Tuesday 11th May 2021 was indeed a memorable day in the lives of thirteen orphan students of Government Girls Secondary School(GGS) in Yola. The kindness of five student-philanthropists from the American University of Nigeria (AUN) made the day joyous.
The philanthropist team is made up of a 500Level Law student and former Miss AUN 2018, Christine Vihishima; the present Mr. Congeniality of AUN, Anyietie-Nte-Abasi Etim; a fresh graduate from AUN, Gloria Musa; Aisha Doggi; and Chidera Ibe.
According to the team, the essence of their usual visit is to motivate these students to study hard to become great in life; after all, one's background doesn't determine one's destination. Aisha and Chidera however could not make the trip to the school, they contributed to the visit financially.
The team paid the orphans’ school fees for one term and also donated groceries. They encouraged the students to study hard to qualify to benefit from the next scholarship.
"We are not doing this because we have a lot of money; we are doing it to support you so that when you grow up to become like us, you will willingly support others. We are here for you, and we will always come back to see you. Also, you need to study well so that you can also be beneficiaries of the next scholarship. Only the best three students from each class will benefit. So you need to work hard."
The GSS vice-principal expressed immense appreciation to the AUN philanthropists for their selfless support. She also revealed to the team that the selected orphans were just a few out of many indigent students in the school.
"There are children whose parents are alive but they are in abject conditions." She specifically pointed out the case of two girls who were abandoned in the school by their parents who have never come back to check on them since then. "At first, the children could speak neither Hausa nor English. They spoke only Fulfulde. Their adaptation to the system was pretty difficult but they have now become used to the academic system," said the vice-principal.
She pleaded with the AUN students to also consider those children as "special" irrespective of the fact that their parents are still alive. The vice-principal also suggested to the team to factor in the hardworking orphans in the junior secondary school in their budget.
"I, Gloria and Aisha, have done this for about four years. At a point, Mr. Congeniality and Chidera joined us. Our motivation has been the desire to keep these girls in school. We discovered that many of these students could not pay as little as the amount of their fees, and it stopped them from going to school. Since we have access to quality education in a place like AUN, we decided to give these students the opportunity to acquire education, and enjoy the liberation that it brings." Said Christine.
Mr. Congeniality, Anyietie Etim shared his motivation. "When I was told that these girls couldn't pay their fees of six hundred and forty naira (N640), I was stunned. I know that the amount is what many people can easily spend on the road as 'chicken change'; so I felt the need to put it in something that would benefit others. So I joined the team regardless of gender. As for my ability to feel the pain of these students, I won’t say that I know what it means to be hungry but at least, I can imagine it. Although the reality of their condition may be far from what I can imagine, it doesn't make any sense to me to waste resources when I know that people are in this kind of condition." Said Anyietie.
“Ever since I came to AUN, I've been an active participant in the community service. I joined the team in my 100Level... So when I heard about Christine's project when she was still Miss AUN, I became interested in it because I have a passion for humanity. AUN has taught us to always give back to the community, so this is a way of practicing what AUN has taught me... I didn't join the team with the expectation of any gain. So the fact that I'm not gaining any concrete thing can't discourage me. These students' happiness is enough to make me fulfilled", said Gloria.
One of the student-beneficiaries of the visit gave a vote of thanks. Amidst tears of joy, an SS1 student, Veirat David Dalyop thanked the philanthropists.
"I really want to appreciate you for what you're doing for us because it's not everybody that has the heart of giving. GOD will bless you and provide everything that you need. He'll protect you and always help you. Anything you touch shall prosper. People will always remember you for good. We'll always pray for you. You'll always pass your exams with flying colours. Amen!"
With such deeply moving prayers, the team left the premises of Government Girls Secondary School, Yola with great feelings of fulfillment. It was indeed a successful visit.
Reported by Esther Onyinye Ofeli