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Five years ago, I met a little girl paddling a canoe across her community, selling smoked fish for her mother, she was 8 years old and had never been to school, nor stepped into a classroom. Sharon was smart but couldn't communicate with us and so we reached out to her parents to support her education. Today she's 13 years old, topping her class in Junior secondary school and has equally volunteered to ensure that dozens of other children within her community are enrolled in school. This has been the story of many other children like Sharon.

It has really been inspiring to see our impact grow with the enrollment of more children into schools, the establishment of new learning centers and implementation of more developmental projects across new states and communities.

These impacts have been achieved because of individuals and organizations that have shown that there is unity in purpose and that irrespective of our different cultures, religions or even nationalities we can work together towards a greater cause. And rather than just complain and criticize we can collaborate and contribute.

Last November our Volunteers launched an awareness campaign on the importance of volunteerism and in less than two weeks we had over three thousand applications from fifty-six countries across the world.

For me this shows that everyone and every organization at every stage in life can make a difference and are willing to do so if the opportunity is provided.

As individuals across developing nations our role in the development of our society has never been more urgent and important.

Education we know lights up every stage of the journey to a better life especially for the poor and most vulnerable in the society and while we are working hard to ensure that millions of out-of-school children are enrolled into schools we also need to realize that millions of children in schools are not learning.

As an organization, we believe that everyone has a critical role to play. And everyone includes the government authorities, private corporations, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, international development agencies and socially responsible individuals. We all need to build a strong coalition where we can collaborate more and compete for less.

We can achieve more together when we realize that we are all working together for a common goal. We need to ensure that policies don't end up on shelves but are implemented and evaluated.

We need to keep emphasizing the importance of making education top priority and ensuring that we continuously upgrade our schools, train and motivate our teachers and encourage our children to believe in the power of education.

Our children should not have to spend years memorizing millions of texts just to pass examinations and then they happily forget it because it is no longer needed in the real world.

Our school systems need to be remodeled. Emphasis should be placed on competencies rather than certificates, skills rather than degrees and education rather than schooling.

Our schools should teach children that they study to make a difference in the world and not just to pass exams. Schools should be a place where children can discover what lights up a spark in their hearts and sets their soul on fire.

They should discover that they can make a difference right now and be able to start immediately. They should leave school excited at what they can do and not helpless because of what they can't do.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing."

If we need to reduce unemployment, create jobs, boost our economy and compete globally we should begin by rethinking the education we give our children and ensure that no child is left behind.

To achieve this, it will be our pleasure to collaborate with you, believing that together we will transform our society.

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The Education Hub, Left Wing, City Hall, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, Nigeria

0700-Slum2School

+234-08142828750

[email protected]

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