Kunle Mafe is the founder of Brainykids Foundation, a not-for profit organization committed to giving hope to underprivileged children through education and mentoring. He speaks to Politicos on his work so far and his expectation for the next few years.
Q. What is the main objective of your foundation and how did it start?
A. The main objective of the foundation is to educate disadvantaged and challenged children. I used to see children roaming the streets when they are meant to be in school and most times I always come down from my car to ask the reason they are not in school and the reason has always been no funds. I took it upon myself to help as many as I can but it got to a point that my finances could not accommodate the growing expenses so I decided to register a foundation to legally source for funds.
Q. Tell us what your journey has been and the greatest motivation carrying on?
A. My greatest motivation is my passion. The journey has not been easy because it’s a demanding project. My head works 24 hours of the day to make sure that I am able to meet up with the needs of the children of the foundation. Various needs such as Health, Education, Feeding, Clothing and other welfare needs. Raising funds is never easy as I still use 80 percent of my personal funds to support the great demand.
Q. What are the main challenges facing Nigerian kids and more importantly the less privileged ones?
A. The challenges facing the disadvantaged Nigerian children are grouped into four or five. Number one and most critical is poverty. They lack the basic needs because of poverty and it is that lack that leads to others. They also lack good education, lack of good food, clothing, shelter, etc.
Q. How do we as a society help democratize education in a way that creates problem-solving knowledge for the nation?
A. Unfortunately the government is not doing as expected and that’s why individuals and NGOs have taken some step to help make education available to disadvantaged kids. Only few NGOs are actually helping to democratize education in the proper way. For us as a foundation, we are creating awareness not only to raise funds but also to let people know the importance of helping to educate a child.
Q. What challenges for you face as a body and what kind of assistance so you expect from Nigerians?
A. The major challenge is funding as we presently cannot meet up to 5 percent of requests from disadvantaged families. We even created several ways of creating funds one of which is the JUNKS TO NEEDS where we collect junks from people and convert them to money. The kind of assistance we require is both financial and material. We also run a home for homeless children. We need donations in form of food, clothes and other welfare needs. Those who cannot give money can donate all old and unused items in their homes to us. We can sell them and raise funds to take care of our pressing needs.
Q. What is your greatest achievement so far while doing this?
A. We are presently sponsoring the education of 200 children across the country. We opened a home for the homeless children which caters for 27 children. We run a free pre school for disadvantaged children. We have donated books and learning materials worth over 15 million naira to children of low income earners in various schools. We have been able to buy wheelchairs for physically challenged children and many more
Q. What will you and your team do in the next three to five years that will make you proud?
A. Our 5 year plan is to build and operate a 100% free school for disadvantaged children. The school will have accommodation and other learning facilities. We hope to spend the next 5 years in building a strong Admin structure to help us achieve our objectives