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SPEAKING ON THE NEWLY BUILT FARM SETTLEMENT PRIMARY SCHOOL, MR ADEWALE ADEOYE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF JODER.

Speaking on the newly built Farm settlement primary school, Mr Adewale Adeoye, Executive Director of JODER said the building of the school was conceived by Ford Foundation under the Good Neighborliness Project. He said a Ford staff that lives in Ikorodu, Mrs Yemisi Akin Adeniyi had identified the school’s poor conditions after which she informed Ford Foundation. Adeoye said JODER’s role was a mere “footnote” adding that the whole credit should go to Ford Foundation and its affectionate staff. “JODER is grateful that FORD contacted us to oversee the building. The whole credit goes to Ford Foundation and her amazing staff.”

Poor Odogunyan community erupted in excitement yesterday as locals and dignitaries watch the opening of six classrooms and toilets at the Farm Settlement Primary School located in rural suburb of Lagos. The world standard classrooms, equipped with modern furniture, borehole and toilets were conceived and built by the Ford Foundation under the group’s Good Neighborliness project.

The project also included the building of an extensive fence on the two acre vast land on which the school was built.  The school has a population of 1000 pupils, from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and by far the largest public primary school in the area. The pupils are from poor and vulnerable homes.
The primary was first built in 1978 specifically for wards of poor and rural parents who could hardly afford the benefit of modern primary schools. Even then, the learning conditions dwindled under the weight of years of authority neglect compounded later by dwindling fortunes of state resources. The Ford Foundation had asked the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) to supervise the project.
The Secretary to the State Governor, Mr Tunji Bello who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said the growing population of pupils in public schools remains a major challenge to the state government describing the intervention ofFord Foundation as strategic. He said the people of Lagos will never forget the monumental contributions of Ford Foundation for ending the despair of the pupils.
The Representative of Ford Foundation, West Africa, Mr Innocent Chukwuma who spoke at the event said an official of Ford Foundation, Mrs Yemisi Akin Adeniyi identified the school based on the peculiar challenges faced by the pupils. He said the idea is to promote good neighborliness.
Chukwuma said the original concept of public schools was to provide a platform for rich and poor children to mingle so as not to create a generation gap and to broaden understanding among the various classes of children within the social and economic spectrum of the larger society.
He said that  pupils from poor and rich homes hardly have a meeting point which is partly responsible for a string of hate, discord and social inequalities that exist today. The rich children never meet children of the poor. They don’t know their fears and aspirations. The same children of the rich when they grow up end up ruling a society they hardly understand. The head girl of the school, Makanjuola Khadijat said “We are happy. We no longer need to clear faeces of hoodlums. Before now we were ashamed of ourselves and the school, but now we have pride and dignity.” The JODER Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye said the Ford Foundation has left an indelible footprints in the hearts of future leaders and in the host community.
 Until the rebuilding of the historic school, the lack of fence opened gory opportunities for armed gangs and street urchins who have converted the space into a red light district. On one occasion, said Mr Oduwoye, the Ikorodu Local Government LG Secretary, said a sophisticated gun was found at the school, apparently abandoned the day before by suspected armed robbers. The pupils also needed to clear the faeces of intruders who take over the space on weekends and in the dead of the night.
The head teacher of the school Mr Adewale Olukoga said since the school was rebuilt by Ford Foundation, the enthusiasm to enroll in the school has tripled. “People ask us how do we do it. They ask us if we are now a private school. We are very grateful to the Ford Foundation for this great edifice,” an excited Olukoga said amidst pomp, pageantry and sounds of local drums and flute provided by locals.

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HEAD BOY

WORDS CAN’T EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE

– Abdulkabir Oyekan, Senior Boy, Farm Settlement Primary School, Odongunyan, Ikorodu.
What influenced your coming to this school?
I came to this school because the teachers are qualified, disciplined and the quality of education have received so far from my first day at school till date have been impressive. My parents knew the caliber of teachers here and felt they would make impact in my educational career.
How has the journey been so far?
Well, when I started the journey, it wasn’t easy. It was somehow different but due to hard work and dedication of the teachers, have been able to wither the storm till date.
How are you able to overcome the burden and stress accrued to learning?
Right from my tender age, my parents do tell me that it is good to be hardworking and my teachers also sound this to my hearing. These have kept me moving and have been able to overcome numerous obstacles.
When you got admitted into the school, how was the environment like?
Sincerely, the environment wasn’t conducive for learning. When I came into this school, there was no fence, we were not safe and weren’t happy. Especially that building that was reconstructed by Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, and Ford Foundation. When it rains, it’s always terrible. Rain was entering the class because there was no window. The ceiling was also leaking. Hooligans used this place as hideout. These miscreants also defecate in our classrooms and also slept on the food vendors table. We were not protected.
What was the move made by the school authority and the government to safeguard the pupils of the school from these miscreants?
The teachers tried their best including the government to some extent. But the government can’t be everywhere as we are been told by our teachers. Our gratitude goes to JODER and Ford Foundation because they came to rescue us by building six blocks of classroom for us with 200 tables and chairs. The organization also renovated the office of the Head Teacher and other staff. Before now, hooligans have destroyed the windows, doors and other things, but we really appreciate the organization.

How do you feel about this infrastructural development and facelift given to your school by JODER and Ford Foundation as the senior boy of the school?
I feel great. Am really happy because we are secured and we can study peacefully.
This is happening in your tenure as the Head boy, what is it like?
I am delighted, words can’t express our gratitude. If not for them, where are we going to be? Am happy because everyone is grateful including the pupils, teachers and the head teacher. We wish we can reward them. All we want to say is thank you to JODER and Ford Foundation. May God continue to bless them.
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DSC01724

A poem about the school after it was renovated by Taofik Qudus. -Basic 6F

Oh! What a beautiful school
On the plain-side of odogunyan stand a school
That the golden hand of JODER and Ford Foundation has touched
Now Farm Settlement Community Primary School
Is the best school around the town.
Come and see what God’s people had done
You built us fence and gates
You built us six classrooms that shine like stamps and
Desks and benches all around.
Oh! Now we have toilets to answer the call of nature.
We can now eat from the fruit trees
And play around freely,
Without stepping on the hooligans faeces
JODER and Ford Foundation,
May you be successful in life.
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