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Latter-day Saint Charities and partners build new classrooms for school in Nigeria

Local government and education leaders cut the ribbon along with representatives from the non-profit organizations who helped build a new block of classrooms for Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on Feb. 1, 2022. Latter-day Saint Charities was a partner on the endeavor. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Students at Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, rejoicing during the opening of a new block of classrooms on Feb. 1, 2022. The classrooms were built with the help of Latter-day Saint Charities. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School cultural group dancing during the handover ceremony for a new school building on Feb. 1, 2022 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The classrooms were built with the help of Latter-day Saint Charities. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mufutau Quadri, the head boy of Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in  Abeokuta, Nigeria, addresses the guests at the ceremony for the opening of a new block of classrooms on Feb. 1, 2022. Latter-day Saint Charities partnered in constructing the new building. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The president of the Abeokuta Nigeria Ibara Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bamidele O. Fagbemi, watches the celebration ceremony for a new school building in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on Feb. 1, 2022. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The completed new block of four classrooms at the Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on Feb. 1, 2022. Latter-day Saint Charities was a partner on the building project. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Children celebrated the completion of four new classrooms at their school in Abeokuta, Nigeria, this month with dancing and speeches at an official handover event.

Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, helped build the block of classrooms in partnership with the Build-a-School Initiative in Africa and Coafrica, the Africa Classroom Coalition.

The classrooms were finished in three months and handed over to the school at an official event on Feb. 1. Local Church leaders as well as government and education officials were in attendance.

Africa Newsroom reported that the school’s head girl and head boy both spoke at the event, expressing their gratitude for the new facilities. Build-a-School Initiative built the first block of classrooms in 2018, but it was soon evident that more were needed.

Build-a-School Initiative in Africa is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to facilitate, accelerate, amplify and provide world-class educational infrastructures for children in Africa’s poorest communities.” Victor Ukorebi, president of the initiative, said at the ceremony that research shows school facilities can have a profound impact on both teachers’ and students’ outcomes.

Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School cultural group dances during the handover ceremony for a new school building on Feb. 1, 2022 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The classrooms were built with the help of Latter-day Saint Charities.
Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School cultural group dances during the handover ceremony for a new school building on Feb. 1, 2022 in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The classrooms were built with the help of Latter-day Saint Charities. | Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A blog post from Coafrica about the November 2021 groundbreaking explained that 156 students were on the waitlist at the school in Abeokuta, but the lack of classrooms, chairs and desks meant they could not attend. The organization wrote about partnering with Latter-day Saint Charities and Build-a-School Initiative to expand the school to allow space for 200 more students: 

“This project is unique because it is a pilot program supported by [Latter-day Saint] Charities. [Latter-day Saint] Charities will be matching the building costs that Coafrica expends on this project, and potentially on many more projects to come. We are thrilled for this partnership and can’t wait to double the impact we can make in underserved African communities,” said the blog post.

The president of the Abeokuta Nigeria Ibara Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Bamidele O. Fagbemi, watches the celebration ceremony for a new school building in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on Feb. 1, 2022.
The president of the Abeokuta Nigeria Ibara Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Bamidele O. Fagbemi, watches the celebration ceremony for a new school building in Abeokuta, Nigeria, on Feb. 1, 2022. | Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

At the handover ceremony at the school this month, the deputy governor of Ogun State, in which Abeokuta is located, expressed her appreciation to Build-a-School Initiative, Coafrica and the Church for helping provide a conducive learning environment for the children of the school. 

The humanitarian specialist for the Church’s Africa West Area, Mahmud Labinjo, spoke about other humanitarian aid the Church has provided in Nigeria — such as toilet facilities and water boreholes, of which the school is a beneficiary. He stated that “we are brothers and sisters and must care for the welfare of one another,” according to Africa Newsroom.

The completed new block of four classrooms at the Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, is pictured on Feb. 1, 2022. Latter-day Saint Charities was a partner on the building project.
The completed new block of four classrooms at the Ebenezer African Church Nursery and Primary School in Abeokuta, Nigeria, is pictured on Feb. 1, 2022. Latter-day Saint Charities was a partner on the building project. | Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Latter-day Saint Charities has been actively working in Africa under the direction of the local Church area presidencies. It recently delivered water boreholes to four villages in Ghana, and partnered with Water for People on a project in Uganda. Latter-day Saint Charities also partnered with ShelterBox to help people displaced in Africa, and is providing the proper fit of wheelchairs for recipients in South Africa. In March, the organization’s annual report is expected to provide details on the projects from 2021. Here is the report from 2020.

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