Excitement as Dream Catchers Academy opens first free art school for girls in Ikorodu
It was a time of celebration, song and dance last week in the Ewu-Elepe community, Ijede Road, Ikorodu, when the Dream Catchers Academy opened its free art school for girls in a state-of-the-art school building.
The very emotional event attracted dignitaries from the Lagos State government, the entertainment sector and the community.
The school, a free residential arts academy dedicated to underprivileged young girls, also offers former primary and secondary education for girls, at no cost to parents.
Describing the opening of the school, built in the modest community of Elepe as a dream come true, its founder, Seyi Oluyole, said the school began as a dance hall for out-of-school girls, sensitive to negative vices, but has now become an old institution. to learn.
Congratulating the founder for citing the school in his community, Mr. Lasisi Kazeem, Community Youth Leader who represents Ewu-Elepe Bale, said he was delighted that such a new institution was set up to provide free art education to girls, the first of its kind in the country was quoted in the community assuring that they would do everything in their power to ensure property is protected.
Speaking about the challenges she faced in setting up the structure which was largely funded by her personal income and support from the online community, Miss Oluyole said the start was difficult as many people didn’t believe in the dream, even people seeking employment with them didn’t. take it seriously and would not accept the job.
In an emotionally charged voice, Miss Oluyole, who repeatedly broke down while reading her speech, said, “At Dream Catchers Academy, we aim to support less privileged girls who have experienced homelessness, negligence or economic hardship. We hope to transform the lives of these girls through housing opportunities, wellness and welfare resources, and access to quality education. In addition, we offer our daughters an introduction to the arts.
“We see the need to provide an arts education not only because of its psychological benefits and economic empowerment, but also the realization that we are all unique beings and that much of our economy currently relies on entertainment and the arts.
“At the age of twelve, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I enjoyed dance and the arts of film production. I wrote my own music and recognized early on the unique influence of those in the arts and entertainment industries. Yet, like many young girls currently enrolled at Dream Catchers Academy, I lived in extreme poverty.
“My parents worked tirelessly to support my academic and artistic dreams. However, their efforts often failed. Overpriced tuition, homelessness and direct trauma, my desires to contribute to the world slowly dissipated. At the age of twenty-one, I had the good fortune to leave Nigeria and start over in the United States. Over time however, I felt dissatisfied. As my own aspirations were thwarted, I believed I could create opportunities for other young girls who not only struggled with poverty like me, but also dreamed of a life as an artist and performer.
“At twenty-four, I returned to Nigeria to found the Dream Catchers Academy. My goal and that of our team at the academy is to counter the disadvantages of growing up in the slums of Nigeria. Slum conditions are particularly daunting for young girls. These environments are often fraught with poverty and trauma, as young girls here are often targets and victims of gender-based violence.
“Plus, a lot of these girls are passionate about the arts. Through the Dream Catchers Academy, I strive to give hope and opportunity to these girls to not only thrive in their well-being and education, but also to support their dreams of art.
“In 2016, I officially launched the Academy which began as a dance group. Starting with just five girls, I began my mission to support and provide for these young girls living in poverty and passionate about the arts. We quickly grew to enroll over 30 girls. Now, with this school building, we are equipped to do even more.
“And we are going to register a total of 100 girls. 60 in primary school and 40 in secondary school that we are going to start building on.
“Today we will innovate for the house where these girls have big dreams like me. A place where homeless young girls can call themselves home.
“Thank you to everyone who believed in my dreams! To my parents! My big brothers! To my incredible team! The board members! Instagram All our YouTube subscribers Our Twitter family!
“Everyone who has supported us – today is the start of a new chapter in our lives!
“A legacy that will survive us! I am grateful to have been chosen.
“For little Seyi, the trip was worth it. If there is something like time travel, be patient. All the struggle was worth it.
“To my amazing daughters – you are all worth it – never forget! Don’t let anyone tell you you are less.
“And to all the women out there – looking at me – I have just one word! Believe! Trust the process. It’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Mrs. Oyeleke Titilayo, mother of one of the daughters, Busayo thanked the founder for wiping the tears from her eyes at a critical moment when she welcomed her daughter.
Welcoming the initiative, Adetola Salau, Senior Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Education, told SSA at Sanwo-Olu Education, said she was excited about what “I have seen here today, everything about ensuring that our children’s dreams and hopes and ensuring that their future goes beyond all limits, all obstacles is something I have always been invested in at 1000%.
“So my whole heart is here and the fact that it’s a girl-centric, arts-centric program, something that’s been overlooked unfortunately a lot lately, I don’t know if you’re aware, a lot of schools have cut their arts programs, their music programs, which I find very disturbing, because music, the arts is something that brings out the humanity, the social part of us.
“So why are we removing it, it brings out the creative element in us, we have to promote it, we have to push it, we have to say that every child learns to express themselves, because the ability to be creative and to thinking critically stems from the arts and whenever I see programs like this I like to go there and encourage and promote them which is why I am here today.
“I will advise the organizers and the children to keep up the good work, to not, not to let anything get in the way of them, to understand that at the end of the day, even though one child and I know it’s going to be more than one child , but even if his only child benefits, for me, this child is worth it.
“So they really have to keep pushing, keep striving, I have some remarkable dreams for our kids, there’s so much we all have to push and push to make those dreams come true.”
Also speaking, Afrodoid Founder Owo Anietie, who is also a 3D artist, the main sponsor of the project, expressed his satisfaction with the development.
He said: “Afrodroid is an NFT project, we were able to sell images from the internet and donated a nice amount of money to DCA for this project.
“My interest extends more to what they are doing, helping all these children, anyone who drives the streets of Lagos will see people begging on the streets, for me, if you help any of them, you don’t help just one but i believe if we help dream catchers we help more people thats why we wanted to help and we still see them happening on instagram and twitter and you see how girls dance, their dance steps and beautiful and so nice and we saw that it was a good job they were doing and we wanted people with trust, integrity and the founder Seyi has so much integrity and before our donation she shared information about what they were doing and if they collect donations they share it for people to see, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to support them.
“I only met her on social media, when we contacted her at first she thought we were scammers, she was avoiding us, my manager at the time was trying to reach her, messaged her on all platforms, instagram, email, twitter, she was like who is this person that’s messing up my life, but eventually we were able to reach her and let her know that what we’re trying to do is just support people, we don’t want money from you and she talked to her lawyers and it was like as long as they didn’t ask for money you could actually agree to do it, and until one day we donated, she said she didn’t really believe him, it was like they donated, that was ok, if they did that’s not right.
“Seeing what it’s become today I’m very emotional, I’m very happy, the community is happy because one thing we have to understand is that it’s not just my money, it’s the money of the whole community that supports my project, so everyone sees the live broadcast, sees the work that is done here, the photos, the videos and all that, we are all moved, we are happy , if you go online and read the comments, everyone is so emotional about it, I’m super excited honestly, it’s a great day,” he added.