By Andy Esiet, Calabar
About 300 street urchins otherwise known as “Skolombo boys” and other underprivileged Children in Cross River State are to benefit from Rochas Foundation free education programme in Cross River state.
The Rocha’s Foundation founded by former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rocha’s Okorocha with a mission to provide education for Nigerian and African children launched the free education programme tagged, “Mentors’ Interactive Cocktail” yesterday at the Transcop Hotel, Calabar.
The total package will includeat least one meal a day, free uniforms and free books for the benefiting children.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Chief of staff to the President of Rocha’s Foundation, Uloma Uche Nwosu said the Foundation has for the past 24 years since 1998 when it was established, focused on educational development of a child and they have built a school in Calabar that will commence by January 2022.
She said, “here in Cross River, the Rocha’s Foundation has come to Cross River state, we are opening in January. The Rocha’s Foundation has about 11 Colleges across Nigeria. This is our first school in the South -South and the very first in Cross River State.
“Cross River is the twelfth school we are establishing in the country, we chose cross river because through our research, we discovered that there are a lot of out of school children in the state that is why we are starting here. We are starting the school with 300 children most of those number will be the street urchins fondly called “Skolombo boys” in Calabar.”
Nwosu stated that the idea behind the initiative of introducing Mentors who are expected to be partners who can help identify the urchins and bring them to the foundation.
“The mentors will fill form, identify the underprivileged child, bring them for admission and after admission a mentor is expected to keep track and be checking of the child’ progress. A mentor is supposedly well placed in the society and is expected to encourage the employment of graduates of the Rochas Foundation. We have trained over 25,000 children in the foundation, and have over 7, 000 graduates from the Foundation who are medical doctors, engineers, Lawyers” and others.
The Director of Schools of Rochas Foundation, Dr. Caro Ochemba appealed to mentors to ensure that the child gets the opportunity given by the Foundation.She revealed that the Teachers to be employed in the school in Calabar are expected to be those who have passion for teaching and for care giving.
She said that 700 applicants are currently seeking to be employed by the foundation as teachers. “Across our schools, we have 7,000 children currently and caring for 7,000 children at a go is huge, so we are concentrating on academics for now other thing like skills acquisition will come subsequently as we expand”