About 40 years ago, Late High Chief Alicemay Oyinwola Oladapo - our co-founders' Mrs. Tolu Sodimu and Miss Tomi Sodimu's mother and grandmother respectively - started a group of schools in the underserved portions of Lagos state where 95% of the residents are low income earners. Having returned to Lagos from the United States, we were surprised at the low intake of girls in the schools. We both also noticed that most girls in that area were hawking goods or begging on the streets with their mothers in the morning when they should be in school. We both found it very disheartening.
Our second year in Nigeria was the eye-opener that challenged us to make a difference. There was a young girl in our primary school that was very talented in extra-curricular activities like French recitals and Hausa traditional dances. Her name is Nafisat and she is from the Hausa tribe of Nigeria. When she completed her fifth year in primary school, she came to my office and informed me that she was leaving the school and would probably not continue with her education because of finances. I invited her parents and promised to take up her tuition for secondary school. Her parents were so grateful. Nafisat has now graduated from University and is currently serving in the Nigerian Youth Corps for a year.
This made me think about all the other young girls who do not have opportunities like this and are required to do things like hawking goods, getting married at young ages and taking care of their homes and siblings! I also had a lot of women who never had any formal education who wanted to be able to read, write and do basic math. My daughter continuously urged me to let the girls we'd see on the road attend my mother's group of schools, even after I attempted to explain the stigma to her. She would often say "if they can't go to school with everyone else because they have to work, can't we teach them after?" She has always loved school and therefore believed that everyone deserved to go.
This is what gave birth to the ALICEMAY HOPE FOUNDATION for women and female children on February 2, 2009.
We at Alicemay Hope believe that education is a fundamental human right and every child should have access to it. Educating girls and women is critical to our development as individuals, a community, and society.
It paves the way to a productive future and enhances lives while putting an end to generational cycles of poverty and disease. At the Alicemay Hope, we lay foundation for growth, transformation, innovation, opportunity and equality. We work to ensure that every girl and woman regardless of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background or circumstances has access to basic education. This will ensure that they realize their potentials and dreams.