A girl’s night out – The Nation

  • Pupil found scholarship for doing homework at, ATM gallery

\Fathia Dele Rasheed exemplifies how good Nigeria can be. The story began with a perennial Nigeria nightmare: power outage. The seven-year-old is a primary one pupil at a private school, Hope Glory Academy, in Ondo City, Ondo State.

It was late at home, and Rasheed had an assignment that she had to submit the next day at school.

She would not be a lazy student who would rather sleep and receive punishment at school. Even at that, she would not make-do with the torchlight from her grandmother’s cell phone.

Kerosene lamp had exhausted and she relied on her imagination. Next door was an ATM gallery that belonged to a well-known bank, the First City Merchant Bank.

It was an oasis, she thought, and she insisted, against her grandmother’s wishes, on going there to read and perform her assignment. According to her grandmother, it was her third time.

Was she not afraid, a little girl alone in an age of rape, assaults and kidnapping? She said no. Her grandmother felt helpless and gave her fate to the hands of the Almighty.

But a man spotted her and took her name. He tweeted her nightly act with her photo: “I saw this little Dele at FCMB Bank along Yaba Road in Ondo City.

She is using the ATM Gallery light to do her homework. My respect goes to her determination to make it in life. Let it go viral. #Deledetermination.”

The bank officials picked up the tweet, and responded: “We are inspired by Dele’s determination to study.

It’s great our ATM Gallery could light her books for the evening, but we would love to do more to support it. Can you please help us find Dele? Please RT until it gets to someone who knows her.

Once Rasheed was located, the bank announced a cash gift of one million and, more importantly, a full scholarship up to the university level.

“We are pleased to announce the award of a full scholarship to Dele, the 7-year-old school girl who was recently spotted using lights from the ATM Gallery at our branch in Ondo City to do her homework.”

In an age of a girl-child deprived of education, Rasheed is a story of Nigeria’s future. It shows how a little girl could work without parental prompting to pursue her educational dream.

Her parents are poor, so is her grandmother. Her parents live in Lagos and left her with her grandmother, partly because she wants to leave with her.

But unlike the classic excuse of poverty for dropouts, she is an example of how determination trumps circumstances. But hers is a reminder of our underdevelopment.

If we had regular power supply, she might not need to use a kerosene lamp that ran out of supply, and the benevolence of FCMB would have been unnecessary.

It shows that there are many Dele Rasheeds  who do not have the power supply to do their homeworks.

And how many can look over from their homes and see an ATM gallery? And how many would have her latitude from her parents to go over and spend a long hour to do an assignment in these turbulent times? And how many would even exercise the will to leave their cosy homes outside to do an assignment?

The story has it too that the MTN has promised to install solar panels at their home to supply them with power, and another solar company is follow suit.

A bank account opened for her has drawn substantial count running over N140,000 Naira at press time.

It also tells the power of social media, beginning with a generous tweet from Bada Maruf Matthew and ending with a bank that chose to care.

We hope the story goes on until Rasheed fulfills her dream, which for now, is to be a nurse.

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