The desire to launch The Hope and Dreams Initiative started while visiting Nigeria, my then six year old daughter, an avid reader, requested that I take her to a children's library, as it is tradition in my household to go to the library every Saturday.
When I told her that it wasn’t possible, there is no children’s library around, she said, 'Mummy why don’t you gather your friends together and raise money and build one for the children of this community and I will invite Michelle Obama to come.' At that moment I was moved by my child’s idea and dreams to do something.
Since 2011, Hope and Dreams Initiative have created 9 WASH reading rooms in 9 different schools in Delta State and Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Every room is filled with fiction and nonfiction books, books on washing, posters on hand washing and hygiene, a hand washing station in front of the reading room. We have also helped to give about 150 young girls, 5 days back during their menstruation, by ensuring access to sanitary pads and thereby keeping them in school. They are reading and learning the importance of hygiene during and after menstruation. Girls, in the long run are fulfilling their life purpose, which is getting an education.
Nigeria is the third country on the list of countries with the highest level of illiteracy and with the poorest sanitation in schools. Our goal is to change that concept and give young girls and youth the opportunity they deserve in life which is access to basic human rights. Schools in Nigeria do not have adequate sanitary facilities, no water, no power and at times students and especially girls are forced to stay home during their period.
Hope and Dreams Initiative is taking one child, one school, one community at a time and will continue its hard work until no girl or child misses school again because of lack of access to sanitary products, and until every school in every community has a WASH reading room and every child is reading and writing.