A moment of joy in Rigasa community, one of the largest and most populated communities in Kaduna State, a state in northwestern Nigeria, as a woman, Malama Fatima Adam Ismail, settled to eradicate illiteracy and dependency by empowering women, the children of the less privileged, orphans, and the abandoned with education and skills to earn a living.
Her challenge to change the narrative of reducing the number of out-of-school children is rightly coming, since the United Nations’ 2022 figures of global out-of-school children indicate that about 20 million Nigerian children are out of school, which also explains the sorry figure that one out of every 10—12 out-of-school children is a Nigerian.
Although the Nigerian government—both the state and the federation—have set a target to improve the enrollment status of children in schools by building a mechanism to combat the menace of out-of-school children in the country,
However, Daily Episode understands governments alone cannot succeed in eradicating the menace, as community efforts, non-governmental organizations, and individuals like Fatima can fully give every child hope for a better life with education, which will help to achieve the results of children’s enrollment in schools while also eradicating children’s recruitment in many criminal enterprises.
In her efforts, about sixty-seven children, mostly orphans, with a small number from disadvantaged families, are enrolled in schools, from primary to secondary, including Islamic education.
She has become an icon in the community, where people run to when in need of their basics, from food to shelters to education or entrepreneurial skills most times.
Malama Fatima’s submission
The circumstances I see among disadvantaged children, orphans, and abandoned street children who accumulated the rising number of out-of-school children in the northern part of Nigeria prompted me to initiate the “Zam Zam Foundation,” which gave birth to the “Adam Bin Mahmud Academy,” a school for the orphans and the less fortunate children, Malama Fatima Adam Ismail revealed to the Daily Episode.
Education has suffered a setback in recent years, from quality to accessibility. Most children, especially the girl child, were significantly employed as house help, sales girls, or married at an early age without prioritising their education.
However, educating a girl child should be a priority, for they are the mothers of tomorrow who train children to become either good or bad in society, so educating them with Islamic education and western education and skills is very necessary for this generation.
The male child also faces the most dangerous circumstances; many of them were sent to the Almajiri system of education, which is limiting their opportunities and exposed them to many dangers a child shouldn’t experience at an early age.
Some parents don’t want to be responsible; for this reason, they send their children to Almajiri School. Although many children were sent to Almajiri after they had lost their father or mother, she continued
Women rarely had the opportunity to study western education in our day; I didn’t have the opportunity because of our parents’ disapproval, but we are privileged to study the Qur’an and the entire Islamic education, which I still teach today, and I write letters in both Arabic and Ajami, which is in Hausa.
These are part of the reason why I see the need to invest in transforming lives, especially for the upcoming generation. “Today we are celebrating this Adam Bin Mahmud Academy, which I named after my late father, may Allah forgive him,” she said.
We started like a joke, but today several children, “our students,” recited the Quran and spoke English while demonstrating both the western and Islamic knowledge they had obtained through my initiative.
These indeed make me happy, and I believe not only me but everyone present on this occasion is also happy.
I don’t have more words than to thank the almighty Allah, the people who recognised my good effort when they donated this building for academic activities, and the parents who send their children here despite the difficulties of life. “May Allah bless our efforts,” she said while celebrating the first anniversary of “Adam Bin Mahmud Academy.”
After her remark, Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, preached on the importance of education and why every parent should enrol his child in both Islamic and western education.
According to him, the best gift a man will get in this world is education, so Fatima’s efforts should never be underrated.
During his remark, the cleric also calls on the government’s attention to be focused on prioritising education, which is the best key to fighting insecurity and many crimes in society. He said.