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Ejeme Angela Onyemowo

Angela, Founder of Oakbridge Foundation
Angela, Founder of Oakbridge Foundation

 

 

In her own words, “Ejeme Angela Onyemowo is “a teacher, a humanitarian and an educationist.” The founder of Oakbridge foundation, a not for profit organisation that provides quality education to vulnerable children, Miss Onyemowo at the time of this email interview (I had not met her in person yet), has a passion for children and education. She was obviously and most definitely infectious during our interactions. I thought what better way to kick-start this segment by featuring her. Enjoy…

 

 

 

TEYL: Can we meet you? 

Onyemowo: I am Ejeme Angela Onyemowo. I’m a teacher, humanitarian and an educational advocate.

TEYL: When you say a humanitarian and educational advocate, what do mean by that?

As a humanitarian, I am involved in providing opportunities for people to better their lives. Do not make the mistake of thinking a humanitarian must be wealthy at the given time (laughs), doing whatever you can for the welfare of another is the key thing.  As an educational advocate, I support the right of children to education which is one of the things I do with Oakbridge Foundation. Another way is through the provision of scholarship for children who cannot afford it at the moment.
TEYL: How did you get into teaching?

Onyemowo: I was fortunate to have discovered what I wanted to do early in life, so I picked Pre-Primary/Primary Education as my first degree course.

TEYL: What motivated you?

Onyemowo: I have always loved kids, but my main motivation was the desire to contribute towards building a child’s foundation. I earlier learnt that what we become as adults is tied to what was invested in us as children. I decided I want to see thousands of children down the line who have solid foundation in Godly character, problem solving and people skills etc (smiles because I was part of it). “The foundation of a child determines the future of a child and by extension the future of the nation and the world”, that’s a major push for me.

 

“The foundation of a child determines the future of a child and by extension the future of the nation and the world”

 

TEYL: I’ve seen some of your pictures on your social media feed, I’m interested in what you are doing with the children, can you shed more light on it?

Oakbridge Founation

 

Onyemowo: God led me to start a community project that provides free quality education for vulnerable children. It is registered as Oakbridge Foundation. We identify children who we are certain cannot afford to go to school and we teach them in our learning centre. They do not have to be orphans, if we see the need and if we have room for them, we enrol them. For now, it is open to children between the ages of 4 and 6, though we made an exception for two boys (9 and 10) who could not read and write even though they had been to school in their home town.

 

 

TEYL: I have noticed that you have a class of mixed age groups, how do you teach them?

                           

Oakbridge Foundation
Opening activity: children singing nursery rhymes

 

Onyemowo: Hmmmm (smiles), this is a class group of 4 years, 5/6 years and then the older boys. We have a common opening activity time. Depending on the topic for the week, we do a general introduction (or review as the case may be), then after that each group gets worksheets or exercises for their specific age. I use more of songs, demonstrations and hands-on activities for my teaching because they are all still learning to communicate fluently in English; so I minimize the talk and do more interactive activities.

 

 

 

Onyemowo: We interact a lot with what we have in our immediate environment, for example last week we saw logs in our text, then I took them out on a street and asked them to find and point out where the logs were…the blessings of teaching in a locality… (laughs)

Outdoor learning
Outdoor learning

 

TEYL: So, what’s a typical day in your classroom like?

Onyemowo: Every other thing comes after our “opening activities”-songs, prayers, declaration and any other light hearted activity that will kick start the day. We sing educational, motivational and worship songs; we pray and speak into our day. We also memorize a Bible chapter among other activities.

We do a review, then I introduce the day’s task or topic if it is a new one. They come to my table for instructions or I go to theirs.

Then we have recess and play time. This is when we go off book work and play outside-soccer, jump rope, race, number hops etc. Sometimes what we do outside is related to the day’s topic. We also have story time where I read stories to them. We would usually watch educational videos towards the close of day (that is if we are not neck deep in trying to finish up tasks.


TEYL: Do you have any personal routine or structure that shapes or impacts your time in school?

Onyemowo: Not in any particular structure though:

  • I pray-I prepare by praying for myself and my children, I speak and picture the things I expect to see in them. I study articles about classroom management, how to present lessons and relate to my pupils.
  • Sometimes I carry out research on how to work with and meet the need of a particular child in my class.
  • On some days I just sit and focus my thoughts on one child, analyse their progress, reactions etc it helps keep my mind on the way forward.
  • This may seem totally unrelated to education, but I find entertainment on social media- articles, pictures, funny videos, interviews etc helps me laugh very loud and relax. I’m planning to add cycling and long walks to the list.


TEYL:  What’s going to keep you up tonight after school? 

Onyemowo: Tonight’s work would be downloading worksheets. I never take grading work home, if that’s part of what you’re hoping to hear (grins)

TEYL: How long have you been teaching and running Oakbridge Foundation?

Onyemowo: I have been a teacher for over five years. This project has been running for a year and four months.

TEYL: What has kept you focused?

Onyemowo:  The end I have in view (vision)- children who read fluently, solve problems and can speak confidently in public, wow that is/would be priceless.

TEYL: Have you had points of discouragement and how did you handle them?

Onyemowo: My main point of discouragement is lack of involvement by parents. Most of them are not really educated and can hardly relate with what we do in class, so at this beginning stage, there are few take home projects I can give. For now, I do what I can with the kids to build them to be independent enough to take on projects on their own. So it is work in progress.
TEYL: What is the next phase for you? 
Onyemowo: The next phase is expansion, expansion, expansion (laughs) I cannot overemphasise that enough. There are more children who need these services but we do not have enough room yet. So, bigger learning space with more materials and more qualified teachers; We are in the process of making that a reality. Career wise, I am planning to participate in international educational trainings, an online M.Ed and eventually a full time Master degree in school administration.

TEYL: Finally, what do you have to say to a new teacher, a teacher that has been in the system for long and an aspiring teacher?

Onyemowo: A new teacher to plan your day at school, but take every day as it comes also-no pressure. Ask questions, never stop asking.

To an old teacher: fall in love with your job every day, learn new ways to reach your learners. I say this to my self also, watch out for/against the tendency to get used to your pupils in order avoid insensitive comments and actions. They are called “learners for a reason”

To an aspiring teacher, make sure teaching is what you’re called to do. It takes more than just skills to teach, it takes HEART! Take it from me you’ll love it once those areas are covered.

 

TEYL: Wow, what a wonderful way of raising the foundation of the next generation!

 

For more information and updates, follow @oakbridgefoundation on Instagram and Twitter and like OakBridge Foundation on Facebook.

Contact number: +2348036324550

 

 

 

Post Author
Tobi Mbaya
A passionate and committed early childhood enthusiast that believes in the right of every child to quality education.

Comments

28 Comments
  1. posted by
    Nancy Brian Mbaya
    May 30, 2016 Reply

    Angela has really shown that with the meagre resources at our disposal, we can contribute in making our nation great again. More grease to your elbow Angela

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      May 31, 2016 Reply

      Yes indeed. Thanks for reading this.

  2. posted by
    Ngozi Victor-Ikpo
    May 30, 2016 Reply

    I will start by congratulating you Tobi! And to Angela, Welldone! It’s not easy! God will continue to provide the resources for you to do more than you are doing! Bigger you, I pray!

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      May 31, 2016 Reply

      Amen!! Thank you very much Mrs Ikpo!

  3. posted by
    Tosin
    May 30, 2016 Reply

    Well done Teacher Angela. Your vision shall become all that you have always dreamed and more.Keep pressing on!

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      May 31, 2016 Reply

      Amen. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  4. posted by
    Moses
    May 31, 2016 Reply

    Really great highlight; It so beautiful seeing normal people doing great things with the little the have. Let us encourage people like Onyemowo to keep their candles burning even when it gets hard.

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      May 31, 2016 Reply

      It is indeed beautiful. Thank you very much

  5. posted by
    Helen Onyinye
    May 31, 2016 Reply

    Still looking forward to when I will contribute to this vision of yours Angie. I was among the people that didn’t get it at first when you resigned to take up this project full time. I will try my best to assist you. So help me God. Thank you Tobi for doing this too. Angela, the good Lord will shine his light upon you and the world will celebrate as you have taken it upon your petite selfie loving shoulder to help these children.

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      May 31, 2016 Reply

      Thank you Helen for reading and commenting

  6. posted by
    Bonat, Blessing Swanta
    Jun 1, 2016 Reply

    I am encouraged to read this. It says that we indeed have teachers with HEART and a passion to invest in the lives of children. Good job Teacher Angela and thank you Tobi for the introduction. God bless you both!

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      Jun 1, 2016 Reply

      Yes indeed. Thanks Teacher Swanta for reading and commenting

  7. posted by
    Ify
    Jun 1, 2016 Reply

    Her story was too inspiring and passion for teaching definitely shines through. Thanks for the interview, Tobi.

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      Jun 1, 2016 Reply

      Yes it is inspiring. Thanks Ify for reading and commenting

  8. posted by
    Enyi Jude
    Jun 2, 2016 Reply

    Ya’all call her Angela. I call her Onye. She’s a course mate back in school although 2 years ahead of me. She has shown exceptional determination in doing what she knows how to do best. I am inspired and motivated by her. She’s going places. Thank you Tobi for this platform. God bless you, amen!!!

  9. posted by
    pst peter.
    Jun 6, 2016 Reply

    Comment *GREAT! GREAT! GREAT!!! Let this vision enjoy Gods provision in Jesus name. proud n part of ur passion. Well done.

  10. posted by
    Ehi
    Jun 7, 2016 Reply

    Wow, Onye! Just wow! In tears actually, (you know me, water works). Your passion shines through. You inspire me to be a better teacher. Well done, love.

  11. posted by
    pastor Mrs Favour Peter
    Jun 7, 2016 Reply

    Great!! My dear sister am proud of u, what a dream come true u. U kept talking about this vision whille we were kids it is real now . Thank God for this platform, this is just the begining, more grace my dear sister.

  12. posted by
    Oyinkan S
    Jun 10, 2016 Reply

    A very inspiring interview. It always encourages me when I see or read about people that are investing in the future(children) of Nigeria!!

  13. posted by
    Afolabi
    Jun 10, 2016 Reply

    Angie…. am really proud of you!!!!! my friend from way back…. God will shower his blessings on you and all your dreams will come true IJN!

  14. posted by
    blessyn ene
    Jun 12, 2016 Reply

    Dis is really inspiring. Thanx angela may God expand your horizon, and Tobi weldone, nyc job you are doing here.

  15. posted by
    Obioma
    Jun 15, 2016 Reply

    In this part of the world, we have not been taught or better said trained to think like this.
    kudos to the journalist, for stepping out of the box, your works would be much appreciated by people like me from this moment.
    Angela needs to be supported continuously till this becomes a national lifestyle. Because it is just Amazing

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      Jul 23, 2016 Reply

      Thank you very much Obioma

  16. posted by
    Ameenah
    Jul 18, 2016 Reply

    Beautiful read! Weldone! God bless your hearts and work.

    • posted by
      Tobi Mbaya
      Jul 23, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Ameenah for reading. Amen

  17. posted by
    Obe Obekpa
    Sep 1, 2016 Reply

    I have always known that Angel is a gift to our generation. Thanks for living the dream. Now I have the true answer to ‘why preprimary education’ when u were enrolling in BSU then. I pray that God continue to give u grace and strenght.

  18. posted by
    Ughara Onome Vivian
    Sep 1, 2016 Reply

    This is indeed a great step. I really didn’t know you were going into something biggggggg. Thank God you discovered it early enough to start. May the good Lord empower You mightily as you venture and fulfill destiny. Anytime you need my help, do not hesitate to call. Takia Angelaaaaaaaaa as I fondly call you. Weldon Tobi…….

  19. posted by
    Ujan
    Aug 6, 2017 Reply

    Great interview! It’s always inspiring to see commitment to giving children a leg up, especially in our climes. Keep up the good work Angela and Tobi. As you pour out your hearts, God will surely open doors.

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