Singer launches Africa school fund

Afro-pop star Angelique Kidjo says scholarship fund will help African girls.

    Kidjo says education is vital to helping
    African girls escape from poverty [EPA]
    "It's better to start little than to start big and fail," she said.
     
    "We are talking about kids that rely completely on a scholarship that you're going to give them to have a future. You can't drop the ball in the middle."
     
    External link

    The Batonga Foundation

    Batonga is being launched with a trust fund donation of $300,000 and will focus its efforts on helping children from the poorest families, especially those affected by HIV/Aids and many of whom are orphans.
     
    Kidjo said research has shown that educating women reduces child mortality, improves family nutrition and decreases the incidence of HIV.
     
    As well as scholarships, Batonga will also build new schools, provide girls with mentors, and work with communities and schools to improve teaching methods and girls' education.
     

    Kidjo is a goodwill ambassador for the
    UN children's fund [GALLO/GETTY]

    The initial fund will cover sponsorship for the first group of girls and build one school in Sierra Leone.
     
    Hugh Locke, founder of Vox consulting, which is advising Batonga, said: "Educating girls is the single most cost effective way to address poverty in Africa right now."
     
    Next year the foundation is looking to raise $3m to expand the scholarship fund to 3,000 students, to build 10 more schools, and to support existing schools by building dormitories, providing school supplies and training teachers.
     
    Locke said that in considering the Batonga project, he found that the importance of educating girls is reflecting something of a growing international consensus.
     
    In January, Oprah Winfrey, the US talk show host, opened a $40m secondary school for girls in South Africa, saying she wanted to groom talented girls from poor families to become leaders.
     
    Launching the fund, Kidjo said her parents had instilled the value of education from an early age.
     
    She said she had been moved by girls she met while travelling as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, the United Nations' children's agency, who told her they wanted to do something with their lives.
     
    "I don't believe my continent can move forward without education," she said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.