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My School And I

A SHORT STORY BASED ON A GIRL’S CONVERSATION WITH HER FRIEND ON THEIR SCHOOL EXPERIENCE.

It’s Binta’s birthday and she has invited kids from her school and church including Cynthia. Cynthia is overly excited about the invite because she doesn’t always get the opportunity to mingle with the other kids whom she classifies as ‘ajebo’ (the truth is, Cynthia envies these privileged children and would love be like them, so she jumps at any opportunity to be around them).

At Binta’s family house, all the invited guests are having fun. Finally, it’s time for exchange of gifts and souvenirs. The children have queued up for this and Cynthia is seizing the opportunity to make new friends, and trust me, she is quite smart at it.

Hi, my name is Cynthia; what is your name? she asked the chubby girl standing before her.
I’m Tamara, the girl replied.
Are you Binta’s friend from school, Cynthia asked. Yes, replied Tamara; what about you?
I’m her friend from church, Cynthia replied.

After the introduction, the girls exchanged gifts/souvenirs with the celebrant-Binta and went on to chat more about their daily activities, hobbies, friends etc and quickly became good friends. Then Tamara began to talk about a national competition that she will be attending alongside Binta and some other students from their school (as contestants) and asked Cynthia if her school is participating. Cynthia gave a reply that shocked Tamara.

No, my school has never participated in any national competition since I started schooling there, Cynthia replied. My school is not as equipped as yours and the children in my school are not as rich as you and Binta. We don’t have equipped library; some classrooms don’t have enough desk for the pupils; we don’t even have toilets in my school; whenever we are pressed, we make use of the surrounding bushes. I pray to God everyday to give my parents enough money to send me and my siblings to a good school like your own.

Tamara couldn’t believe her ears.She could never, in her wildest imagination, think of a school without facilities as basic as a toilet and library.

PICTURE COMPARISON BETWEEN CYNTHIA'S SCHOOL AND TAMARA'S

She pitied Cynthia and all the children in that school. All she could say was ‘I wish I have my own money, I would have made your school to be like ours, but I know someday your parents will bring you to my school and you will join our book/debate club. I will be very happy to have you in my school because you are smart and I like you. I also know that Aunty Oma, our coordinator, will like you too and put your name in the top list of students that represent our school in external competitions’.

While the girls were still chatting, Tamara’s mum pulled up right before them. ‘Mara it’s time to go home, party is over’, her mum called out.
I’m coming mum, she replied. Then she turned to Cynthia, come with me, I’ll beg my mum to drop you off at your house; that way I will get to know your house address so I can visit you more often. Oh, thank you Mara, replied Cynthia excitedly. Let’s bid Binta farewell.
They bade Binta farewell and exchanged hugs. Thanks for coming Mara, I will see you in school on Monday, and Cynthia, thank you too; see you on Sunday. “Happy Birthday once again” the girls replied, bye.

The girls ran quickly to meet Tamara’s mum. “Mum, meet my new friend, her name is Cynthia”. Good evening Ma, Cynthia greeted. Good evening my dear, how are you? I’m fine Ma. How about your parents? They are fine ma.
Mummy, she is stopping a few yards away, do you mind dropping her off, Tamara asked her mum. Oh, that’s fine princess, a friend of my daughter, is also my friend. Hop in my dear. Thank you Ma.
Tamara’s mum drove to Cynthia’s house to drop her. She exchanged pleasantries with Cynthia’s parents. Then she said “it’s official now, we are all friends”. Tamara gave Cynthia her house address and they bade each other goodnight.

Tamara and her mum drove off. On their way home, Tamara related the sad story of Cynthia’s school experience to her mum, and how she wishes Cynthia will be enrolled in her school, because she is a bright and lovely girl. Tamara’s mum saw the sadness on her daughter’s face as she spoke and promised to discuss with her dad about enrolling Cynthia in her school on Scholarship. Tamara was overjoyed and started dancing in her seat; she can’t wait to break the news to her new friend. She looks forward to when she would visit Cynthia with her fantastic news…

THE END/MORAL OF THE STORY
Just like Cynthia, there are countless number of children out there, especially in our public schools, who have this experience as their daily reality. Most of them, might not be as lucky as Cynthia who is going to be awarded a scholarship to study in a well-equipped school (which in many cases are private schools). What is the fate of these children? Is there any hope for them?
Yes! There is hope only if we can all work together to bring a change.

This year, 2020, we at Queen Grace Foundation (QGF) are embarking on a project tagged CO-GIVE20. It is a project centred on providing our adopted public primary and secondary schools with some basic facilities namely, blocks of toilet, borehole water, equipped library and signages. We were as dumbfounded as Tamara when we were told that the children in the primary school had no toilet where they can ease themselves properly and privately; not in this age, not with the imminent health and security risks.

Moral – all children deserve to be treated equally; all schools to be equally and better equipped. A school in healthy and good sanitary condition will produce happier and better educated children. These children will be keen to attend school and to learn/study. Why deprive them of such basic and fundamental right simply because these are public schools within rural communities? Let’s do the right thing by our children TODAY to secure their TOMORROW!

All we are asking, is that you support our cause today in whatever way you can. Give towards this project and put a life-long spark in the eyes of these innocent and beautiful kids.

Please find below our account details for your kind donations:

Acct number: 1017200010 – Zenith Bank, Nigeria.

Acct number: 73005984, Sort Code: 20.92.63 – Barclays Bank, UK.

Acct Name: QUEEN GRACE FOUNDATION

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