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Mr. Ebeleme Jeremiah is a passionate Humanitarian, Child Advocate and the Program Manger and Co-ordinator of Sparkle Foundation. In this interview with our Correspondent, he believes that education basic need of a child where other things are built upon.

 

 

Can we meet you ?

 

My name is Ebeleme Jeremiah. I am a Passionate Humanitarian, Child Advocate, Entrepreneur, Global Youth Ambassador and the programmes Manager and Co-ordinator of sparkle Foundation. I work with children and young people in disadvantage communities, provide mentorship and equip people with the necessary skills to tackle problems in developing countries and so propose effective solutions which make good use of local people and things to solve poverty problems in developing countries.

 

Tell us about Sparkle Foundation?

 

Sparkle foundation is a non profitable, Non governmental organisation which was founded by Mrs Olasimbo Ojuroye  in 2006. it is a community based organisation that supports orphans and the vulnerable children in two thematic areas which is education and health. We have been going from community to community, we have worked in 14 communities in both Lagos and Ogun state namely Makoko, Otumara, Orile, Idiaraba, Oko, Itowolo, Remo, etc and we are currently in shagamu community in Ogun state.

 

How do you help the needy and the less privileged ones?

 

We try as much as possible to support them based on the vision of the organisation, we want the vulnerable children to achieve their full potential so we try as much as possible to see how we can look at the areas where we can support, especially around their education. Education is the basic need of a child because that is actually the foundation where other things are built upon and we understand that orphans and the less privilege most times don’t really have that privilege to access education so what we try as much as possible to do is to support them through their educational need, provide scholarship. We try to support their educational need and most cases also we try as much as possible to provide them with scholarship, support their healthcare and we have outreaches as well too which we also use in supporting their well being through our outreaches we give them clothes, food items and other household items and also extend  it to their  parents or their guardian.

 

Can you tell us about your outreach and how you reach out to people?

 

We Identify them through a need assessment which we carry out in communities. Through our need assessment, we identify those needs, what are the challenges in these communities and we begin to look at how our intervention is going to come in.  Like I said we work more in the disadvantages communities ,lets say we have  identified the disadvantage community or probably the community that you will call slum.  We look at the problems and challenges bearing in mind our vision and mission including our area of focus and after proper assessment, we see how we can actually intervene in that community. Most cases we go from house to house gathering information and meeting with stakeholders as well.

 

When we have chosen a community to work with, we usually create a three to five years plan for that community before the three to five years plan commences by then we would have done a proper assessment to enable us understand the community. In most cases where we are looking for out of school probably during the school hours we go door to door we try to know children who are not in school and try to understand why they are not in school and if their case is based on parents inability to afford their education for their children we try as much as possible to come in. We do registration for the child and also provide every educational need. People in the community do some times refer to us as well. that’s why we have three to five years plan with the community because as we come into the community, we need to identify some of the issues and then we solve them gradually “One at a time.

 

What are your focus?

 

Our focus are basically children although we have skill acquisitions programmes, free eye test, outreaches which are  open to young people in the community including parents and guardians.

 

What are your mission?

 

Our mission is to empower one child at a time supporting their educational needs and physical well  being with the hope for a brighter future that is our mission most of our activities are only hanged around our mission to empower one child at a time by supporting them educational need and physical wellbeing with hope of a brighter future.

 

What are your passion drive?

 

Our NGO is passionate about children and the founder Mrs Olasimbo Ojuoroye is also passionate about children. Before establishing the Sparkle, she has always supported disadvantaged children and providing educational needs for them to access education. It actually stirs her heart to do something whenever she see that the vulnerable, the orphans struggle to get those basic needs in life. Our children are told they are leaders of tomorrow, how can they lead if they don’t have the right foundation. The disadvantaged children who get ignored are tools for those who initiate them into armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, terrorism, and all kinds of crime. They grow up with so much hate that they do not care about their fellow humans.

 

That is why Sparkle Foundation is bridging the gap by empowering one child at a time, giving them the right foundation and empowering them with the tools to succeed.  We want to ensure children of the marginalized get almost the same opportunity. Life is not asking you what advantages you had or what opportunities you had, because life itself isn’t fair.

 

Children from these marginalised communities want to do more, they have dreams, goals, aspiration, and passion but how can they attain the height which they dreams, and that’s why sparkle is saying it is possible through education, mind reprograming, and the right tools.

We have trained a lot of computer usage and ICT most times we  give the privilege to sit in front of computer, it stirs their heart it makes them feel yes that is the  opportunity for them. It makes them fulfilled even most times when we tell them you are done for today they want to stay and spend more time. It shows if these children had more opportunities they will do better in life.

 

How do you help children to live healthy in order to access education and work towards achieving their full  potential in life?

 

We carry out sensitization for them on various health topics, we do have mentorship programmes with them, its called Self discovery. We have children which we adopt in those communities and support their wellbeing. We provide tools to help them access education such as uniforms, books, school shoes, school bags etc. We also provide scholarships, provide them with skill and also provide them with food and clothing through our outreach programme. ”One at a time”

 

Do you have sponsors, of so, who are they?

 

Our sponsors are the Public, Corporate organizations, Individual donors, Trustees and the Founder. When we have programmes we write to them for support, we also do crowd funding and most times when people have projects they writes to us to collaborate as an implementing partner.

 

What are your impacts so far?

 

We have so far been able to support over 3,600 children, we have been able to support them educationally in terms of providing them with their educational needs, remodelled 2 Early Learning Nursery with teachers to provide quality early childhood education, one in Lagos and the other in Ogun State. We have supported the visual abilities of 300 children, providing eye drops with both reading and recommended glasses. We have awarded scholarships to 18 children, trained 100 children on ICT including Coding. We have carried out skill programmes for 130 children and young people on different income generating skills raging from soap making, shoe making, bag making,  Baking and confectionaries,etc. We have also been able to support 3,300 children through our outreaches donating food items, clothes, shoes, bags, toys, games and other house hold items.

 

How old is your NGO?

 

The NGO started  as a philanthropy  by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2006, by Mrs Olasimbo Ojuroye and it was formally registered as an NGO IN 2016.

 

What was she doing  before she started this NGO?

 

She is a business person and a health worker in the United Kingdom (UK) who also worked in the hospice.

 

What do you think the government can do to support your NGO?

 

The government can do a whole lot to support. There are lots of challenges which we face most times especially in the line of education, the government can support in terms of infrastructures in schools to make learning more conducive, increasing their budgets for education because education has not been getting the due attention it deserves actually a great concern for all of us as a Nation that wants to pride itself as a Giant of Africa needs to actually begin to prioritise education,  that is the key or pillar to every other infrastructure because we cannot achieve or sustain it without education.

 

It is education that will give birth to those who will help us build and manage these infrastructure, it is education that will link us to identify all other profession including our development as a nation.

 

How do you support the education of the orphans, the less privileged and the Vulnerable children?

 

Like I said earlier, we provide their educational need such as books both text books and exercise books, school shoes, bag, etc. We also provide furniture to support the school to enable the children learn in a conducive environment, we also provide scholarship and ICT skill.

 

Can you tell us about your campaign on early childhood education?

 

What actually brought us into early childhood education was our experience working with Otumara community although improving the formative years of every child gave us a huge concern when we realize that the most of the children struggled with a lot including academically, character etc. We want the children to have a strong foundation and aside attending the nursery, the quality wasn’t so much. That was what brought us into early childhood education. A child’s formative years are a potent time when it comes to defining who a child is, and who they will become in future life. They have a lasting impact on their brains and healthy development. We believe the formative years are a highly impressionable time for a child’s development, and because of that, both positive and negative experiences can have lasting impacts especially children who live in disadvantaged communities.

To kick start, we were able to remodel the nursery in banjo primary School, Ottumara, provided a teacher and learning materials not just for the children also instructional materials for the teachers for them to be able to carry out their teaching effectively also provide learning materials for the children to also learn effectively as well too we want to see how we can be able to get the foundation right, arouse their flair for learning and make them have that desire, hunger to want to learn in a more conducive environment.

 

Can you tell us about your partnership, support and collaboration?

 

Collaborations has actually helped us come thus far. It has helped us mobilize resources both human, financial and material. It has also helped us reduce cost and judiciously make use of allocated resources. We leverage on the strength of other organisations, look at what their goal is and what resources they have and collaborate in order to ensure a win win for all. But we also bear in mind, we cannot collaborate with all due to financial constraint or non-availability, concentration on existing project etc. In most cases we form alliance for example, when we partnered with NOUSE Organisation to increase Mental Health awareness in Lagos Mainland, it was a huge success and when NOUSE raised the importance of pushing the Mental Health bill, we knew the mental health organisations were at the forefront and needed more voices behind. We didn’t hesitate to collaborate which birthed the First Suicide Prevention Conference, bringing all mental health organisations together for one common goal.

 

We also belong to the Nigerian Network of NGOs which has also helped tremendously in fostering partnership among member organisations.

We appreciate partnership a lot, we have had other organisation approached us to for partnerships and also funded the partnership as well.

 

Can you tell us about your ICT tools and resources for children?

 

The Covid -19 pandemic actually opened our eyes to the desire of ICT knowledge during the lockdown. Most privileged children were able to access online learning but for the underprivileged, learning was halted. We felt there was a gap which would take a long time to bridge. The question we began to ask ourselves were, how do we bring digital education to underprivilege children? How do we bridge the gap? How do we help these children navigate the 21st century without being left behind? The 21st century is the digital era. We understand that there is a problem so how do we solve this problem, we have a plan to help this children learn online but before that we must teach them how to use the tools. We came up with a curriculum which will help them learn the operations and usage of computer and some computer basic tools. We also got laptops, take them to the community which our volunteer teacher use in teaching the children in the community. Currently we have five laptops which we use and another 5 which our volunteers borrowed us and we are also planning to expand our capacity in other to reach more children.

 

Can you tell us about your summer computer training?

 

The summer holiday is a long holiday for our children which is an opportunity to acquire skill or gain new knowledge. During the summer period, instead of children roaming the streets, we decided to create a skill programmes where they can learn various skills like photography, baking and confectioneries, beadmaking, ICT etc.  The program holds every year during August summer holiday so instead of leaving them idle, we engage them during the long holiday.

 

We would appreciate the support of corporate organisations and private individuals. We cannot do this alone and we definitely would not achieve anything without them. We want to increase ICT education for disadvantaged children and we call on everyone to please get involved.  help@sparklefoundationng.org,  07087723544

 

What would you say is the motive behind your NGO?

 

it is just passion and love for children and their education.

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