Mrs Folashade Mary Ajayi, a 50-year-old woman based in Ilorin, jettisoned her age and enrolled into secondary school amid mockery and scolding from community members.
To her, nothing is dearer than completing secondary school education at Ilorin Grammar School. Her educational dream does not ends there – a university degree remains the ultimate priority.
“I was insulted by some of my neighbours for my decision to go to school at my age and was widely gossiped about even though most of them are not educated either. But I was never intimidated or ashamed, which is what they wanted.
“They laughed at me most times, saying I was competing with my grandchildren; they mocked me, calling me ‘Iya Ilewe’.”
“As a human being, some of these comments are saddening because they will sustain it until you feel discouraged. But I never allowed it to affect me or dampen my resolve because I have my motivation.
“The fact that I don’t wear my uniform from home till I get to school also helps reduce the insults. Otherwise, it would have been more difficult”, added Mama Shade.
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She said scaling from Junior Secondary classes to Senior Secondary classes is not easy at her age, adding that strong motivation and hopes helped her to cross the borderline.
“It has not been easy, but I thank God, who has seen me through, with the help of others. Initially, those who were mocking me thought I would later drop out or hit the brick wall, but I am determined to put such critics to shame and achieve my burning desire of becoming educated.
“I continued after my JSS because of my love to get educated up to the university level, and I know this step is very important to achieving that. The examinations were not easy, but here I am today and I am even more motivated,” she added.
it has not been easy because the SSS class comes with its own peculiar challenges. Coping with Senior Classes and their bulky notes, Mama Shade said “now, I have to do more subjects that seem a bit complex. But I am determined. If there is anything I don’t understand, I usually ask the teachers and students. I am not the shy type, nor am I ashamed to complain if I don’t understand something.
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Samaritans who have brought writing materials, uniforms and others for me”, said Mama Shade.
According to Mama Shade, it has not been easy because the SSS class comes with its own peculiar challenges. Coping with Senior Classes and their bulky notes, Mama Shade said “now, I have to do more subjects that seem a bit complex. But I am determined. If there is anything I don’t understand, I usually ask the teachers and students. I am not the shy type, nor am I ashamed to complain if I don’t understand something.
“I am in art class, and I try my best. But among the most difficult subjects for me now is mathematics, and at times, recollecting some of what I have been taught is difficult.
“I have to make an extra effort to remember, unlike when I just finished a class or lesson, which is easier for me to recall.” But I am coping and doing the best I can.
“I hope my story will be a reference point to others that we can do whatever we set to achieve in life.