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The founder of Life Builders Initiative, Mr Olatunji-David and his family have always had a passion for helping the less privileged, especially children. From 2009 till date, they have made modest attempts to alleviate the suffering, bring succour to and support the education of children in underserved communities.
On their first attempt in 2009, they reached out to children in Ona-Osa, a community in Ibeju Lekki Area of Lagos State, where, they provided them with food stuffs, clothing materials and registered two of the most indigent children in a government school.
In 2010, they then again reached out to children in MOPOL 21 Barracks in Ikeja, Lagos state, where, they provided the children with books, school bags and clothing materials that they could gather from family and friends. Three of the children were offered scholarship after an open draw in a program we tagged “Back to School”.
These events were joyfully received by the communities, which they found their response refreshing and encouraging so they repeated the program again and again while improving on the reach, scope and coverage as their finances could support.
“Back to school” was followed up by Christmas parties. Food and clothing materials were solicited, cleaned and handed over to the children and their mothers as well, during festive periods.
This is in line with their belief that no one deserves to be kept out of festivities irrespective of their economic status. On a Saturday in November 2013, Mr Olatunji-David, with his wife, Dr. (Mrs) Folake Olatunji-David went out on evangelism and ventured into “New Kuchingoro”; an unplanned, makeshift rural settlement close to the Games Village in Abuja; a community of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). As they interacted with the IDPs, we noticed the deplorable conditions under which they lived and promised to check back to see how we could be of assistance.
Three days later, on a Tuesday morning at about 9.00am, they returned to the community and observed with grave concern that instead of being in school, many of the school-aged children were roaming the locality. On enquiry from the parents, out of the many reasons given, they identified the following three factors as being primarily responsible for keeping the children out of school; the poor financial condition of the parents, the non-availability of a government school within a five kilometre radius, and the fear of sending little children who are complete strangers in the city to a school 5km away.
As strong advocates for education as the key to destiny recovery and a tool for societal transformation, they were moved with compassion and in response, Mr Olatunji-David mobilized his wife and daughter Ifeoluwa, an Architect and together, they began to spend two hours in turns under the tree with the children, teaching them every day before going to our respective offices. As the news of the classes began to spread, more children came, some literally escaping from their houses to attend. As the number of children increased, additional hands including an interpreter was employed.
The number of children attending classes kept increasing, and soon it became obvious that the children were unable to concentrate because of hunger, so we added a meal a day to what they offered the children. Soon words of this modest efforts went round and more children began to turn up. The greatest encouragement to them, as a family was the excitement exhibited by the children to learn.
And so began the journey of what we call today, Life Builders’ ‘School Without Walls’which currently provides education and a free meal per day to over 500 children growing and glowing to the glory of God.