By Abdullahi Umar Bunkure
In what is seen as a means of giving a life a meaning by empowering the less privileged in the society and also addressing the plight of the Almajiris, the Mass Literacy for The Less Privileged and the Almajiris Initiative popularly known as (MALLPAI), was founded 10 years ago by the Wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Her Excellency Hajia Aisha Bagudu, for the empowerment of the less privileged in the society and enrolment of children in school by driving out illiteracy in the communities, enrich the minds of the youths, help develop unskilled women and educating the girl child. The foundation is also being driven by adding values to the lives of the most vulnerable and making society a better place to coexist.
Over the last decade MALLPAI has touched lives of the less privileged in many ways, by helping them to have access to quality education and equal opportunities which had really helped many of them to realize their potentials. The Organization had also believed in the adding of values to the vulnerable in the society by enhancing community development in the provision of essential services to rural communities that lacked human empowerment as carried out in many places in some of the the 44 fulani communities that had benefited from the gesture of MALLPAI in the provision of basic aminities such as water and schools as well as skills acquisition across the 4 emirates included, Rugar Hutawa village in Gwandu local government area, Gessen Bayero in Birnin Kebbi local government, Rugar Badariya in Argungu local government, Tudun Dabaga community in Arewa local government area, Rutun Alhaji Damana,Yauri local government, Juli Gironmasa in Shanga local government and in Zuru local government area, and Tadurga community.
The Foundation has also played a vital role in the implemention of the trading, improved the quality of women and children education, most especially the Almajiris and the girl child who have remained a major challenge to Northern Nigeria as a result of the high number of boys and girls who are out-of school.
One of Hajia Aisha Bagudu’s main area of concern over the years has been improving the lives of the Almajaris in many ways, who are the mendicant students of a Qur’anic lesson leader who retire to the teacher with proceeds of the day’s alms, usually food or money. The proceeds usually suffice for their lesson fees. And this corroborated with what she has been saying since the establishment of the organization a decade ago. She over the years remained committed to change the narratives of the Almajiri education system. To her, despites the challenges faced by the Almajirii programme, the seeking of Islamic Knowledge cannot be overemphasized.
Through the MALLPAI foundation, Hajia Aisha Bagudu has taken away thousands of Almajiris out of the streets and provided them with basic necessity of life such as education, skills acquisition programme, Health care, hygiene and donation of land.
Hajia Aisha said “We will continue to give back to the society through the foundation. It is important to educate these children and help them attain their goals,”
She went further to say that “ We have to think like a mother all these boys that are outside, these are our boys they are our children we should hold them close to our heart and support them and give them the best by doing this, we are encouraging Nigeria to grow and building a better society”.
And that, “If they were left on the streets, our nation is endangered; if they are happy, we would be happy, if they are hungry, sick, angry, they would be violence and the consequences would affect us all”.
What Hajia Aisha Bagudu has been doing through her foundation, for the past Ten (10) Years, can be said to be in line with the the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, that were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The 17 SDGs are integrated that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.
Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero poverty, hunger, empowerment of women and girls.
Since everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from all of society is necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context, which has remained a priority of the MALLPAI foundation as an non-governmental organization, the empowerment of the less-privileged in society and enrollment of children in schools will continue to be her priority in the country and even across the border.
In what is also seen as a significant achievement of the foundation in its contribution to the development of humanity over the years, Hajia Aisha through her foundation had flagged-off vaccination of animals against various animal diseases in Kebbi state, who she personally supervised the vaccination of cows in the Fulani settlement, stressing that, one of the ways of improving the lives of the Fulani is by ensuring the good health of their animals.
In addition, Her excellency Hajia Aisha Bagudu through her pet project had engaged in massive sensitization of her people through the door steps on many national issues that include: The peaceful coexistence, enrollment of their children in schools especially the girl child. In her visit to some Fulani settlement across the State of Kebbi, in order to foster and facilitate their inclusion in governance and development. Through her effort many Fulanis were captured in the ongoing National Identity Card registration to give them the rightful place as citizen of Nigeria. Her Excellency has also indulged her kinsmen to obtain a permanent voter’s card a development, that assisted many of them exercised their franchised for the very first time in their life.
She has also contributed in distribution of mosquito nets, food items and other household materials to the people and presented tricycles, clutches and other visual aids to the disabled.
MALLPAI also distributed free drugs to the Fulani settlements where hundreds of persons in the communities benefited.
The foundation had also helped in expanding many schools in almost all parts of Kebbi State. It assisted many Schools with skills acquisition equipment, as well as helping to employ teachers to teach vocational skills. The foundation has been doing this over the years to complement the efforts of the state government at boosting the enrollment of out-of-school children into the state’s public schools.
It has also extended the gesture to Islamiya Schools and public schools, providing them with modern equipment on how to make cosmetics soap and chalks and other items that can help them to be independent and become productive.
In the area of agriculture, the foundation over the years had assisted youths in Kebbi State and beyond particularly, students in public schools and Almajiri with farm inputs, including hectares of land for farming. This has drawn the attention of the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on his visit to Kebbi Sate where he commended on the good work of the wife of the Governor, Hajia Aisha Bagudu for touching people’s lives positively and also congratulated her for the good work she has been doing.
The foundation had also rehabilitated over forty (40) Fulani settlements in the state, by constructing structures for clinics, schools, open wells and roads.
One of the significant achievements of the MALLPAI foundation since its creation is its role in helping many youths to become graduates which made their dreams come true.
In her own comment on the activities of the MALLAPAI foundation over the years, the wife of the Vice President Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo made the following submission ” the result is clear for us to see, the result is, children on the streets are taken off, I salute the work already done by MALLPAI foundation’’.
The foundation “Mass Literacy Programme and Almajiris Initiative (MALPAI)” under the leadership of Her Excellency Hajia Aisha Bagudu, has really touched people’s lives positively since its creation Ten (10) years ago, it has impacted positively on the lives of many Nigerians as she has contributed in the improvement of the welfare of the less privileged in the society and enrollment of children in school by driving out illiteracy in the communities, she has also enrich the minds of the youths, by adding values to the lives of the most vulnerable and making society a better place to live.
Abdullahi Umar Bunkure is an International Affairs analyst and a Development Worker, writes in from Abuja, and can be reached on 08069111610.