The year 2016 was a hard one for Nigerians as the country fell into recession, jobs were lost and an overall hike in the price of all commodities. During this last year as people struggled to provide the basics for their families healthcare and education took a back seat, the need to survive was at the forefront. How do we improve their lives was the main question I asked myself as I sat down to write this annual letter for the year 2017. In this hardship how do I put a smile on as many faces as possible? How do we break the cycle of poverty?
HAMI School is the heart of the foundation quality education cannot be overemphasized. The need and access to education is at an all time high with our rapid population growth. 40% of children aged 6-11 years are out of primary school (unicef.org) these are formative years that are critical to a child’s education, not only do they become literate it also shapes them into who they will become.
My letter this year for our educational objective will focus how we intend to provide quality education for our students. On my early morning drives to HAMI I see children on their way to school all seeking education, parents dropping off their kids all wanting a better life for the children. Education is the only answer, the only way out of poverty ravaging our communities. Unfortunately, the educational system is unable to provide for the vast majority of children in poor communities the path to be better.
To deal with this we have to start with the teachers, without good teachers we cant move forward. The power and value of good teachers is the underlying factor for any school to be successful. Our teachers have passion, care and respect for the students, the community and our core values.
Investing in education is vital to our development as a nation it reduces poverty, increases a person’s chance for a better life and promotes peace and tolerance. We cannot move forward with these challenges holding us back. HAMI School aims to deal with these issues head-on one child at a time.
With regards to healthcare we have customized our outreach program and take it to the doorsteps of rural communities. With our new program we are able to touch more lives. Blindness is a great burden both economically and financially, the saddest part is the leading cause of blindness is avoidable. Nigeria has the highest number of aphakia cases in the world. Aphakia is the absence of lens and is usually as a result of couching which is the traditional method of removing cataracts.
In my language we have a saying ‘makanta mutuwar tsaye’ it means blindness is death while still standing. On the roads everyday you see blind people begging and the all have young children as their guides. Firstly, the amount of manpower used to beg could be utilized in a more efficient way. Secondly, why aren’t these children in school? What will they grow up to be, as begging has become a norm for them.
The health outreach program tackles this problem head-on and after a 20 minute surgery their lives have been changed from despair to having hope. Hope for everybody patients and caregivers.
Abdullahi Musa Bello.
Founder AMA Foundation