Guest Post: Halimah Goes To School

The Neo Child Initiative

Fourteen year old Halimah is easily one of the brightest teenagers I have come to know. I met her earlier this year while working on a US Consulate sponsored project – Alaafia along with my colleagues on the Carrington Youth fellowship where we empowered young people like her with tools to solve the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene challenges in Ebute Ilaje slum in Bariga, Lagos.

The Neo Child Initiative

When she heard about the training opportunity we were offering to young people, she immediately jumped at it! She scaled through the interviews and insisted on joining the workshop despite our reluctance given that we thought she would miss school for it.

Halimah shone like a million stars during this workshop despite being the youngest; with the quality of her ideas and submissions, her enthusiasm for impacting her community and her genuine drive to simply make a difference. I remember being unable to hold back tears when I saw her pitch her business idea for Mobile Toilet Rentals with so much passion backed up by facts and figures.

The Neo Child Initiative

Halimah was an absolute star!

She won the Business Pitch, ahead of all the ‘grown ups’ who contested and started a soap making business with the 40,000 naira we offered as seed grant to invest in her passion. Today, she’s actively striving to get her family out of poverty with it.

I was particularly disturbed when I visited her family only to discover she had been out of school for over 1 year. I could not fathom how such a bright, young girl could be missing out on an opportunity to develop her enormous potentials because of her parents’ financial struggles.

This is why as I am adding a year by September 21st, I have undertaken a personal mission to make sure she goes and stays back in school, but I really cannot do this alone. She would be enrolled in Onike Girls’ High School, Yaba this new session only if she can raise the initial school fees summing up to 40,000 naira. An additional 10,000 naira would be necessary to get her School kits and supplies. After this payment, she would not be required to pay any other sum subsequently asides for textbooks and to replace worn out school kits.

The Neo Child Initiative

Please support this mission to invest Halimah’s future – to prevent a future so bright from deeming out.

We might not be able to get the over 13 million children out of school in Nigeria back into school.

But we can start with One.

Let’s start with Halimah!




Yusuf Shittu.

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