Say 5.5 million Nigerian girls are out of school.
Ace comedian, Atunyota ‘Ali Baba’ Akpobome, and his wife, Mary, launched the Purple Girls Foundation, to support girl-child education in Lagos on Wednesday.
The launch and fund-raising at the Civic Center was organised to mark Mrs. Akpobome’s 50th birthday.
The celebrant said the foundation was established to enhance the education of the girl-child from less-privileged backgrounds that struggle amidst various disadvantages.
She added that the foundation would in the first three years support indigent female children in three pilot states and subsequently reach out to other parts of the country.
“The Purple Girl Foundation has now become one of the available interventions where we can collectively express our humanity by being our sister’ keepers and in our way, leave impactful footprints in the sands of time. Our vision is to be the leading platform supporting and advocating access to education and leadership development for the girl-child in Nigeria,” she said.
She said the foundation would support under-served young girls in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions with tuition, education support and health insurance.
According to her, the support will also instill in them leadership and peer learning opportunities to give them better prospects for their future.
She noted that educating the girl-child goes beyond advocating gender equality and female rights;, saying “education for the girl-child results in positive transformation and development at family, community and national levels.
“Every child deserves to go to school. 60 per cent of the total out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls; which means 5.5 million girls are out of school and it is the highest rate worldwide. If all women had a primary education, maternal deaths would reduce by two-thirds, and 98, 000 lives will be saved,” she said.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adebule, said the state government would continue to develop policies and programmes that would support girl-child education, protect them from sexual abuse and instill confidence in them.
Mrs. Adebule was represented by the Permanent-Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Yetunde Odejaiye.
She said that it was unacceptable that many girls had to drop out of school due to lack of funds and support.
Mrs Adebule commended the foundation for complementing the government’s activities by promoting girl-child education in the country.
Some members of the foundation’s board of trustees were also introduced to the audience at the event. They include Ini Abimbola, Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, Gloria Nash and Charles Udoh Bassey
The gathering themed “Girl Child Education for Nation Building” was well attended.
PREMIUM TIMES spotted personalities like actress Monalisa Chinda and her husband, Victor Coker; Presiding Pastors of Daystar Christian Center; Sam and Nike Adeyemi, and Principal of Corona Secondary Schools, Chinedum Oluwadamilola, at the event.