FAME Foundation Flags Off HerSTEM Initiative
FAME Foundation in commemoration of the International Day of Girls in ICT 2021, flagged off HerSTEM Initiative for Women and Girls with Disabilities.
HerSTEM is an initiative of FAME Foundation that is aimed at teaching women and girls between, ages 15-30 and living with disabilities STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses for six months, starting with the first phase of the programme.
The project is in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland, Nigeria and the Ministry of Science and Technology with the core objective of grooming Women and Girls living with Disabilities with STEM skills to enable them compete with their counterpart in a society that is not favorable to Women and Girls with Disabilities and likewise in a technology driven world.
Present at the event which held on April 23, 2021, at the Raw Materials and Development Research Council, Maitama, Abuja were Her Excellency, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, Wife of the Vice President, FRN, Her Excellency, Aisha Atiku Bagudu, Wife of Kebbi State Govenor, Mr. Lukas Schifferle, Charge D’affair of the Switzerland Embassy in Nigeria, Ms. Victoria Minaise, Chairperson, FAME Foundation, Board of Trustees, Brig. Gen. SK Usman(Rtd), FAME Foundation, Board member, Mrs. Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, FAME Foundation, Board member, Hajiya Fati Abacha, Representatives of the Honorable Minister of State, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Women Affairs, CSOs, FAME staff, volunteers and participants of the HerSTEM Initiative across Abuja.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Osinbajo stated that it was interesting to note that the project is aimed at equipping those that would ordinarily not access such opportunities, now made possible by FAME.
“The girls are going on a six months journey and I trust their lives will never be the same. This will not only have an impact on their lives but on the environment they are coming from”, she said.
Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, represented by Mrs Valerie Ehimatie, declared his support for the project from the Ministry and all its agency, including the Raw Materials Research and Development Council.
“The ministry and its parastatals supports such projects because STEM courses are the foundational skills needed for the digital economy Nigeria is currently promoting”, she said.
The Charge d’Affaires of Switzerland, Mr Lukas Schifferle, stated the Switzerland Embassy is supporting FAME foundation through HerSTEM initiative to provide technology skills for 40 girls and women with exceptional skills. He said mathematics is not only a tool but a solution.
“The Switzerland Embassy in Nigeria is proud to be in association with the initiative”, he said.
He also urged the participants with Charlie Chaplin quote, “The best thing in life is to go ahead with all your plans and your dreams, to embrace life and to live everyday with passion, to lose and still keep the faith and to win while being grateful.
All of this because the world belongs to those who dare to go after what they want, and because life is really too short to be insignificant”, that should be their motto throughout the programme so that they can remain gallant till the end.
The Executive Director and Convener of HerSTEM, Ms. Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello during the press briefing said the initiative is for Women and Girls living with disabilities in Nigeria, and the free certification course in STEM fields will last for a duration of 6 months.
“There are a lot of STEM Initiatives for Women and Girls in Nigeria, but none is specially targeted towards empowering Women and Girls with Disabilities. HerSTEM is a sustainable initiative that will extend beyond the first phase of 6 months. We are also looking to setting up a disabled-friendly innovation hub for more women and girls to benefit from it. Women and Girls with Disabilities need empowerment not pity”, she said.
The first class for the training is set to commence on the first Friday of the month of May.