Helping Hands for Education is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who believe that we can make a real difference to the lives of children by giving them better educational opportunities.
I was born in the city of Ogbomosho in Western Nigeria where I completed my primary and secondary education but I have lived abroad for more than forty years. Having brought up two children of my own and watched them flourish under the UK educational system, I have come to recognise just how fortunate they were in having access to modern classrooms, up-to-date textbooks, well-equipped laboratories, state-of-the-art whiteboards, computer suites, libraries, sports facilities and more during their schooling.
The story in my home city could not be in greater contrast, as I saw on a recent visit. The students have a real thirst for learning and the staff are incredibly dedicated to delivering a solid education, but they are terribly hampered by a lack of adequate buildings, classroom furniture, textbooks, science equipment and other basic resources to make their efforts effective.
I took it upon myself that when I returned to Britain I should actively campaign on their behalf to lend them a helping hand. For I believe that education is the passport for them to access a first world education while remaining in Nigeria. I immediately contacted some UK schools and was impressed with the response I received. To date, I have personally gathered and shipped over 20,000 donated textbooks, old still-usable science equipment that schools were replacing, as well as books to establish a library. But it became clear to me that my personal efforts were but a drop in the ocean of need.
For this reason, I established the charity Helping Hands for Education. My wife and other trustees came together to support my humble efforts, initially with the idea of targetting the schools in Ogbomosho, though hopefully expanding further afield in the long term. I have already identified a plot of land where we hope to create an educational centre, public library and distribution hub for the school resources we gather. We just need money now to get it off the ground.
And that is why I appeal to you for your help. Will you join us in enriching the educational opportunities for children in Nigeria? Will you help us to equip their classrooms and enable them to maximize their potential? Will you help us to leave an enduring legacy from which generations to come will benefit? For whatever support you can lend, large or small, I thank you on behalf of the children of Ogbomosho.
When my husband Imran returned from a visit to his home city of Ogbomosho in Western Nigeria, I was deeply moved by some of the photographs he brought back that demonstrated the acute need for educational resources in the local schools there.
One of the pictures in particular touched me deeply. It was of a group of teenagers, mainly girls, sitting or kneeling on the hard concrete floor of a classroom, trying to take down lesson notes as best they could. Imran explained that the limited number of rickety tables and chairs available were reserved for those children who could afford to pay for their use. Those too poor to hire the furniture had to make do with the floor, though I noticed that one enterprising girl had been fortunate enough to find an old rubber tyre on which to sit.
Nowhere in any of the photos did I see a single textbook in any child’s hands. Teachers had to make do with chalking their lesson notes onto decrepit blackboards for the students to copy down. Yet I was impressed by just how advanced the level of teaching is. The message these images drove home to me was how keen the students are to learn, but just how hampered the teachers are in trying to deliver a modern education without even the most basic of resources.
Imran and I immediately put our heads together to see how we could try to remedy this situation. We began contacting local UK schools to see if they had old textbooks and science equipment they no longer had a use for and we set about collecting and shipping these to Ogbomosho at our own expense. From such small beginnings, Helping Hands for Education was born.
I am happy to lend my support to this long-term charitable project and hope that I will see it expand not only to meet the needs of all schools in Ogbomosho, but further afield as well. There are so many children in need of our help to give them a great start in life. I hope you’ll contribute to our efforts to support them in whatever way you are able. Thank you.
Having lived in Nigeria as a child, I am very aware of the stark contrast there between those who have and those who have not. Nigeria is a beautiful and amazing country, but not without its challenges. I recall the privileged environment in which I studied while there – classrooms held over 30 children and there were four or more classes in a year – almost 100 students. And that was a better off, fee-paying school. I also recall beginning my secondary school education in the UK and being almost 3 years ahead of my peers in terms of my level of education.
That disparity, between the dire need for resources and the thirst for knowledge, is what I seek to affect. Helping Hands for Education will solve the problem in a truly innovative way, benefitting communities for generations rather than individuals and opening doors to higher education and better jobs for so many deserving people. I look forward to being a part of this special team, both in Nigeria and other places around the world as Helping Hands for Education grows and delivers.
When I was growing up, my father, Dr. Imran Alawiye – the Chairman of Helping Hands for Education – helped me to appreciate how fortunate I was to have had the opportunity to attend well-resourced schools here in the UK that gave me the chance to excel academically. He brought home to me the responsibilities that come with privilege, especially to help those who have not been given the same life chances. I was fortunate enough to be born into a society that can provide education at a high standard for all – and this is something that is easy to take for granted. Now that I have qualified as a doctor, I am determined to play my part in giving back to society, not just in my capacity as a medic, but also through supporting children’s education. Helping Hands for Education is an amazing charity that provides an opportunity to build something from scratch; the resources it will provide will help generations to come in a community that is severely under-resourced. The great thing about the project is how easy it is to visualise the benefits it will bring through its clear aims and objectives and following its journey is sure to be both inspirational and rewarding. Education should be a right, not a commodity – and I'm very proud to be part of something that's working towards making that happen!
I first came to know Dr. Imran Alawiye in his capacity as an Arabic teacher when I attended a course of adult evening classes in West London that he was running. Over time, we became good friends and I began to take an interest in the charitable work he was doing and wanted to get involved. I was particularly moved by the photographs he brought back from Ogbomosho schools in 2012 (please see our gallery page) and share his desire to address the needs of schools there in a proactive practical manner. Together with his wife and other willing volunteers, we set up the Helping Hands for Education charity as a vehicle to give the gift of better educational opportunities to youngsters in his home town.
Many of our friends and associates work in the field of education here in the UK and are delighted to donate books and equipment to Helping Hands for Education that are surplus to their schools’ requirements, thereby enabling them not only to fulfil their corporate social responsibility, but also to put those resources to good use rather than seeing them consigned to landfill. I am delighted to be able to offer my skills and support to this great cause and I invite others to join hands with us in achieving our goals. I ask Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty, to bless all our endeavours and to help us to help others.
Having worked in the corporate sector, I joined the non-profit sector six years ago and I am currently running the UK division of an educational charity. I am very passionate about education and have also volunteered at a supplementary school teaching English on Saturdays for the past five years. I have been motivated towards Helping Hands for Education because I believe in the power of education to improve people’s lives and that every child deserves the chance to learn.