Mrs Ambode, who spoke at the official launch of distribution of shoes and socks to 175,000 public primary school pupils in Lagos State by her foundation, Hope For Women In Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM), said parents should send their children to school rather than use them to hawk to avoid the dangers involved.
Speaking on the initiative tagged “Project Bright Steps”, Mrs Ambode said the decision to distribute shoes and socks to pupils was one of the ways to motivate the young ones, boost their self-esteem, help them appreciate their self-worth, encourage them to be proud of themselves, and most importantly equip them.
She said aside the positive impact such would have on the education of the pupils, it would also encourage local production of shoes, and thereby boost the economy.
According to the wife of the Governor, it was disheartening to know that majority of pupils in public primary schools lacked shoes and socks to wear to school, adding that the intervention of her foundation was aimed at addressing such heart-breaking development.
She said: “Unfortunately, walking without shoes has led many children to get sick, lose their feet to bacterial infections and other life-threatening diseases. It is essential for these children to wear shoes. Wearing shoes is not a luxury, but a necessity.
“As a mother, I am deeply passionate about children. Some lucky ones have the necessary support, while others have very little support of nothing. HOFOWEM realizes that many children do not have the opportunity to wear ordinary shoes. Yet, this is something that we take for granted.
“Properly equipping our children for school plays a great role in boosting their confidence level, morale, concentration and overall performance.
“A properly kitted pupil has higher chances of doing well in academic studies, because he/she is better motivated, more confident and has higher self esteem, which translates to better academic performance,” Mrs Ambode said.
She added that her pet project, HOFOWEM, was borne out of a burning desire to touch lives and be a source of hope and relief for the less privileged in the society, recalling that such accounted for the previous initiatives held this year for over 230 pregnant women who were given baby essentials and lectured on healthy lifestyle, as well as the ongoing scholarship scheme aimed at funding undergraduate programme of some of the brightest students from public secondary schools in the State.