Born in Badagry 18-years ago, Blessing Ahleun at 5-years-old relocated to Otodo Gbame, which had been her place of abode before the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode, of Lagos State demolished the place two years ago.
For Opeyemi, Otodo Gbame was her new found home that she hope to live for as long as God permit, she said that “I want to live there, I like the friends I made in Otodo Gbame, it’s a lovable community”.
Ahleun, who loved to be educated but was handicapped by funds, said “I had to sell to medicine and cream to support my aunt who was sending me to school. The principal of my school who saw my desire to be educated an our quest to raise funds to get me back to school told me to resume. I wanted to resume in 2017 but that was short-lived due to the forceful eviction that sent all of us parking from that community”.
Ahleun, 19 years, whose parents are still alive, said that my parent live in Oko-Agbon Makoko area of Lagos. Her father, a fisherman who is in 50s was responsible for her education until four years ago when he fell ill.
She attended Itedo Nursery and Primary school and later Top Goodness Basic School in the community.
Opeyemi finished primary school at 13-years said that she could not proceeded because of lack of fund. My aunt struggle to pay #15, 000 out of the #25, 000 and we struggled to get the rest but no to avail. I had to drop out.
My experience when Otodo Gbame was invaded
I went to sell medicine within the community as usual and on my way home I had gun shots, I left the market on the road to meet my aunt at home. We started packing our things like everyone around did. A friend of mine who was packing her things so she could leave and not get burnt was shot dead. We did not sleep in that house that nigh as some of our belongings were burnt in the forceful eviction carried out that year.
I left Otodo Gbame to come and stay with my parents in Makoko to learn tailoring work. Is so sad that I could not continue my education. I drop out at primary six. I wish I could go back to Otodo Gbame as the memory of my stay in that community was pleasant and lovely. Here I have to grapple with the bad water and other environmental challenges.
At the centre
Slum to Classroom Initiatives has given me hope that I think I had lost because I could not further my education. The teacher teaching us is dynamic and often times she show a lot of understanding as she takes us through English and Mathematics. I am learning a lot and the classes are engaging. Education is good and I want to go to school. There may be a temporal setback for me now but I am hopeful and with the opportunities that SCL is given all of us here, we are going places.