Hussain Kasim (EMBA 2016) has launched an NGO to help women from poorer families in Nigeria and West Africa receive an education, called Bringing Education to Girls in Nigeria (BEGIN). In this post, he describes the moment he decided to take action, and the mission of the organisation.
It all began with Amina.
Amina was a 19-year-old girl who was working as my house help. One day, I went home for lunch and found she wasn’t at home. I enquired where she was and was told she had gone to take an entrance exam. This turned out to be the national entrance exam for entry to Nigerian Universities, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board exam.
When she came back, Amina told me her story. Although she had been a very bright student (graduating from high school with distinction), Amina could not afford to carry on studying after finishing high school and, under pressure from her parents to get married, had run away from her small village to look for work in the city of Lagos.
The next morning, I decided I was going to make it possible for Amina to go to university and to sponsor her education.
I then decided to take things a step further and set up a NGO to help other girls from Northern Nigeria who like Amina wanted to study but were unable to. Thus, Benefiting Education of Girls in Nigeria (BEGIN) was born.
The primary aim of Benefiting Education of Girls in Nigeria (BEGIN) is to encourage young women from poor families from West Africa specifically Northern Nigeria to get their education before they get married.
Northern Nigeria has the lowest female enrolment into university and the highest high school dropout rate in Nigeria.
Most girls drop out when they are between 13 and 16 years old to get married despite many of them having done well in high school.
We want to change this by raising funds to cover the costs of university tuition for young women therefore making it possible for more young women from Northern Nigeria to continue their studies at university level.
We also seek to help younger girls from very poor backgrounds to continue to stay in education at elementary school and high school level by helping with expenses such as school uniforms, school fees, feeding and school books. We pay all school-related expenses for the children we sponsor except accommodation.
We aim to help at least four girls every year to continue their studies at university level.
We believe that:
- Every girl has the right to an education
- Lack of funds and religion should not prevent young girls from continuing their education at university level
- More young girls should have the support they need to reach their full potential in the work place, society and in building a nation.
Visit the BEGIN website.