Rochas Foundation Earmarks N1bn To Tackle Out Of School Children Challenge

The Rochas Foundation says it is budgeting N1 billion to help tackle the out of school children challenge in the country.

Ms Ucy Rochas, Director-General of the foundation, disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday while briefing newsmen.

She said the programme would be implemented under its new project called “Rochas Foundation Education Aid and Development (READ) programme” to be launched in 2020.

“As you are aware, over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria primarily due to poverty, instead of education and its benefits, they engage in street trading to help them and their family survives.

“Rochas Foundation is budgeting the sum of one billion Naira for this programme, this fund will be disbursed through NGO’s who are found to be credible to help pursue this cause in their various localities where they exist.

“Recently, the federal ministry of education had announced this ugly situation and is making every frantic effort to address it.

“The foundation during the 2020-2021 time frame will partner with the ministry of education in this regard.

“It is for this reason that we shall launch this READ which encourages volunteerism and to pick these children out of the streets, providing them with education wherever they may be found in Nigeria,” she said.

She appealed to the agencies in Nigeria to assist in this fight, adding that 10 million out of school children could be likened to a whole nation not going to school.

“This new initiative which would kick off in 2020 seeks to get 10 million indigent kids off the streets and into schools.

“Recent statistics show that there are about 10 million out of school children in Nigeria, an alarming situation that calls for urgent action to get illiteracy to its barest minimum.

“This is why Rochas Foundation is leading efforts to get these children not only into school but with the needed aids and support,” she added.

Rocha’s said that the foundation intends to give grants to 1,000 indigenous foundations that are making an evident impact in the education sector all in a bid to make education a right for all irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity and religious beliefs.

On the foundation’s university scholarships, she said from the year 2023, a total of 15 students from Nigeria and other African countries would benefit from the scheme.

“By 2023, the Rochas Foundation will be sponsoring 10 students per state, the brightest children who made the best results in JAMB to study in Nigerian universities, and 5 from every African country,” she said.

According to her, graduates from Rocha’s schools will not be part of the beneficiaries of the new scheme.

Commenting on the achievements of the foundation in the education sector, she noted that over 20,000 children have benefited from its free education scheme after over 20 years of its existence.

She added that the foundation major had produced 2,000 university graduates and about 4,000 still undergraduate.

She noted that getting jobs for the graduates remained a major challenge as the foundation would not be able to deal with it that alone.

“That is why we are calling on partners, stakeholders and government to be part of what we are doing,” she added.

Rochas said that most beneficiaries of the foundation are orphans and the poorest of the poor. (NAN)