equip these young teenagers with hands-on skills that are not only essential for personal grooming but can also lead to future employment or entrepreneurial opportunities in the beauty and grooming industry.”

She called on the government and corporate organisations to support her dream saying, “At this point, we are seeking financial, material, and ongoing collaboration support from the government. “We also hope that companies, both within and outside Africa, will consider investing in our skills initiative to empower these young teenagers further.”

“Looking ahead, we envision expanding our reach to more schools in Lagos and potentially other regions. We want to make a substantial impact on the lives of these young students, helping them reach the heights they aspire to in the near future.”

While sharing the students’ success stories, he said, “One student, after I finished teaching her, conducted practical sessions on her own and even shared her work on TikTok. It’s heartwarming to see them put their skills to use. Another student has started earning a modest income by utilising what he learned after school. These achievements make me extremely proud.”


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