On November 4, 2018, United States Ambassador W. Stuart Symington visited the Makoko community in Lagos. There he met with the Director of Slum2School Africa Mr. Otto Orondaam, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow.
Slum2School Africa is a volunteer-driven NGO that provides instructional materials, health and psychosocial support for dozens of Makoko schoolkids.
Ambassador Symington engaged the children involved in Slum2School and inquired about their career aspirations. He further emphasized the benefits of education, acquiring vocational skills, and volunteerism.
“You are not just learning for yourself; you are learning for all of us. One of you will discover a cure for a disease. Another person will find a way to encourage farmers and herders to live in peace,” he remarked during his interactive session with the school kids.
He also met with Makoko’s community leaders, followed by a guided tour of the neighborhood by canoe. Makoko is an impoverished area along the Lagos lagoon where houses, shops, and churches sit atop stilts above the water. Traditionally, the principal source of work is fishing or connected to fishing. Slum2School Africa is helping to offer a different future for the community’s children.
Explaining his purpose of visiting the Makoko community, Ambassador Symington said, “This is a pretty good time – when people are talking about politics – to think about people and the future of youths in Nigeria. I wanted to underscore not just the importance of education, but I wanted to underscore the importance of the kinds of skills people are learning.”