How Ovie Brume Foundation is bridging the literacy gap in Nigeria – Awogbemi


Ovie Brume Foundation was established in 2003 by the family of the late Ovie Brume who was said to be passionate about humanitarian causes. In this interview with, its Executive Director, Mrs Adeola Awogbemi shares some of the achievements of the foundation since inception.

What has so far been the work of the foundation?

Ovie Brume Foundation was set up in 2003 by the family of Ovie after he passed on. Because he had been working with young people when he returned from Harvard, the family just continued what he was doing.

The foundation has done much more towards impacting young people in the society. We have been working with communities to improve literacy, livelihood, health and more. We have been working with women, girls, and kids towards empowering them.

Tell us about the Ovie Brume Foundation Youth Centre

We regularly welcome children to this youth centre here in Lagos. We also have another one in Warri, Delta State. We have our officers there who work with about ten schools over there. We work with about twenty-seven schools mainly on the Island of Lagos.

At the centre, we have lots of programmes for these children. While acknowledging that government is doing its best, there is still need to do more. We are bridging the gap.

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We continue to empower the children. When some of them first came here, they couldn’t even write. We instantly took them through writing, reading, comprehension, and after six months, you can see the difference in improvement. This also extends to those in secondary schools too.

If you come here on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, you would see our primary school pupils. We also have volunteers always here teaching them taking them Literacy (English), and Numeracy (mathematics).

What are the programmes of the OBF?

We have centre-based programmes, and school outreach programmes. There is also the initiative of the foundation called Book-on-Wheels. We are committed to ensuring that the literacy level in Nigeria increases.

Book-on-Wheels is currently going on in five schools in Eti Osa Local Government. With the support of volunteers and some of our staff, we go to the schools weekly to take the students on reading. We have books that had been donated to the libraries of these schools that children read weekly.

We have a scholarship scheme too. That is called Project No Excuses. Every child is deserving to be in school. There are children who after some time, you don’t see them again. We discover that such can’t afford paying for school even where what they’re required to pay is minimal. So, rather than just lump them together with everybody, we decided to create the scholarship scheme for deserving children.

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The scholarship, which started earlier in the year covers four critical areas – health care, clothing, food and education. We have about 21 children registered beneficiaries at the moment. There are also 12 children fully sponsored and enrolled in private boarding schools in Warri. With the support of volunteer donors, we make sure that their families can feed them and have them school.

How much support has the foundation been getting from the corporate world?

We have been working with Lafarge Africa Plc on our national literacy drive over the years. We do intervention in schools across the country. We have competitions at the Senatorial districts, moving to the regional and national stages.

Last year, we got a grant from ACT Foundation on entrepreneurship. We’ve trained a lot of people through this and are hoping to do more.

Last year also, we got a grant from Sage Foundation. Though there is not a lot of money available, we have been creative so that money gets to those who need them. This year, we have trained young people in this foundation on entrepreneurship. We paired 30 of them with mentors – ten boys and twenty girls. Every week, we train them. We have sourced for institutes for them to get trainings and we pay for these.

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Aside these programme-based activities, the centre does not receive grants from anyone at the moment. We organise the annual bazaar to raise money to support children in the centre. We buy them school uniforms, bags, shoes, and more. Also, when the children come here every week, we feed them.

What other areas does the foundation focus on?

This foundation is committed to making young children productive people, as earlier said. We talk about rape, violence and the need to improve themselves.

We have lots of programmes in mind. While we understand that government is doing its best. There is still need to do more.

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