By Ogar Monday
The immediate past Cross River State Head of Service, Dr. Mary-Theresa Ikwen has launched a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) “Dugeri Girls Development Foundation” as a means of supporting girl child education.
The NGO launch was part of activities marking her 60th birthday where she revealed that “I hawked moi moi, garri and Akara to pay my way through primary school. I discontinued my primary education at class three and later continued at Central Primary School Sankwalla in Obanlikwu LGA. My father had no job, I recall the hard times, as my mother and I hawked moi moi, garri and Akara to raise my fees.”
The one-time caretaker of Obanlikwu Local Government said to create opportunities for girls who are in position of need is the rationale behind Dugeri Girls Development Foundation.
“The education foundation is a pet project strategically structured and founded by me as a measure of giving back to the society. It is my humble way of reaching out to those vulnerable and indigent girls from the nooks and crannies of our State, to assist them attain their potentials.” She concluded.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ekanem Braide, while speaking said it was a thing of joy that the celebrant had gone beyond the normal elaborate celebration of birthdays to start a journey which will impact positively on many lives.
Prof. Braide who is the Pro-Chancellor, Arthur Javis University in Akpabuyo added that “If others emulate the celebrant in such a situation, there will be no street children, no street beggars, and of course crime rates will go down.”
On his part, a former Senatorial Aspirants from Cross River North Senatorial District, Dr. Julius Okputu, while speaking as the Guest Lecturer at the NGO launch, advised the Federal Government to plough back 50% of recovered looted funds into the education sector.
Dr. Okpotu maintained that doing so will help kick start the revitalizing of the education sector and put a permanent halt to the many challenges bedevilling our tertiary institutions.
Okpotu also recommends, “The extension of the whistle blowing policy to higher institutions to tackle moral degeneracy and protect our flowering assets. Teacher corruption and misconduct over scores and sexual intimidation that have caused parents and guardians migraine will be completely eliminated. It is important to restore the role of our teachers who stand in loco parentis to us.
“A curriculum overhaul be carried out especially in universities with a clear focus on value re-orientation and skills, technological development relevant to the advancement of qualitative wellbeing. Restore the place of research and development in our universities with focal emphasis on generating Africa- centered solutions to our common problems.”
High point of the occasion was the cutting of her birthday cake.