Sapphire foundation in Nigeria changes location, plans outreach for the poor, vulnerable

…as it seeks govt support to achieve its objectives

Abuja—The Sapphire Community Foundation in Nigeria, has relocated from Mabushi Ultra Modern Market to Mel’s Place, Jahi 2, Abuja, Nigeria.

The founder of the foundation, Jasmine Cannon-Ikurusi said the relocation is to reposition the new non-governmental international organization to achieve its objectives.

Jasmine said this on Monday at the opening of the foundation’s new office at Mel’s Place, Jahi 2, Abuja.

She said the Foundation has been in the business of providing free vocational training to residents in Abuja to curb the unemployment rate in the country.

She said: “It has not been an easy journey running the Foundation, especially with financial challenges. Our relocation to Mel’s Place in Jahi 2, close to Katampe Junction, is to be better positioned to achieve our objectives of training young people on different skills.

“We offer free training to less privileged children, especially those not fortunate enough to be in schools.

 “The Sapphire Foundation was founded in the UK in 2015. However, we established the Abuja office in February 2020; to help curb unemployment in Nigeria by providing free vocational skills to FCT residents, especially the less privileged.

“In our academy, we accept FCT residents between the ages of 5 to 30 years and teach them different vocational skills free of charge.

“Many have acquired skills in hairdressing, dancing, and ICT, among others. We also do extra mural lessons for students on different science and art subjects; to improve their academic performance. Everything we do here is free.

“We presently have over 500 students enrolled in our academy. Some graduated in June last year and we empowered them with equipment to set up on their own. Our tutors are monitoring their progress for evaluation and the beneficiaries are free to come back to us whenever they need help.

 “Though we have many programmes, we usually face financial constraints in executing our plans. Hopefully, we will get partnerships from public-spirited individuals to continue putting smiles on the faces of FCT residents.

“The rate of unemployment is so high in Nigeria, hence the intervention by Sapphire Foundation in making people gainfully employed by incorporating different vocational programmes in the academy. ”

The founder called for partnership from the government and well-meaning individuals for the foundation to be able to achieve its goals and objectives.

She said, “However, we cannot do it alone, hence we are pleading with the government and public-spirited individuals to partner with us to achieve our objectives. These children are talented and deserve all the sponsorship they can get in any venture they undertake.”

“We still have a long way to go. We just launched the new place today. We hope to get a mini bus so that we can transport students having difficulty with logistics in coming to the new centre. We are trying our best to do our work and be consistent so that with time, we will be recognised and get the needed support from the government, individuals, and organisations.

 “Students should not give up. We are here to help them achieve their dreams. There is no charge of any kind for training students here. I have a passionate team with the same drive and focus to train and empower children.

“Even when it is hard and we lack resources, we keep pushing. We are even motivated to do more. We have other NGOs with the same objective, so we are open to partnerships to achieve a better future for Nigerian children.

“We did human trafficking awareness last month and did a medical outreach a few weeks ago. We are planning an outreach in Delta state, to support families affected by the flood.

“We are also planning visits to orphanages. Then in December, we will do outreach for the poor in the FCT, which involves the distribution of food, clothes, and other items to children and families for the celebration of Christmas. We hope to be doing this annually.

“Getting a permanent building for Sapphire Foundation is our biggest dream and I look forward to the government, individuals, and organisations helping us to realize this dream. Education is key to a better future for our children.

“As the 2023 elections approach, I appeal to the government to consider the future of our children. Voters should vote for the right candidates to effect better changes in Nigeria.”

Also speaking, the Community Centre Manager of Sapphire Community Group, Nigeria, Blessing Ocholi, reiterated that the Foundation has laudable projects to take children off the streets and make residents gainfully employed, but pleaded for sponsorship from government and public-spirited individuals to achieve its objectives.

She said: “It is not the location of our office that will help the foundation achieve our goal, but rather that we now have our own space, where we can once again continue our free workshops and training. One of our visions at Sapphire Community Group is to impact on lives of the community and the people we meet.

“I want to appeal to the government and individuals to look into Sapphire Community Group and see the many works we are doing. We ensure that we do the best we can with whatever we have, but we want to do more. To accomplish our objectives, we need support and funding to impact the lives of many children, people, and families.

“Also, I want to advise individuals, who are already students of the foundation, as well as those who will join us newly this next session, to come with the mind and heart to learn, pick a skill and focus on it to gain as much as you can before you go.

“People have the tendency to take things for granted when it is free, but please let all parts of yourself be in agreement that I must not and will not leave the same boy/ girl/ woman/ or man I came to Sapphire as. We hope to see many students from the third week of February 2023, when the Sapphire Academy will start accepting and welcoming students.”

On her part, the Event/Program Manager of Sapphire Community Group Nigeria, Chidinma Stephens, said that the new location offers more security to students.

the Event/Program Manager of Sapphire Community Group Nigeria, Chindima, praying during the opening ceremony of the new location for the Sapphire foundation

She said: “Previously, we had the challenge of insecurity, but here is more secure, in terms of the Community Children’s safety and well-being. Also, Mel’s Place, as a plaza, is situated in a conducive environment, which we believe will attract more sponsors/ partners that will support us to reach our goal.

“We appeal to the government and individuals that God has blessed to partner with and support Sapphire Community Group financially to help us touch more lives and rebuild a broken generation because we can’t do it all alone. Together we rebuild, repair, and touch lives positively.

“Also, I want to advise our students to maximize what has been impacted on them, including vocational training, educational training, skills learned, and ICT, among others. Those that have been empowered financially after the training should use it wisely in building themselves and the community.”

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