As part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 on the education sector, Heritage Bank Plc in partnership with Fatima Mohammed (FAMO) foundation has provided succor to over 300 affected private school teachers and small medium enterprises (SMEs).
The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued in the shutdown of schools for months leaving the private school teachers without any means of livelihood and no source of income.
To this effect, in alleviating the challenges, Heritage Bank and its partner supported over 300 Private School Teachers and small businesses as palliatives in 15 local governments; including five major markets in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Ifako Ijaiye, in Lagos State, weekend.
Speaking at the event, the Group Head, Education, NGO & Faith Groups, Lagos Mainland Zone of the bank, Mother Dan-Egwu, stated that as educational-friendly financial institution, Heritage Bank appreciates the socio-economic role the sector plays in the country.
According to her, Heritage Bank deemed it necessary to partner FAMO to champion the corporate social responsibility of the bank in supporting private school teachers and small businesses out of hardship and the quagmire plunged into nationwide by the pandemic.
She further explained that Heritage Bank and the Foundation seek to help teachers in phases.
Dan-Egwu said that this phase will comprise of 300 teachers who will get food items and cash worth Ten Thousand Naira (N10, 000) each.
On the mood of selection adopted, she stated that FAMO selected the teachers based on the regions, as the first phase comprised of 300 teachers and SMEs in the South West (Lagos) would be assisted and the poorest of the poor were the main target through the help of National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST) to identify those teachers in direst need of the assistance.
She, however, disclosed Heritage Bank’s strategy to provide basic palliative care to the educational system at the resumption of academic activities in schools.
According to her, the bank has three areas of basic supports in providing mentorship program for schools, school portal and school health plan in partnership with Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs).
She further explained that support programs churned out by the bank are designed to instill value and keep students focused on making the best of their lives through corporate models, help school authorities to manage operations and steer them into moving educational system to the new digital era; where teachers can use technology in classroom management, administration, engagement with parents.
For the school health plan, Dan-Egwu hinted Heritage Bank would help to provide a very affordable health plan to ensure that every member of the school community is covered medically, as this will reduce the anxiety amongst teachers, parents and school authorities.
In her address, the Convener of FAMO, Fatima Mohammed, commended Heritage Bank for its bold steps in joining hand-in-hands to support the challenged private school teachers, SMEs sectors and the roles the bank plays in championing CSR in the country.
Mohammed stated that the primary aim was basically to cushion the effect of poverty especially as it concerns the private school teachers.
“The private school teachers because of the pandemic haven’t been paid for 6months and there are a lot of such cases around here. Ifako-Ijaye is the second largest LGA in Lagos State; therefore, it is time to reach out to the people. During the pandemic, we have reached out to them about 2 to 3 times. I reached out to Heritage Bank and they heard my voice just to partner with us with my palliative team just to cushion the effect,” she said.
Meanwhile, for the SME owners, she further stated that additional plans have been agreed upon with the Agency Banking Unit of Heritage Bank to empower them to function as agents in this space.
She also commended Heritage Bank as a youth friendly bank for their numerous supports to young Nigerians in helping to promote their businesses and dreams.