Vanguard tells the story of the Nigerian fashion designer who started secondary school at 38 years old.
She is married with young children but up until now, never had the opportunity of a formal education. It was not until few years ago that she attended Adult Education class to at least be able to read and write a few things. But her resolve has always been to acquire formal education at least to the level of being able to speak the English Language fluently.
Why is she interested in doing that? Most of her friends with whom she grew up had the opportunity of going to school to the point of being fluent in English and that became her driving force – she wants to be able to communicate in the language too .
Welcome to the world of Mrs Folashade Alabi, 38, popularly called Mummy Shade. She is a fashion designer and sews small bags that are used as gift items in ceremonies.
Madam Alabi is not yet proficient in English Language and had to speak with our correspondent in Yoruba Language, but her determination to make a success of her ambition is not in doubt.
According to her: “One major thing that really drove me to attempting this is seeing my friends with whom I grew up, speaking English Language very fluently. I couldn’t at all and it bothered me a lot, so I made up my mind to go back to school.”
Though she had earlier attended Adult Education school, where she was able to learn to read and write, her inability to speak English remained a big concern.
In her drive towards achieving her ambition, she made her intention known to a family friend, who was excited about the idea and took her to meet an official in the Kwara State Ministry of Education. So, instead of starting from JSS1, she was placed in JSS 2 at Ilorin Grammar School along Sawmill Area of the state capital .
The determination to achieve her aim didn’t make her bother about her size and age among other pupils in her class who are not even up to her children’s age. She is very excited about the cooperation she has been getting from the pupils and even the cordiality. She has commenced the learning of English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies among others and she’s enjoying it.
Her words: “I have children at various levels of education, that doesn’t bother me because it is my own personal life ambition. I am happy to inform you that all of them including my husband supported my plan to return to school.
“I have been longing to go back to school but there was no time for me, but thank God I am finally here now to learn. I have attended adult education school where I obtained my first school leaving certificate. By the grace of God, I am enjoying my studies here in school. The students here are very happy to see me in their midst and there’s cordial relationship between us.
“My dream is to learn, I want to be able to speak English Language fluently like my friends, many of them are educated. When I finish my education, whatever God wants me to use the certificate for, He will provide then.
“I wish to be like them, I mean my friends. I advise the younger ones to face their studies squarely and to obey their parents. They must not play away their precious time. Parents should also allow their wards to learn because there’s profit in learning in school.“
Her class teacher, Motunrayo Busari, in an interview with Vanguard Learning, applauded her comportment, which shows her readiness to learn, describing it as excellent.
She added: ”The woman is courageous and brilliant considering the way and manner she assimilates the teachings. She has copied all the notes and she’s coping.“
The Principal, Mr AbdulRahman Akeyede, also said her experience is a big life lesson for others.
He said: “Acquiring education does not have age limit, it is better late than never. Before our very eyes, she will finish her education. When there life, there is hope.”