Rekindling Lost Hopes: A Story of Zakari Ya’u Ismail

Sixteen-year old Zakari Ya’u Ismail had thoughts of becoming a medical doctor to support a lot of people, especially his immediate family members, to have a healthy life. But his dreams suddenly seemed remote and unattainable after all efforts to enroll him in public school to acquire western education failed for lack of money. His father is a local farmer and his mother, a petty trader. Both parents can barely afford to put food on the table for the entire family, not to mention supporting academic needs of their children. 

Growing up, Ya’u and his siblings dropped out of school because of poverty. They would hawk on the streets and work with their parents on neighbors’ farms to earn a meagre income for household upkeeps. Three years ago, Ya’u alongside other children from his hometown of Biya community in Tsafe Local Government Area (LGA), were enrolled to acquire Islamic education in Madarastatul Ilmul Kur’an Integrated Qur’anic School (IQS) in another community called Maduduki community, Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. 

In May 2018, rays of hope swept through Maduduki community where Ya’u currently lives with other host community less-privileged children, who never attended formal school. Madarastatul Ilmul Kur’an IQS center was one of the IQS centers selected as recipients of RANA Haske IQS intervention. The intervention includes literacy, Science and Numera- cy as part of classroom activities and strengthens capacity of the IQS facilitators to deliver quality instructions using fun ways that made learning a lot easier and exciting for the children. January 2019, the IQS noticed gradual and consistent rise in academic performances of the IQS learners. Ya’u stood out among them and became an exemplary learner. The introduction of chants and roleplays as core ingredients in the lessons motivat- ed Ya’u to learn with great enthusiasm and speed. 

“I like read-aloud stories and songs in our lessons. Not only that they are interesting, but they also help me to understand how to read and write…my favorite chant in Numeracy lessons is Oyoyo Oyoyo . It helps me to solve basic arithmetic…”, Ya’u said as he giggled enthusiastically.

The teachers identified Ya’u as an outstanding learner who needs their support to realize his dreams. They vowed to assist him with extra lessons to improve his reading and writing skills. They have also made commitments to explore opportunities through advocacy to key stakeholders to ensure he continues his education in formal school. Ya’u is very happy with the programme and support from his teachers. He is optimistic that one day, perhaps, he will achieve his dreams of becoming a medical doctor.

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