Oando Foundation (OF), an independent charity with a mission to create conducive learning environments in dilapidated public primary schools in Nigeria, partnered with Fashion Vie New York to raise funds towards the education of the Nigerian ‘girl child’on Thursday, 14 September, 2017. The Foundation was selected as the first beneficiary from Africa to receive proceeds fromThe Dream: Fall 2017 Benefit Fashion Show and Silent Auction where it successfully raised N43,800,000 for the girl child education.

Through its Adopt a School Initiative, Oando Foundation has steadily provided access to improved quality education in Nigeria, with a focus on girls in the Northern region. The Foundation’s holistic programmes have increased the number of young girls enrolling in its adopted schools through the provision of hygiene and sanitary facilities in schools, scholarships to deserving females to transit to secondary school, mentorship programmes, training of female teachers, and partnerships with International Development Organisations.

With over 6.3 million out-of-school girls in Nigeria, Oando Foundation’s commitment is reinforced in the words of Angelique Kidjo, “Everyone wins when children — and especially girls – have access to education. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential and prepare herself for a productive and fulfilling life, as well as reduce poverty in the whole community. Investing in girls’ education also helps delay early marriage and parenthood. Our booming economies in Africa need more female engineers, teachers and doctors to prosper and sustain growth.”

Fashion Vie an annual charity fashion show which runs alongside New York Fashion Week is inspired by the life of its organiser, International Fashion Designer and founder, Chuks Collins whose career began in Nigeria. The event which took place at the famous Angel Orensanz, hosted by Claudia Jordan, actress, model, TV and radio personality. The organization utilizes the creative industry to support social justice and worldwide human right issues, by gathering audiences for a contemporary experience of fashion and art, while highlighting the incredible work of local, national, and international non-profits.

Speaking at the event, Adekanla Adegoke, Head, Oando Foundation said; “The partnership with Fashion Vie comes at a critical time when Oando Foundation is scaling up its Girl Child intervention under the Adopt-A-School Initiative. The funds raised will directly support the educational and social needs of girls in our adopted schools, providing them opportunities for a better future.”

The theme for this year’s event, ‘Girl Child Education,’ is a cause close to both partners. The Foundation will use proceeds from the event to further improve access to and provide quality primary education in its adopted schools. It plans to focus on access to education, provision of potable water and sanitation in public primary schools, information and communication technology (ICT) education, scholarships, and safe spaces for girls.

Oando Foundation has successfully adopted 80 public primary schools across 23 states in Nigeria, renovated 30 of these under the infrastructure development component; established 17 ICT centres and 3 Early Child Care Development Education (ECCDE) centres. In addition, the Foundation has donated over 5,000 books and learning materials across intervention communities. The Foundation has successfully supported community involvement by strengthening the capacity of over 300 School Based Management Committee (SBMC) members, awarded scholarships to 907 pupils and facilitated training of 1,700 teachers. 60,000 students now have access to improved learning environments including improved sanitary facilities through the direct intervention of Oando Foundation.

Speaking at the event, Mr Chuks said “This year, Fashion Vie has chosen to return to Nigeria, where my story began. We are inspired by the important work of the Oando Foundation, providing interventions for marginalized Out-Of-School-Children and those unable to cry out for the justice of accessible education in Nigeria.”