According to UNICEF, a fifth of the world’s out-of-school children are in Nigeria. Education is free and compulsory, but in poorer areas of the country up to 50% of children don’t attend.
Cultural and societal issues are preventing them from getting an education, thus stunting the growth of Nigeria’s children and severely limiting their potential. What’s more, the schools that do exist are underfunded, underequipped, and incapable of supporting local children.
An uneducated child is more likely to remain in a cycle of poverty, which means Nigeria’s poorest towns will remain that way for generations to come.
It’s something that Folabi Clement Solanke knows all too well. The Nigerian-American was born in New York, but his parents hail from small and impoverished towns in the heart of rural Nigeria.
They were two of the lucky ones. They were educated, and that education gave them an opportunity to improve their lives and start a family in the United States. But the country they left behind is still struggling.
Solanke understands that if not for his parents’ education, his life would be decidedly different. “The first time I visited my mother’s village,” he says candidly, “I realized that I could be like the kids in that village. I’m no different. I’m no better. I just had better opportunities.”
When that realization struck, the former hospitality manager committed to a life of philanthropy.
“I know I can’t fix these issues overnight, or even in a single generation,” Solanke admits. “It’s about taking things one child, one school, and one town at a time.”
To help him on his journey, Solanke is calling for support from fellow Americans. “A donation of just a few dollars can buy some used textbooks and educate dozens of kids. A little awareness—a tweet, a like, a share—could help to fund a classroom or even a school.”
If you have the means to help or raise awareness, join Folabi Clement Solanke on his journey. Find him at Folabiclement.com or through his nonprofit organization GENERATIONS Nigeria.