With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
It was sad seeing a horde of pupils of a particular public school in the Sabo-Oke area of Ilorin, Kwara State walking to school in tattered uniforms and worn footwears. Some of them had their uniforms heavily patched. Though a sorry sight but this has come to be synonymous with public schools in the state. In these schools pupils appearing neat and well groomed is no longer the tradition. As observed, the culture of personal hygiene among students in government owned schools seem to be fading away. it is not only sad but very sympathetic seeing particularly public schools pupils, going through elementary education in extremely poor and unhygienic conditions. It is a clear departure from what was obtained in years gone by when teachers at school were keen on hygiene; there was routine inspection every morning on the assembly. With this, it was rare to see any student appearing unkempt in school as such attracted sanction. Understandably, some of the pupils wear tattered uniforms to school because their parents are poor and cannot afford to buy new ones when the old ones get worn and torn. But in some cases, it is as a result of the lackadaisical attitude of parents and guardians to the hygiene of their children/wards. It is disheartening that some of them think that just because they pay fees for their child, they are wholly exempted from responsibilities like ensuring hygiene. It is mortifying to see some of the pupils looking like they have not had a wash in days, which makes one wonder if they left home for school under watch of their parents.
Instructively, hygiene in school children should not be just a health issue; cleanliness help kids develop self esteem and can earn respect amongst their peers. It is for this reason that parents should ensure that their children should be neat and well groomed at all times.Parents should not leave the grooming of their children solely to the school. This is their responsibility because these are their children. Like the saying ‘charity begins at home.’ They should be in charge of their children’s hygiene
The schools also have a role to play in this issue. It is the duty of the school to ensure that their students stay neat at all times. Students can be encouraged to appear neat in school if there is a reward system wherein the neatest students are honoured.
However, towards alleviating the burden of some indigent parents, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can assist with programmes aimed at providing school kits for children from humble background.
The level of poverty is high, through such programmes lives of these kids can be touched. It is note worthy that some NGOs have been helping school children in this direction. The Fresh Insight on its on part embarked on Operation kit 1,000 Kwara pupils aimed at distributing 1,000 school uniforms, bags, sandals and cardigans to pupils so as to boost their morale. The gesture is geared towards increasing the enthusiasm of school pupils. In addition, the foundation has furnished schools in communities in the state with furniture in a bid to provide conducive teaching and learning environment. The foundation has been carrying on with this project with so much zeal and commitment. Their philanthropy is being carried out with zeal and commitment with sole aim of aiding academic excellence for human capital growth. Also there is a programme by a Kwara based NGO, the Grassroots Aid Initiative, channelled towards providing footwear for school children. The programme is tagged “#shoesforsouls” aimed at distributing 3,000 shoes to school children in rural areas. The free sandal programme of the NGO is borne out of concern for hundreds of kids in public primary schools who went to schools barefooted, because their parents could not afford sandals.
The programme is a vision and a humanitarian aid that seeks to make life better for indigent children. It is a demonstrating of true love by supporting poor children and families. Through this philantropy dignity and respect will be enjoyed by children who hitherto go to school barefooted or in bathroom slippers. This with help them remove inferiority complex that sets into the lives of kids at this tender stage of their lives and also save them from getting hurt by sharp and dangerous objects.
Though the gift of sandals means little or nothing to many people but to young kids it is a life changing expression of love. The pair of shoes can make great impact and will be an unforgettable experience.