Stepping Stones Model School and Bebor School
Stepping Stones Model School and Bebor School, both in AKWA IBOM, are two state funded primary schools which Safe Child Africa is proud to support.
The charity funded the building of ‘Stepping Stones Model School’ around 13 years ago, when the charity's founder, Gary Foxcroft visited the area during a University Gap year, and saw for himself that an alarmingly high number of school aged children were not in school. The decision to raise the funds to build a school, were the foundations of not only that project, but also the charity Safe Child Africa, that we are today.
Education continues to sit at the heart of Safe Child Africa’s work, in terms of providing children with a route into Primary School through our Scholarships Programmes and also through our Advocacy programmes.
Our Scholarship Programmes at Stepping Stones Model School and Bebor School help to reduce the barriers to education, that exist for so many children in the Niger Delta. Because although state education in Nigeria, is free at the point of delivery, the harsh reality is that education is simply not accessible to many children.
Many families in the Niger Delta who face poverty simply can not afford the transport costs, school uniform costs and the levy 'payments' that are often required in Nigeria state education. And yet it is these very children, that so desperately need the opportunity to carve out a better future for themselves, in order to break the cycles of poverty that have held back generations of families like theirs, for so long.
In some cases, these children may also have disabilities or may have been outcast by society, for a number of reasons. Our scholarships play a vital role in supporting their place in education, which is fundamental to our long term aim of a future free from fear for children in this area of Nigeria.
Safe Child Africa is also in the final phase of a 3 year funding programme for these schools. When complete, the programme will empower the schools to become fully self funding and to operate as part of a business enterprise model: enabling the schools to generate revenue from working fish and snail farms, which the funding programme has helped them to establish.
Snails and fish provide a rich source of protein in an otherwise nutritionally deprived area (as a result of the 2008 oil spills which have devastated traditional forms of agriculture and farming) and generate an income for the schools. In addition one of the schools is developing a School Hall/Community Centre which again provides a space that will enhance the school but also acts as an extra source of income as this can be sub-let to the local community. We have been updating our supporters on the development of both of these schools through our regular quarterly Newsletter.