Change is never easy, especially for a teenager from a sheltered life in a Private school to the challenges of being in a Public school. In May 2015, I was in Grade 9 (Junior Secondary School 3), and had just transferred from Prudence Educational Centre a Private school, to State Secondary School Amadi-Ama a public one.
I was beginning to get used to the public school setting as I had never attended one. Classes seemed to be longer and the noise was terrible but I was determined to make it work. I didn’t have or make a lot of friends save for some students that attended the same church as I did. It wasn’t so bad and I could laze away as much as I could. That is, until that day.
Where are my manners? I’m Prince Emmanuel Macdonald and this is #MyKIRFoundationStory.
On the 18th of May 2015, my third week of being in a government school, my form teacher, Mr. Lenner was having a word with the Grade 9A class. He talked to us about various career choices and asked what each of us would like to be. I watched and listened as hands shot up followed by dreams of being doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants and the rest of the supposed ‘high-paying’ jobs. Finally, it was my turn, I told my teacher I wanted to be a Computer Technologist. I didn’t know they were called Computer Technicians.
There was a long pause, followed by murmurings. My form teacher said nothing and asked me to have my seat.
During recess, I started wondering how I was going to become a Computer Technologist, I wasn’t even tech-savvy! A classmate met me as I was lost in my thoughts and asked if I had any knowledge of ICT. I admitted I was illiterate when it came to ICT.
He told me about a Foundation that wasn’t far from our school and asked me to come along.
That was how I discovered Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation.
On my first visit, I was amazed by the number of books I saw in the KIR Foundation Resource Room. I read as many storybooks as I could!
The Front Desk Officer observed that I kept requesting for storybooks and advised me to focus more on my academic books. I took her advice and studied hard for my Junior WAEC examinations. I was so excited when I made 8 A’s and 4 C’s in the exams! I most probably would not have passed my exams if not for the timely advice of the Front Desk Officer.
Subsequently, I enrolled for the Vocational skills projects in the Centre; the Teenage Easter Empowerment Project (TEEP) and the Holiday Empowerment Project (HEP) during the Easter and summer holidays. I learnt various skills like; Web design, Blogging and Sign Language. Furthermore, I became a member of the Thank God It’s Inspiration Friday (TGIIF) Youth Hub where I learnt how to express myself confidently in public and to code.
In 2018 February, I decided to give back to the Foundation by becoming a volunteer Coding teacher. I managed the Coding Club and taught teenagers from public schools; Basic HTML and CSS web development, Construct gaming and Android App Development.
KIR Foundation has changed my life drastically, from the shy introverted teenager to a Life-long learner who is now driven to use to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth in the Niger Delta. Indeed, the Organization has given me opportunities to own my future which would not have been possible with a normal classroom experience.
It’s been 4 years since I first came to KIR Foundation and I really want to appreciate every KIR Foundation donor that has invested in the lives of young persons like me by keeping the doors of the Foundation open. Young people like myself who have various dreams, aspirations and visions in life need a place like KIR Foundation, to express and truly discover themselves. And that’s what your donations have been doing.
Thank you for changing the narrative of youth in our society and inspiring change through learning!