We made out time to interview the founder Khan Foundation that is empowering young children and giving them an opportunity at a good education in the rural and slum areas of Lagos state. After asking some questions, Mr. Awhinahi Joseph gave us an interesting expose on his initiative at contributing his quota in nation building without waiting for the government. You can read below.
- Can we meet you, Mr. Tega and know who and what you are?
Hi, My name is Tega, I’m a development project manager. I like to sometimes call myself an architect in diaspora because I’m not so much into architectural practice.
- Tell us what the name and vision of your work is.
I am the founder of an organization called Khan Foundation. Khan foundation is an education-focused humanitarian organization whose mission is to Inspire and ignite hope by embarking on actionable initiatives to propel us towards a more sustainable future in Nigeria.
I believe so much in the power of education. I believe that education is the pathway to sustainable development in developing countries, hence, our projects are mostly education centered.
At the beginning of January 2018, we started Khan Foundation Junior Academy, a foundation and early childhood development center in the underprivileged Makoko community in Lagos State that offers basic education to children in the community for free. This is a crowd-funded and volunteer-driven initiative. We were given a venue to host the school free of charge, we laid carpets on the floor, installed a solar system to power the school and put a 32 inch LED television to air educational programs for the kids daily. Thus far, it has been a success. We have over 120 students in attendance daily and the number keeps going up.
- Why did you decide to embark on this?
I got tired of waiting for the government. Everyone seemed to think the government was responsible for the predicaments of the country, but I decided to think differently. I decided to take on the burden of doing my little bit to see Nigeria become a better country. My inspiring scripture for what I do is Isaiah 63:5 where it says “I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me”.
- Was studying architecture an influential factor?
Well!!! I would say yes and also no. Yes because it equipped me with tenacity and the ability to think critically about problems. No, because I believe that I’m a hybrid, I’m a product of multiple influences that supersede my architectural experience. I consider being a Covenant University Alumni one of my greatest asset in the race of my life because it availed me a quality education and most importantly, a mind transformation. However, I have had several expository experiences and met several wonderful people who have influenced me beyond the profession I was trained for.
- What major successes been attained (with numbers if possible)?
Lol… I usually don’t like to talk about what I’ve achieved because I want to do more. However, I can talk about what I want to achieve. By December, we want to renovate and expand our current facility so it can accommodate more children and also provide basic amenities for them such as playgrounds etc
- How do you go about funding?
Crowdfunding! Social media has been the most potent platform we have used to source for funds.
- Have you had any major partnerships with the government, civil societies, businesses, organizations; local or international?
Our organization is a volunteer-driven organization. We haven’t received any major organization or government support, but a lot of individuals and SMEs have been very helpful. Honestly, I’m not interested in having the government be a part of it. I want to discourage people from blaming societal problems on the government. I want to set a standard. I want individuals to begin to accept responsibility for nation-building. I always tell people that if you’re not doing anything to change Nigeria, you have no right to complain about how the country is going.
- Do you do this full-time as a job/work or you have something else you do?
Oh no!!! I’m a multipotentialite. I have done and currently do several things. For example, I still occasionally practice architecture, but I’m mostly a project management consultant. I have actively been involved in training individuals and organizations on several human and career development courses. I have several certifications that qualify me to play several roles in several organizations.
- What is the big picture and scope of this initiative?
I want to take free pre-schooling to these kids in their communities. I want them to have access to foundational education before they go on to attend primary school. I want to have several of these schools in different locations so that we can reach them and teach them.
- What challenges do you face?
Lol… Economists say that resources are scarce. I quite agree with them to an extent. Sometimes financial donations are slow and other times when financial donations aren’t the problem, human capital becomes scarce. Also, we face a lot of risks. The environment we do our work in is very unhealthy. Sometimes, we have to deal with youth violence and extortion, but the challenges have become what makes the job fun for me.
I have permission to use several locations for school in various slums in Lagos, but funds are limited. I don’t want to take on what I can’t handle. However, if I have access to more funds and more committed and equally passionate human resources I can do more.
- How can people support you in this initiative?
I’d occasionally love for people to come and actually volunteer to teach these kids. It’s not always about the money. Come and interact with them. Let them create a vision for who they want to be in the future by looking at who you are. We take on interns and corpers. I’d love for people to make monthly financial commitments towards this initiative. The children are learning. By June, we’d send the first batch of students off to primary school.
To show your support for this wonderful initiative that seeks to preserve the future or posterity, you can reach them on firstname.lastname@example.org, 07032518522. IG handle: @khanfoundationng[amazon_link asins=’B075GQG4NJ,B0063XL2AA,B01G0Q77LC,0847838005,B019EDCSDA,B00VLBFWRS’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’eurekastore92-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f56938f9-1ad5-11e8-97c4-6f2f210efa96′]