Grace Anuforo’s background really set her up for impacting her community positively through education. She graduated from the University of Ibadan with a bachelor’s degree in physiology. After her mandatory youth service, she was admitted into the same school for a master’s in public health. While waiting to resume her master’s program, she decided to work at her mother’s creche at the time as creche administrator.
She brought her youthful and 21st-century ideas to the job. With the aid of children’s videos that she downloaded on YouTube, she was able to teach creche kids to take note of the letters, numbers, colors and shapes. This was rather than let them just watch cartoons and rhymes alone. In just three weeks, many of the children could recognise numbers 0 to 10 as well as the letters of the English alphabet. She was able to turn a creche where children just watch cartoons and sleep to a fun learning center.
Younger sister inspiration to start German-focused school.
When the kids that she taught had come of school to start pre-school, their parents persuaded her and her mother to start one because they loved what their children had learned. In addition to a master’s program, she also put in for a distance learning postgraduate diploma program in education at the National Teachers’ Institute. She managed to work her way through both programs and the school.
When asked what inspired her to start a school that focuses on teaching German, she narrated that her younger sister studied German at University of Ibadan. The sister came back from Berlin with exciting news about the educational system there. The country offered free education to people who could speak Deutsch. There was also a German language Centre (Goethe Institute) in Lagos where people go to learn the language, then sit for the speaking, reading, listening and writing exams. Anyone who passed the exams was allowed to study for free and work in Germany. “We wanted to provide this opportunity for our pupils and others at a very affordable rate,” she said.
Parents’ evaluation of education is a challenge in the line of work.
That was how they started Bethany Elementary School, an English and German-speaking school. One of the challenges that she faces in this field is having to deal with difficult parents. She said that many parents do not really understand what quality education means. “Many of them just want to rush their children’s education and show off,” she said. She noted that other schools’ giving in to these parents’ whims in order to collect school fees has normalized it. Well, until they see a sharp contrast in behavioral and analytical skills as well as accents and diction in their children.
Another challenge that they encountered, in the beginning, was when they started preschool and did not have a policy on school fee collections. They were just so happy to get many referrals, but that soon strained their resources. “My mum was using her salary to pay the crèche care attendant and the extra teacher who was working with me,” she said. Of about 30 kids who were enrolled, only about five paid on enrollment, she revealed. By the time they moved to their own property, they lost 99 percent their customer base. As well, the site they moved to had terrible roads.
Anuforo has initiated a number of programs in her community.
Before she became a Rotary Peace Fellow, she was a Teaching Fellow of Teach For Nigeria. With the opportunity, she was posted to a public primary school to teach STEM subjects to children in underserved communities. She was about to use her pedagogy expertise to teach girls between 8 and 15 years how to read and write. Since then, she has trained teachers and other teaching fellows who have come on board and, together, they have taught a total of 70 girls how to read. “Our model has helped to keep girls in school, as we have realized that when girls can read, they are encouraged to further their education and have careers,” she said. Another initiative is My Girls Education Scheme. Through her non-profit, she has sponsored the schooling of four girls till the end of their basic education.
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