By Chile Nwaorgu
A United Kingdom-based non-profit organisation, The Rural Gems (TRG) with operational office in Nigeria has expressed its willingness to transform the lives of rural Nigerian children through literacy and free IT training. With the theme ‘Inspiring learning among rural Nigerian children’, they bring libraries closer to rural children and facilitate free IT training.
According to the founder of TRG, Dr. Mary C. Oguike (nee Chiaka Nneji), the main vision of the organisation is to see a world where rural children and youths in Nigeria have access to opportunities and empowered to succeed in life. They aim to inspire learning and broaden the horizon among rural children and youths in Nigeria.
This will be achieved by creating opportunities for young rural children to learn; informing rural people with relevant news; and promoting independence through the culture of reading.
TRG had since launched its first TRG library on May 28, 2018, at Afor Uzoagba, Uzoagba, Ikeduru LGA of Imo State, Nigeria where the founder hails from. It has reached over 200 rural children and 10 schools in this rural Nigerian community
In a chat with the Press recently, the UK based Research Scientist highlighted that the organisation partners with local schools, parents, village heads, the State Ministry of Education, National Youth Service Corps scheme, local publishers, retired teachers, the British Red Cross and several individuals in Nigeria and the diaspora.
According to Dr Oguike, TRG equips the library with books, computers, stationery, toys, TV, photocopier, scanner, printer, newspapers, magazines, etc. TRG library opens between the hours of 2p.m and 6p.m on Monday to Friday and between 10a.m and 6p.m on Saturday/Bank Holidays.
Future plans for TRG will include the establishment of libraries in more villages in other parts of the country. A target of 2-3 libraries per year will be set.
In the Board of Trustees with Dr. Mary Chiaka Oguike are Edmund Nwagbaraocha, Tunde Tabi, and Adrian Onyeka.
Mary Oguike, the founder of TRG has a B.Sc in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She worked as a Research Scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for 9 years before moving on to secondary education to transfer her passion for science to the younger generation. With over 20 academic publications and fifteen years of research experience, Mary has made significant contributions in the field of malaria epidemiology and drug resistance.