The Women’s Dignity Initiative Inc. (WDII) has given scholarships to 6 indigent female students from rural communities in Ondo State. The WDII is a Non-Governmental Organization, NGO founded by Dr. Mrs. Folasade Olajuyigbe, of the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology, Akure [FUTA]. WDII provides scholarships to financially challenged but gifted and promising girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] in remote villages in Nigeria, empowering them through mentorship, training and participation in scientific conferences. The scholarship, made up of Tuition Fee, science Textbooks, Mathematical sets and school bags, was presented in an award ceremony and the official presentation of WDII at the Theodore Idibiye Francis Auditorium, Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Olajuyigbe, a Fulbright Scholar and Schlumberger Faculty for the future fellow disclosed that the awardees were successful candidates from selected remote villages in Ondo State who participated in an examination organized by WDII. She said eighteen schools were contacted to nominate their two best girls in mathematics and 6 candidates emerged winners of the scholarship examination held on the 4th of August, 2018. Speaking on the vision behind the initiative, Olajuyigbe said “the challenges of living in rural areas are numerous. Few who attend schools have secondary school as their ultimate. Girls in these areas are from very humble backgrounds and are prone to early marriages, teenage pregnancy, cultural and religious misinterpretation and sexually transmitted diseases; this cycle continues from one generation to another”.
She said the aim is to build girls who are conscious of their potentials, who have self-esteem and are self-confident. Her words, “They delight in constant learning and are successful in school, they demonstrate academic and emotional intelligence, they graduate from tertiary institutions and become successful in their career and marriages”. She called on well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to partner with the initiative in order to enable girls achieve their full potentials and become successful career and family women, who contribute to household and national income.
Delivering a lecture at the occasion, Acting Dean, Faculty of Nursing Science, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Dr. Mrs. Abimbola Oluwatosin said success will be achieved by anyone who will not allow challenges hinder them from achieving their goals in life. Speaking on the topic; Success: Breaking through Barriers, she outlined the principles of success to include: goal definition, strategizing, evaluation of problems, identifying difficulties, accepting blame, reorganizing and acknowledging God as the maker. She said successful people encounter challenges that may deter them among which are age, negativity, fear of the past or future, toxic people and the state of the world. She also highlighted possible barriers to success to entail communication barriers, financial barriers, physical barriers, health challenges and gender barriers on the way forward. Oluwatosin said imbibing the virtues of persistency, focus integrity, gratitude and concerted efforts will however yield positive efforts and enable determined individuals achieve their goals in life.
In her remarks, Chairperson of the occasion and Director, Centre for Gender Issues in Science and Technology [CEGIST], Prof. Mrs. T. T. Adebolu commended Dr. Olajuyigbe on her initiative. She pointed out that in most communities educating the girl child is still a mirage because parents are biased, and the stereotype that a woman’s place is in the kitchen is prevalent. She said times have changed and women have attained the pinnacle of various careers and the girl child must be encouraged to achieve her full potential. She admonished the awardees to add value to themselves and encourage their friends and colleagues to do same. Adebolu urged them not to allow their circumstances determine their future but to rise above every challenge to fulfill their destinies.
In her goodwill message, the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Her Excellency, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu, represented by the Senior Special Adviser on Women Affairs, Mrs. Titilayo Adeyemi lauded the efforts of the initiative, she pledged her support for WDII adding that no matter how little all and sundry should contribute their quota to the education of the girl child.
Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic [DVC (A)], Professor Tunde Arayela commended the founder of the initiative for taking a bold step to encourage girls in STEM. He said the University management will support the initiative of achieving the education of the girl child.
Speaking relatedly, the Chairman, All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Public Schools,(ANCOPS) Ondo State, Mr. Fadoju and the Director General, center for Atmospheric Research(CAR) Abuja, Professor Babatunde Rabiu represented by Dr. Mrs. Adenike Folajaye commended the founder of WDII and promised to partner with the WDII in its initiative to better the lot of the girl child.
Awardees of the scholarship include Islamia Asejejejaye, Asantan Community Grammar School, Asantan Oja; Aishat Biokoto, Sokoto Ogundele Community Grammar School, Sokoto Ogundele; Promise Ilemobayo, Community Grammar School, Laje; Beauty Jacob, Tekuile Community Grammar School,Tekuile; Mariam Jubril, Fagbo Community Grammar School, Fagbo; and Selimot Olawuni, Sokoto Ogundele Community Grammar School.