Founded by Bimbo Akinsanya to help sensitize children on the importance of education, BimboandFriends is a Non-governmental organization (NGO) that have worked with a large number of young people in several public schools across the federation.
In this interview with YNaija’s #Impact365 series, Akinsanya tells us more about her NGO and the works they are doing.
What led to the formation of bimbo and friends?
The need to paint the picture of success in the mind of teenagers became imperative. So many reasons why I started Bimboandfriends but would give some here. In my third year at the Obafemi Awolowo University I saw a lot of children come to the hostel to sell and offer to help us do chores.
I would question them and ask why they were not in school, truth is not everyone really understood why education is Important. Also I saw a lot of girls get pregnant as teenagers with no WAEC cerificate to their name and teenagers make alot of wrong choices where career and life issues are concerned.
So I decided that together with my friends we would go to public secondary schools to talk to them on issues affecting them and also let them know that they can get a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.
We started with seventh day Adventist school in Ife Osun State with three hundred students under the tree as the school didn’t have a school hall..
But as soon as we started we realised the issues were much more than these and it broke me to get more involved with teenagers in public schools and local communities.
What exactly are the mission and objectives of the initiative
Like Martin Luther king jnr I have a dream where children of the poor would have access to quality education and health care and won’t be relegated to make use of the seemily failing infrastructures and systems.
Our objective is to reach out and develop young people reminding them that their limitations and challenges can be over come and we can all become larger than the failures of the past .
To create a link between poor communities in Nigeria and emerging leaders
To create a mentorship avenue for young students as they find a model for their purpose.
To provide strategies to enable youths become all they can be.
Our mission is to work with government bodies,corporate bodies and individuals who believe in the future of young ones as together we bring hope and awareness through education and proper information to youths in local schools and communities.
How long has your NGO been around? And have you made any impact yet?
We have been around for three years but got registered February this year as Lend a hand for the development of Africa. Yes we have achieved some of our goals by God’s grace.
We have been able to reach out to students especiAlly girls in public secondary school and local communities providing hygiene materials, educational talks and mentorship platforms
We have started our girl club which helps to connect,share with small group of girls in various schools across Lagos and the Osun state chapter would be launched soon.
We have gotten youths,dropouts to learn skills as we engage their entrepreneurial mind and reduce the cycle of poverty and illetrcy in our communities.
We have launched our education support scheme responsible for assisting and sending children who have drop out to school
What projects is your Ngo working on?
We have the girl child seminar and club. The girl child education is pivotal in Nation building. Girls need to be properly educated, informed and empowered.
The saying educate a girl you have educated a Nation is not a cliche as if girls are given the opportunity they would perform better and help in Nation building.
The girl club is an avenue to share and connect with young girls as we discuss and address issues affecting them which are now global concerns. Issues like teenage pregnancy, child bride, rape etc.
Skill acquisition: our youth development initiative focused on getting youths, secondary school leavers, dropouts to learn a skill as we help reduce the cycle of poverty in our local communities and also engage their entrepreneurial mind giving them a reason to learn an interest based skill.
Education and charity support scheme: A platform that get hygiene mAterials and educational materials to students in schools and also support a less privilege child
How do you get girls to school or learn a skill?
We have a needs assessment team involved in visiting communities to identify certain needs.
We also ask questions when we get to schools about the students who are financially challenged. During our community project we identify girls who are drop out,roaming the streets,orphans and ask questions on what they would love to do. We enrol some in our skill acquisition training.
We are focused on training one child at a time as we monitor progress.
What are the challenges you face?
Just like every sector their are hurdles to cross but we do not see them as challenges we try to focus on the many reason why girls need to be educated and youths need to be trained and give our best to it. However more corporate bodies should have a functional CSR body that can help support initiatives such as ours.