I engaged the founder of Nigerian education platform, Kidspathway, Cynthia Emenike in an interview as she describes her journey so far in helping kids overcome obstacles towards learning.
Can you tell us something briefly about yourself?
My name is Cynthia Emenike, a graduate of The University of Nigeria, Nsukka and I am a teacher. Currently, I work in Vine International School, Port Harcourt, as a grade 1 teacher.
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How did you come about the idea of Kidspathway?
As a teacher, I discovered that the learning process is different for every kid. I also discovered that every kid has the potential to learn if they are taught their own way. Where I work also exposed me to Special Needs Education and the fact that kids with intellectual and physical disabilities are also capable of learning with the right approach and attention. While some schools are doing their best to promote inclusiveness, most schools are still way behind, especially public schools and these schools have the highest number of students. There’s also little or no awareness of things like this in our society. Most people/ parents do not know about things like Autism or ADHD and a lot of children are branded “abnormal or dumb” just because they aren’t understood. All of these informed my decision to start Kidspathway. A platform that educates both parents and teachers on learning strategies, special needs and educational psychology at large.
Can you enlighten us on what Kidspathway is all about?
Kidspathway is an educational platform that seeks to help kids excel academically and socially. We help kids who struggle with their academics including kids with Special Needs by using teaching strategies that are peculiar to them. We also help kids develop social, digital, and life skills. We also educate parents and teachers on ways to help kids learn better. Finally, we intend to sensitize our society on special needs, create awareness, and also acceptance of kids/adults with special needs.
How do you educate parents and teachers on how to help kids learn? Are there platforms where you do this?
For now, we do that through social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
We are still working on our website which should be ready before the end of August.
Do you have plans towards organizing programmes off social media to educate parents and teachers?
We do, once it’s relatively safe to hold public gatherings.
What has been the response so far from the Nigerian public?
It’s been quite encouraging but funny enough, we have more people from other continents responding more especially to our education on Special Needs. I feel we still have more work to do here and we won’t stop until we get through to society.
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Sadly, kids with special needs are given less attention in most cases in Nigeria. Some people go as far as associating these kids with spiritual problems. How do you intend to change the narrative?
It’s rather unfortunate but that’s the harsh reality. Most parents take these kids to different prayer houses for deliverance services without even knowing their diagnosis. Some parents do not know what Autism is. They don’t know that there are things like learning disorders and disabilities too and that kids can thrive regardless. Changing the narrative is going to take a while and a lot of effort but it can be done, one home at a time, one individual at a time, and one kid at a time.
As a teacher, have you come across kids with special needs?
I have. Kids with autism, ADHD, dyslexia and what have you.
Wow, and you have had to go through the stress of ensuring they learn differently?
Yes. However, there was a time I was completely oblivious and naive and didn’t know kids had learning disabilities like dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia. It took me some time and a whole lot of learning to figure it out.
Where do you see Kidspathway in the coming years?
Hopefully, a household name and an active player in the educational sector in Nigeria.
Your final note? Any advice?
Every child is like a plant. when taken care of, that child blossoms and yields fruits but when neglected, that child withers and fades away. No child is dumb or worthless, every child just needs to be understood and given the opportunity to thrive. We are also available to help at any point in time.
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