February, 2019 – Third Canoe School Bus

Achievements

A decision was made to embark on a third canoe school bus.  The background for this determination is as follows.

The Makoko Dream (TMD) started with adopting a school on water, The Makoko Dream School 1 (The Makoko Dream Assembly of Royalty). At that time, it was recognized that children were not in school and those who came to school, were always late.

In Makoko Waterside, everything happens on the water. School, work, religious activities, funfair, etc. So, not having a personal canoe can be frustrating, because you will have to depend on taxi-canoes, which do not have a fixed time of movement. Also, one canoe is not even enough for a family. The father will most likely take the canoe to fish in the middle of the sea, and if another canoe is obtained to make it two, the mother will need it to sell her items as a local vendor on water. For a family to be self-sufficient, it needs at least three canoes. One for father, one for mother and another one for children. This makes it almost impossible for children in families with just one canoe to come to school early.

Also, getting three or four canoes also comes with a problem of where to park the canoes. So, most people just get one canoe and leave the rest to the taxi-canoes. It is quite expensive to use a taxi-canoe, and the availability when you need it is also another problem. Even with illiteracy on the rise, parents would hardly think of getting the children to school with the only family canoe available. This means that more children were missing school due to non-availability of the family canoe and the high expenses of taxi canoes.

So, for School 1, there was a need. At that time, the enrollment was 105 and many children missed school. The first school bus canoe was done on January 31st, 2017 and by March, the number of children attending school had risen to 140-150.  By April 2018, a second canoe was obtained, courtesy of Alpha Team of Union Bank, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. By September 2017, attendance rose to almost 200 children. Another school was started, this time on land, but with the focus of serving children on both land and water. In the second school (The Makoko Dream Kingdom Royalty Academy), there are almost 245 children; approximately 70-90 of them are on the water, and from a far distance as well.

The sad reality is that unlike land, where you can trek or take a stroll to school in the absence of a bus, on the water you can’t swim to school daily (even if the water was not black water).

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