As a parent or guardian, paying for your kids’ education can be a big deal especially with everything going on right now. We need all the help we can get. There’s nothing like a bank that has your back, and that’s why Wema Bank is here to help!
Wema Bank, Nigeria’s leading innovative bank, is set to award 20 school children with a N50,000 School Support Fund in the 2020 Wema Educational Award.
The annual award is available to holders of the Bank’s Royal Kiddies Account and holds in September, 2020.
How can your kids qualify?
Parents and guardians are to open a Royal Kiddies Account in any Wema Bank branch close to them with a minimum of N100,000 before September 12, 2020.
If you’re a parent or guardian who already has a Royal Kiddies Account, you can top up your balance to N100,000 before the deadline to also qualify.
The winning accounts will be notified of their reward after the final selection on September 18, 2020.
The best way to save for your kids education!
The Royal Kiddies account is a savings account opened by parents and guardians to help you save up for your children’s education. As a Royal Kiddies account holder, your child gets to enjoy a competitive interest rate of 4.75% on savings, an E-Purse for electronic transactions and many other incentives including an opportunity to win the annual Wema Educational Award!
Dotun Ifebogun, the Divisional Head, Retail Business, Wema Bank says, “It is our way of supporting parents in educating their children and we are happy with the impact we have made in the past years.
“This year, education has been greatly hampered by the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and we hope this will go a long way to support this year’s winners as they settle into the new normal. We also hope to use this gesture to help inculcate a savings culture into children and prepare them for financial freedom early.”
You heard it here first. This is your chance to get the support you need for your kids’ education so don’t wait up!
Oladoyin Oladapo is the author of the “Girl to the World” book series which consist of four chapter books and four picture books for children below 12. These books share values essential to girlhood; intelligence, curiosity and self-esteem while highlighting the diverse world around us. They are more than learning about differences instead, they are fun and captivating to read like traditional children’s stories.
This is because after spending six months in a local elementary school with her team, Oladoyin discovered that children that age are not as concerned as we were about learning about developmental concepts such as culture and values. So if her team wanted to get children to read, they had to mask all the educative material with fun and exciting stories.
This led them to create the “Girl to the World” book series which empower children but are still fun to read. The series teaches children but not are not textbooks. Oladoyin believes that the content children consume at this age moulds their future; her goal is to expose children especially girls to different cultures.
Read on to find out how Oladoyin Oladapo is helping girls reach their maximum awesomeness through the celebration of culture, girl power and universal concepts like arts, friends, family, fashion, sports and school.
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing background?
I am from Nigeria but live in the USA. My family migrated to the States when I was very young, so that was where I had most of my education. I studied sociology with education concentration and political science with international relations concentration.
Around my junior year, when I first got the “Girl to the World” idea, I was studying gender and inequality in education and I think that a lot of that really formed the idea. I however planned on making multiple things with the idea; thus toys and animation etc. The first prototype I made with this idea wasn’t a book. I had to try out other things until I finally decided to start with a book, which was a great idea I must say. With regards to my writing background, I never had professional experience in writing. But I was always doing creative writing among others in school which gave me some experience in this field. So when the time came to write the books, what I did was to put together what I knew and I guess I did the best that I could.
You said you and your sister read a lot when you were young, which books had the most impact on your life? Would you say reading so much at a young age ignited this passion to write the Girl to the World series?
My sister and I read a lot, I remember reading the Bible a lot when I was growing up. At that young age however, I wasn’t able to understand the Bible so I was given the picture Bible which made it a lot easier to understand. In terms of actual storybooks, our dad would take us to the library all the time. We spent an entire summer reading Chicken Soup for the Soul. I mean we read the entire series of that book just like the Babysitters Club, the Magic Treehouse, Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants series. I really enjoyed Captain Underpants because it was an easy read and I loved the pictures and how funny it was. Also I believe that because I read so much, I had the confidence that I could write the book even though it was something I never planned on doing.
From your Youtube video, you stated that there are four chapter books and four picture books about four amazing girls. These girls are Akua from Ghana, Shivani from India, Estefany from Colombia and Chazelle from Trinidad and Tobago. How did you come up with these characters and how did you choose their nationalities? Was is random or planned?
Everyone wants to know why I don’t have a Nigerian girl. It’s a long story. The thing is, the first person who joined my team was a Ghanaian girl who helped me write the first story. And later, when we decided to extend to other characters, we wanted geographical diversity.
It didn’t make sense to have Nigeria which is like two doors from Ghana. I wanted to get other places around the world. Ghana was already there so I decided to hold on with Africa and try other continents. Then I decided to choose countries that I felt like I knew enough to write about. As I am an outsider and not from any of these cultures so I did research and talked to people who are from there. I wanted to make sure I had enough resources, facts and details so I could write about them.
I wanted it to be authentic, genuine and good. That was the major reason for creating stories from different regions. Also these were cultures I really really enjoyed.
I feel like if I wasn’t a Nigerian, I will be Indian. All these countries I was exposed to, I felt like part of them. With each character we wrote about, I felt like I was the one in the story. As a Nigerian, I have lots of Ghanaian friends and I am used to their culture so I chose cultures that resonated with me. However, these characters are just the beginning. I plan to extend to all the other cultures.
You and your team spent six months in a local elementary school to study and test out your contents. Can you share with us some of your findings?
What I learnt was that children just want to have fun and want to be engaged first and foremost. When I was serving them lunch, I would observe the things I did that got them excited. At the end of the day, I didn’t want to make textbooks.
We know that it is good for them to read things that will educate, inspire and inform them about other cultures, but they don’t know that and they do not care. Thing is, they don’t need to care because they are 10 years old. If we want them to learn these things then we have to make sure to create something that would be exciting, informative, relatable, fun and easy for them to grasp. I think my problem with the books out there is that they don’t have that.
If you should read a book about a girl from Ghana, what you will find is; “Hi, I am Akua from Ghana. Ghana is a country in Africa. Africa is a continent”. That is true and nice but that is not fun to read. Older people can read that and be all right with it but imagine a 7-year-old reading that. It is just not going to stick. So we decided to write out all that we wanted to do and teach. Then we had to brainstorm on how to mask them underneath the fun; so that the children will enjoy the books but also be educated.
For instance, we wanted to teach kids about entrepreneurship so we talked about how Akua who lives in Cape Coast, Ghana spent her holidays with her aunty in Makola Market Accra. She gets bored and ends up creating something out of some old Kente then sells it in the market. But we never mentioned the wordentrepreneurship even once in the book.
However, we stated the qualities and skills of an entrepreneur. We wanted children to understand the essence of creating something on their own. Even if you are not from Ghana, you know how you can be so bored during the summer. So we wanted them to know they could create something and make money during this period.
What makes these four girls and their stories so special?
Their diversities and the fact that they are just like us makes them so special. Diversity is not just about skin colour, it is about experiences and having different stories to tell; that is what we are capturing.
Growing up, there weren’t many books with characters that looked like me or experiences similar to mine or the woman I was becoming and we wanted to change that. We decided to create books children would relate with. So I sat down with my team and we really broke it down according to what we want the girls to be exposed to and we came up with diverse characters.
We had one girl who was interested in science, another interested in politics then one who was really loud and the other an introvert. We had to make sure that we had girls who had afro, straight and curly hair. This is supposed to be relatable to all sort of people since we were looking at diversity and different kinds of personalities. These books are also special because they;
Ignite – open your eyes to the characters in their countries and their lives. Thus causing children to be curious about other cultures.
Inspire – shows the various types of careers and academics; encourage skills and talents building; hobbies. Also encourages girls to try out academic fields that are mainly male-dominated like science, politics, engineering, entrepreneurship which only few women tackle. We want to show how fun these unrepresented fields are.
The reader is exposed to the character’s relatable personality traits, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, passions and fears while also learning how to navigate them.
Engage – this is all about history; exploring defining moments in the past and making it enjoyable to learn the unique stories from each character’s country. This ties historical events to the characters’ life which is relatable.
Excite – this is culture. It is the highlights of festivities and occasions which genuinely depicts a cultural event or experience in a character’s country; usually traditional events with a touch of modern emphasis.
All these are embedded in every single story created. When girls read the books and see girls like them from across the world, they will think about being leaders and savour their culture and history.
They will view themselves not as superheroes or princesses but just as regular girls with lots of potential to offer to the world.
Among the four girls, which one is your favourite and why?
I really hate this question but I think Shivani is my favourite because she is actually me. The thing is I didn’t realize the similarities until I finished writing. Except for the fact that she is Indian, this girl is actually me.
Shivani is into student leadership and has a lot of activities in school. She is into fashion and she is a boss lady. Shivani is also structured, rigid and predictable. She had to learn to be a little spontaneous; something I also had to learn to do over the years. She was faced with some experiences where she learnt how to take life as it comes.
Who are your target audience? Which age group can read this book?
The chapter book is for children between the ages of 7 – 11 ,while the picture book is for children below 7.
I however think that the older you are; the book series is a quick read. I also have 15-year-old and 16-year-old reading it.
What was the hardest and easiest thing about writing these books?
The easiest thing was actually gathering the information while the hardest was the writing, editing, formatting, illustration then the publishing.
After publishing, how were the books received? How and where are you selling the book?
Reception has been overwhelming and people have been very supportive. Everything has been going a whole lot better than I expected, which is burning me up and I have to catch up to the wave. We have been shocked by the amount of support we have received. I don’t have any complaints. We already distribute to three schools and have 200 other smaller distributors. The books are also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble booksellers, through me and some book stores depending on where you are located. We are also trying to get the books on other distributors at other countries.
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Don’t you just wish you had been taught about financial responsibility when you were much younger? In our rapidly changing world, it has never become more imperative to teach our children the need for handling money well.
In fact, it’s such an important skill that it will guide their decisions well into adulthood. If you’re able to do a good job with the lessons now, your children will look back and be grateful to you as a parent. And in getting this done, there’s no better time to start than now —your child is never too young to begin.
It’s important for kids to get savvy about spending wisely, saving and the value of giving to others.
Delayed gratification —an important lesson
When I mention that there’s one basic lesson to teach your kids about financial responsibility, I mean that at the heart of every financial decision you’re getting your child ready to handle in their future is one basic fundamental lesson, which is ‘delayed gratification’.
Delayed gratification is learnt from deciding to do a chore now and watching TV later. It is about eating up two candy bars now or keeping one till tomorrow.
You see, for the most part, the concept of saving money and spending wisely is more about learning to wait for something versus getting it now. Financial discipline is first of all the ability to spend less than you earn (which requires proper budgeting and sticking to it) and secondly, being able to put that excess in the budget away over a period of time (savings).
How do you help your child to be financially disciplined with the concept of delayed gratification?
Children form their habits based on what we expose them to. They are influenced by their environment and learn from the things they see on a regular basis. If you let your children understand that it may not always be the best thing to get something now, they grow with that lesson and it becomes easier as time goes on.
For instance, I hear a lot of parents say they don’t like to go to the supermarket with their kids because they are afraid of the demands to buy something that’s not on the budget.
If you train your kids that we do not always get what we want when we want them, they learn to respect those boundaries you’ve put in place.
Teach by example
Children learn by example. They’ll do whatever they see you do. There’s a need to model this concept for the children in everyday living. Use regular situations of life to let your children understand the need to wait for things. They can either decide to get something now or get it later.
Showing them the benefits of waiting can aid them in their decision to wait for something they love. Let them see that waiting is better. The way you conduct yourself on decisions that have to do with spending and savings will impact on your kids.
Don’t shy away from discussing money matters with them.
Let your kids learn to save every part of any amount that comes through their hands, no matter how small. Teaching your kids to save is an integral part of helping them to understand the concept of delayed gratification. They can save towards the future or simply towards a desired gift or toy.
Teaching your kids to understand delayed gratification is a gradual process and they will learn as long as you remain consistent in your teaching.
Self-control is a gradual process for your kids and they will get there. Just be firm and compassionate about it. They’ll thank you later.