By NBF News

What used to be a primary school in Gwallagan Mayaka community in Bauchi State was a small dillapidated mud structure with no toilet and other necessary facilities for learning and teaching.

Today, it has been replaced with two blocks of classrooms, VIP toilets and school furniture built by a Bauchi-based NGO, Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI). It was with the support of the Japanese Government at the cost of $78, 633 following an MoU, (Memorandum of Understanding) signed on August 21, 2009.

President of FAWOYDI, Hajia Maryam Garba, said: 'During the appraisal conducted in Gwallagan Mayaka community before the inception of the project in 2008, it was revealed that the community had no single standard infrastructure as well as adequate teachers to enhance quality education in the community.

'The pupils were learning on bare floor under tree which resulted into serious education challenges such as low pupils enrolment, attendance and high rate of school drop-out. That was what prompted the educational intervention in this community.'

The headmaster, Abdullahi Idris, said it was difficult for them in terms of getting chairs and that there were no textbooks, no chalks and most materials needed to work were not available.

Idris who had two teachers and 88 pupils then told Daily Sun that before the intervention of FAWOYDI and the Japanese Embassy, the school made efforts to move forward through the Parents Teachers Association (PTA):'During meetings, we usually contributed money to do projects that would assist the school.'

The Village Head, Abdullahi Usman Gwallagan, said: 'It was not easy at all. We want our children to be educated so we made sacrifices here and there. 'We believe that with education, our sons and daughters would become better citizens that would liberate us,' Abubakar, who is blind, said.

During the official commissioning and handing over of the primary school on Tuesday April 22, 2010, pupils, teachers and people of Gwallagan Mayaka were in joyous mood.

The headmaster said: 'We are very happy about this project. In fact, the enrolment has increased to 450 pulpils since this wonderful structure was built. 'Now we have five teachers. Our only request now is for government to fence the school.' The village Head described the project as a gift to treasure: 'We are grateful to God for bringing this school to our community through FAWOYDI. We are very happy that we are witnessing it during the administration of Mallam Isa Yuguda.

'For our children, I want to advise them to use the opportunity well and study hard. Parents should ensure that they enroll their children and encourage them to finish their education.'

Garba said that the project was made possible through the intervention of the Ministry of Water Resources, and SUBEB.

Gwallagan Mayaka community, Garba said, was among the 80 communities in 26 local government areas of Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe states that have benefited from FAWOYDI's activities in collaboration with CIDA, Action aid Nigeria, UNICEF and other partners.

According Garba, the establishment of primary schools in the affected communities was done towards complementing government efforts in the fight against poverty.

The FAWOYDI president said that other activities carried out by the organization are construction of blocks of classrooms and VIP toilets in Dambar, Sindigawo, Lomi communities of Bogor and Kirfi LGAs of Bauchi State.

It drilled boreholes in four communities of Bogoro and Kirfi and provided relief materials to flood victims in Darazo, Misau and Bogoro LGAs. She said 49 water pumps and accessories were distributed to cooperative farmers to boost dry season farming.

The organization, she added, has also established five grains processing centres for women in five communities, established literacy classes for women in 25 communities and distributed 30 Ox-plough to farmers' groups in Bogoro and Kirfi LGAs to boots food production.