Abigail Eyekpegha is a Batch B, Stream 2 Corp Member serving in Anambra State and posted to Nneoma Community Secondary School, Nibo, in Awka South LGA of Anambra State. In her bid to give back to the community which hosts her primary place of assignment, she embarked on personal projects in order to inspire other corps members after her. In this interview with IJEOMA EKWOWUSI and CHIWENDU UZOATU, she talked about her drive for the projects and her appeal for well-meaning individuals who can make the dream of the community a reality. Excerpts:
HOW is your experience as a Corps member in Anambra State?
The state has really taught me a lot. I never knew I would be posted here. Even when I was posted in the state, I didn’t reject the call and since then, I have not regretted my service here. It has exposed me to a whole new vista of knowledge. The people here are well rounded in their enterprise, accommodation and kkindness nice. The projects I am undertaking were borne out of the exposure the state has offered me. I am meeting personalities that are inclined to what I am doing. The people here are so amazing.
What informed the drive to embark on these projects?
When I was posted here at first, I had a bad impression about the place because the school was really in a mess. I almost rejected it but somehow, I managed to stay. My place of primary assignment really got me thinking. I thought of how to make it better than I met it. I told myself that if I go just the way I came as every other corps member posted here goes after the completion of their services, things would remain the same. I wanted to effect a change here. After much thought, I came up with the idea to serve the community through the school library refurbishment project which before now was in shambles. The books were all scattered on the floor and the library had a leaking roof which caused enormous damage to the book shelves.
It happened that one of us fell ill and we assisted her to the health clinic but on getting there, the clinic was ill managed. Basic healthcare services could not even be rendered to patients. It was then that another idea came to me to organise a free medical service where members of the community can easily access medical care. Then, I observed that most of the secondary school students, could not even afford the school fees of N2,500 despite the low fee and many hinged on that as an excuse to stay at home. So, I came up with a skill acquisition programme for the youths of the community where they can at least make something out of their handcrafts. These are the three projects I have in mind to carry out in the community.
How do you wish to embark on these projects knowing that they are capital intensive?
I intend to raise funds through connecting with the right persons. In camp, we were told that if we want to embark on personal projects, we should approach the community for funds.
To this end, I met with the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) Zonal Head and I was granted permission to go ahead. Then, I met with the principal, Mrs Gloria Obeleagu, who gave her approval and encouragement. I further went on to meet with the traditional ruler of Nibo, whom I told about the projects. I approached members of the community that are well to do.
What do you intend to achieve with these projects? Have you been getting responses?
I just need to make anywhere I am a better place. I just want to make positive impact on the environment. For now, I haven’t recorded much maybe as a result of what is happening now in Nigeria nay the world but I believe something good will still come out. I have started the projects already. I have commenced the refurbishment of the school’s library.
Luckily, the school has a new school building and the principal told me she would like to have gotten to the completion of the new library. I have acquired a new shelf for the books to be properly arranged.
Have you done any projects before now?
I have done a project in Nibo community for some secondary schools called ‘Career Day’. It’s all about teaching the students on how they can achieve their chosen career. I did subject combination for the students in other to throw a light on getting their preferred career choices with the appropriate subjects. The chosen schools were Nneoma Community School and Ezeike High School, Nibo.
How can you assess the state governor’s response to the welfare of corps members serving in the state?
Wow! The state governor, Chief Willie Obiano has really lived to expectations. Some states in the federation do not pay their corps members but the governor really has corps members in mind. Apart from the federal government allowance, the governor has provided a welfare package for corps members. I really appreciate the governor.
How can you be contacted?
I will really appreciate those that will still go with me in my project. I will welcome as many that will like to assist me in seeing that these projects come into reality. I can be contacted through the Nneoma Community Secondary School Corper’s Lodge. My phone no is: 08026980337.
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