Edemawan (Edem) Ossai was just fourteen years old when she observed two six-year-old girls who both lived nearby with their families, but were living very different lives. One of the girls was sent to school daily, while the other accompanied her aunt to sell roasted plantains on the street. In Oyo State, South-Western Nigeria, the decision to send a child to school or to send them out on the streets to earn money is a daily dilemma for many households. The need for a daily wage often takes priority and many children are left without access to quality education. For those who do make it to school, the schools themselves are critically ill-equipped, with many struggling to maintain electricity supplies, let alone provide the books, resources and digital technology that modern education calls for.
Observing the contrast in opportunities for these two girls all those years ago ignited what would be a lifelong passion for promoting equal access to education, and led Edem to found the Mentoring Assistance for Youths and Entrepreneurs Initiative (MAYEIN) in 2012. In response to the lack of formal educational and community services, MAYEIN provides mobile computer classrooms for 4 public secondary schools, delivering practical training sessions and e-literacy lessons on computers and tablets for over 150 students. MAYEIN also brings a mobile library service to local communities, providing storybooks, educational resources, reading activities and a team of mentors to engage and promote equal opportunities in education, positive youth development and gender empowerment. Edem has also established community centres which focus on showcasing the positive effect of education for the whole family, and highlighting alternative sustainable ways to generate household income.
QCT is working with Edem from 2020 to help her to expand her organisation through the purchase of a second mobile-library van, a further 15 internet-ready laptops and 20 tablets, as well as hiring two additional staff members. QCT will also work with MAYEIN to provide advice and guidance on organisational areas including safeguarding and financial management.
MAYEIN is working towards SDGs 4. Quality Education.