“Having a mentor has really helped me 100%!”
The education system in Nigeria is lacking infrastructure and resources to provide every student that qualifies for university placement. Additionally, many families cannot afford for their children to enter further education, meaning that many have to resort to leaving school early and become housemaids in other family’s homes to secure their existence. Such informal employment not only prevents these girls from entering professional employment with good wages but also takes away opportunities for self-fulfilment and agency.
This is why WONDER partnered with Lantana College, offering young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to take over their school fees. Lantana College specializes in vocational training for hospitality and provides each girl with a mentor, transforming not only her professional skills but also personal development.
Students like Lilian serve as an example of why colleges like Lantana are desperately needed and can transform a whole community. Understanding that education is not simply providing girls with practical skills but also investing in them as individuals, caring for their personal development, truly impacted her personal life, Lilian explains:
“I am 18 years old from Enugu but was born in Abia with three of my siblings where we lived with our grandmother till I moved in with my aunt at age 7. A lecturer from Lantana College informed my aunty about the school and I was enrolled in the 2016/2018 batch of the school. My Aunty pays part of my school fees for me and I rely on subsidies and help from the school to pay the rest. Learning in Lantana has been interesting, challenging and inspiring. I was actually scared about baking before coming to the college but that changed because my first cake came out very nice and a guest in the school praised me for it and since then I have taken great interest in cakes.
I must state that having a mentor has really helped me 100% because she is not only a mentor but a tutor and an assessor as well. She has taught me how to manage things, how to control my emotions and at the same time stay focused. Previously, if I had any problem with my aunt, I would be sad and disconnected from my work in school, but my mentor taught me how to manage with all these emotional worries and stay focused. My grades have gone up since then and she also taught me how to manage my time.”
For her future, Lilian hopes to apply all the knowledge she gained at Lantana and highlights how useful she thinks Lantana could be for other girls her age:
“After my studies, I will like to work in a good restaurant. Having a good job will help me achieve so many things such as furthering my education and also help me start a laundry business for my aunty because her current job is not helping her but with this business, she will be able to support herself financially. Would I recommend someone to study at Lantana College? Yes. In fact, I am recommending so many people. I have up to 5 prospective applicants as friends; one of my friends has been inspired by my punctuality, dressing, comportment, etc. She also likes the things I bake”
Lilian is a former student of Lantana College in Nigeria.