By Kehinde Lawal
Rotarians put smiles on the faces of the poor at this year's District Educational and Welfare Endowment Fund (DEWEF) scholarship awards. 25 indigent undergraduates, drawn from Lagos and Ogun states, smiled home with N100,000 worth of scholarship that would run throughout their undergraduate programme, courtesy of Rotary, District 9110, Nigeria.
Chairman, District Educational and Welfare Endowment Fund (DEWEF) of the Rotary International, District 9110 (comprising Lagos and Ogun states), Mr. Adeniji Raji in his address said the number of annual scholarship awards increased from four in 2009 to 18 in 2017, while noting that this year number of scholarship recipients has reached all-time high of 25, adding that the years to come, the association are planning to extend their focus to post-secondary school vocational training in collaboration with the states ministry of Education.
Presenting the award at a colourful ceremony, held recently at the Rotary Centre, Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA, Ikeja, the Chairman, DEWEF, Mr. Adeniji Raji, said investment in people's lives yields the greatest interest.
He said the scholarship was meant for brilliant but indigent students, who are into undergraduate programmes within Lagos and Ogun states. According to him, only those in 200 level or 300 level in any of the state or federal government universities, College of Education or Polytechnic are qualified to apply for sponsorship which would cover their courses of study, ranging from three to five years.
Adeniji said the association has sustained the scholarship, since the first set was awarded in 2009. He noted that 10 students that benefitted from the scholarship had graduated, with some of them finishing in First Class Division. Also, 13 existing students that won the award in past years had their offer renewed.
According to him, the Board of Trustees of the association would soon increase the slot above the current slot annually while pleading for more organisation supports.
He hinged the inability of the government to give educational attentions to Nigerians at all levels is one the reason for the nation's underdevelopment.
He said: "We believe there is a great need to supplement skills and knowledge. Unemployment is on the increase every year. We must provide Vocational Skill Training, Internship Opportunities, Mentorship, and Access to latest Equipment, knowledge, and provision to start-up capital for our youth. We therefore believe that vocational education is the bedrock of industrial developments."
Also speaking at the occasion, the District Governor, Rotary International, District 9110, Mr. Adewale Ogunbanjo, said Rotary International has remained the only organisation that awards the greatest number of scholarship in different categories in the world.
He added that community empowerment development of the youth in the country needs a full attention, while stating that club has been at the forefront of this effort.
According to him: "The youth is our future, without helping them by financing them in school through scholarship, many of them will drop out of school, indulge into crime and lose their core value of life which will be a loss to the country, and the moment we are empowering them, we are empowering our economy and the future."
Ogunbanjo also believe the support of other organisations and governing body of the country in helping the youth to achieve their potential and given a full attention with financial support and Vocational Empowerment will brought the needed development and growth to the country.
"The youth will be the one to direct our future affairs, and what are doing is to impact the right moral value into them and make them have a better future," he said.
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