Grace Amuzie: Entrepreneur using recycling to promote education
Grace Amuzie is the founder of Isrina Schools – a low-cost learning centre that offers basic quality education to less privileged children.
Amuzie accepts plastics and other waste materials that can be recycled from parents as payments for their ward’s school fees.
As an advocate for Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality education, she is committed to seeing children from low-income households in Ajegunle have access to basic quality education.
She was inspired by her personal experience. “My story would not have been different from millions of children that are currently out of school if I had not been given the opportunity by a woman who believed in my dreams and invested in my education,” she says.
“This single act is the motivation behind my passion and work today.”
She stated that Isrina Schools was founded in 2016 however, operations kick-started in 2017.
Since starting the recycles pay project to enable parents to pay for their children’s school fees and provide any educational materials using recyclables – over 35 families have benefited from this project since 2019.
“For us, collaboration is our driving force. We work alongside parents to ensure maximum impact is achieved, she says.
“We are also considering introducing some merchandise to allow more people to support the school.”
Since its inception, she has sustained the school through donations from individuals and private organizations.
“We have grown from 4 – 152 children from preschool to basic one to five,” she says.
“We have been able to engage with them positively with the five Ps of sustainability in creating better and bigger ideas.”
The five Ps of sustainability include People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.
“These individuals and organizations provide us with educational materials and payment of fees and have been actively involved in the school’s daily operations,” she says.
“Currently, the school operates in a community where education is luxury and most parents do not have the needed resources to keep their children in school.
“Witnessing the transformative power of education, I made an unwavering decision to promote access to quality education for every child, and I have been doing so through Isrina School,” she says.
Speaking on challenges, she says, “The major challenge is finance. Many young people have great ideas, but lack of funds is always a stumbling block.”
“The best way I have learned to deal with challenges is to share my story and ideas to people, especially loved ones, friends, and family,” she says.
“It is not easy, but then it is best to start; you’d find someone interested in helping you scale.”
She says her immediate goal is leadership training on improving and knowing how to run a low-cost school effectively.
“For the school, temporary infrastructural upgrade, provision of educational and psycho-social support for the kids, teachers’ engagement, and scholarships to enhance learning,” she says.
A strategic partnership and fundraising capital for a permanent learning space are crucial for long-term goals.
“I’m positive that we would reach out to more kids giving them hope for a brighter future,” she says.
Grace says her school runs from day-care to primary five, with about 13 staff.
I hope to be recognized by the UN as an advocate for SGD 4, she says.
“For the school, its expansion; the school is on a rented facility, and its limits the impact in our community, she says.
“We have had occasions when children from other communities were brought in but could not be enrolled. So, we want to expand and accommodate more students and provide a more serene environment for learning.”
On her advice to other entrepreneurs, she says, “Look for positivity in all things. Seize opportunities and accept feedback, be it good or bad.”
Responding to Nigeria’s economic woes, she says it’s been God’s grace. “I am not close to where I intend to get to, but one thing I’m always thankful for is the fact that I started.”