A non-governmental organisation has identified the needs of a rural community and provided relief for the residents as BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA reports.
The role of any non governmental organisation/non profit organisation in community service and development is principally to transform societies from the grassroot level in order to achieve a goal which policy makers in government cycle had failed to provide them with.
In that wise, the Save Our Soul Foundation for Democratic Governance and Political Research (SOSFDGPR) has been able to put some remarkable projects in place which government could not provide in a remotest village of Zungum, which is few kilometres away from Dengi, the headquarters of Kanam local government area of Plateau state.
To this end, last December 27, 2021 was marked and dedicated for the commissioning of these projects provided by the foundation such as the three classrooms block of Islamiya School, residential mosque, fence erected to safeguard the village’s cemetery and a house dedication.
The construction of the three classrooms block was mainly to develop infrastructure in order to help cushion the sufferings of both staff and pupils who had no choice than to make do with whatever space that was available for learning in the area.
Save Our Soul (SOS) Foundation was founded and financed by Comrade Usman Muhammad Kanam, born and brought up in Zungum. A former staff of the National Population Commisssion, a former journalist and presently working with the ECOWAS Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
The motivation While speaking about the predicament of what used to be on ground in Zungum, he said, “I was born and brought up in this village. I am familiar with the educational challenges facing the people and government of the state and I decided to use my foundation to uplift the status of the primary school in the area.”
He said the pains of the lack of such infrastructure in his community serve as a spring board to keep helping not only his home village, but also others.
“I feel severe pain in my soul each time I visit home to see our children sit under the tree shades to receive formal education. Because of this, I reasoned that the provision of even one classroom can make the difference in this community.”
According to him, “This was what motivated me initially to establish this foundation to enable me source for funds from anywhere to assist my people including neighbouring communities with similar challenges. This is because I have realised that we, as individuals must find a way of helping our community since government’s intervention has been hard to come by. I have it at the back of my mind that with good education from our community, we would be able to compete with our age mates anywhere in the world.”
Following this development which started by the foundation laying ceremony of the pet project, the dream has become a reality and the projects were commissioned on December 27, 2021 with a support by a retired school administrator and community leader, Alhaji Sani Shapwai, Talban Namaran, High Chief Nyimbas Sabo, Danburam Zungum and other community members. This has reminded the citizens of Kanam that on April 23, 2011 a block of two classrooms was also commissioned and handed over to Plateau State Universal Primary Education Board (PSUBEB).
Speaking then he said, “My NGO is just seven years old and we have no funds for major projects, but our situation in this village is pathetic to wait until there are enough funds. I resolved to start with the meager funds available so as to ginger others to come and contribute their quota.”
Although communities are not made better only by those who have the resources. Indeed, those that don’t even have the capacity to help their communities are in the majority, always rising up to the occasion to wipe the tears of their people. The seed sown by this foundation is a clearly an example to emulate of not wanting the children of Zungum community to suffer neglect as he has been available to stand in the gap.
Tasking others Report shows that in many communities, there are yawning gaps needed to be closed by sons and daughters of the area, using their resources to transform the areas to their test. In the present dispensation, many communities like Zungum have been transformed on account of the contributions of their sons or daughters.
As a payback effort, the time has come for those who have benefited in one form or the other in their lifetime to bless their communities with what they have. As at the time this NGO was just seven years old, the founder has already had discountenanced the idea of waiting for government to come to the aid of his community.
Therefore, this led to the seed that has been sown over the years by the foundation to be documented well as they adorn the Zungum landscape serving as constant reminder that a son of the area has been making effort in bringing developments of all kinds not only to the area but also to the neighbouring communities.
Championing this type of cases have become neccessary and common place with the founder of the NGO over the years, having grown in an environment where developmental projects are scarced or denied the the area. But the struggles to achieve such developments do not come easy. That is why those who get involved know that they have gotten involved as a result of the greater needs of their people.
SOS foundation has therefore remained an intellectual marketplace of ideas for the youth and elites as well as a centre of public discourse.
It made people remain passionate and enthusiastic about what value they could add to their community without in turn receiving any financial gain for their sacrifices.
It is the hope of members of the foundation that more can be done individually or even collectively to raise the standard of living of communities. Government however has a responsibility to make things happen; when they don’t advance such causes, the luxury of waiting endlessly should end, but people with ideas must wake up to change the narrative, just as SOS foundation has done.
The foundation has been running programmes since its establishment before the 1999 transition to democracy in Nigeria by way of contributions from members, philanthropist and spirited individuals.