THE Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), at the weekend in Ibadan, kicked off its ‘Back to School Programme’ in Oyo state where free bags and books were distributed to indigent students of 42 public schools in Ibadan.
In a remark, the state coordinator of the ZSF, Dr Nofiu Musa, explained that the programme was in furtherance of the mission of the organisation, established 23 years ago, to bring succour to underprivileged members of society.
He said the initiative, targeted mainly at students still at a stage between primary and senior secondary schools, was meant to complement other similar education intervention programmes of the ZSF like the payment of the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) fees of outgoing secondary school students.
According to him, the organisation requires the continuous assistance of philanthropists and other wealthy people in the society to enable it to reach out to more vulnerable groups of Nigerians.
The chairman of the occasion, Professor AbdulWasiu Ajagbe of the University of Ibadan, commended the ZSF for taking the initiative, saying the programme was a vital intervention that should be supported by all and sundry.
He also commended the parents of the beneficiaries for braving the prevailing economic hardship in the country and keeping their children in school.
Alhaja Sherifat Akinlabi-Raji, a retired director from the federal civil service, who gave a pep talk at the event, declared that parents could not afford to take the education of the girl-child with levity because, in the contemporary world, both men and women are exposed to equal opportunity to reach their full potential in education and their chosen careers.
She urged the benefitting students not to give in to peer pressure but to work hard to excel in their studies and become ambassadors for their families, Nigeria and the world.
The state administrative officer of the ZSF, Ustaz Qasim Durojaye, said the programme would be extended to other schools and students soon.
A highlight of the event was an inter-school quiz competition which saw the winners and runners-up presented with gifts.
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