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We’re delighted to introduce you to the next nominee on the Glazia Women’s History Month Spotlight Series, Grace Amuzie. 

Introducing Grace Amuzie, a beacon of hope in the realm of inclusive education and community empowerment. At just 23 years old, Grace stands as a testament to the power of determination and vision in driving meaningful change. Armed with a degree in Economics from Crawford University in Igbesa, Ogun State, Grace has cultivated a robust academic foundation that serves as the cornerstone of her impactful endeavors.

From an early age, Grace demonstrated a profound commitment to uplifting underprivileged communities through education. At the tender age of 15, she embarked on a journey to provide educational support to disadvantaged children within her community. This early experience ignited her passion for inclusive education, laying the groundwork for her future initiatives.

In 2016, Grace took a monumental step forward by founding Isrina Schools, a low-cost educational institution situated in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. Under her dynamic leadership, Isrina Schools has evolved into a beacon of hope, offering affordable, high-quality education to over 200 children from low-income backgrounds. Grace’s innovative approach to education extends beyond traditional boundaries. Through initiatives like the Recycles Pay project, which enables families to exchange recyclables for monetary value to cover educational expenses, she not only dismantles financial barriers but also fosters environmental sustainability.

Grace Amuzie

Beyond the classroom, Grace has spearheaded impactful community development projects such as “Green Footprint,” focusing on waste management and community service, instilling values of responsibility and environmental stewardship in students. Her endeavors have garnered widespread recognition, earning her features in prominent media outlets and prestigious accolades, including the Savvy Prize for Impact-Driven Entrepreneurs and a nomination for Humanitarian (NGO) at the Eloy Awards. As a certified Microsoft Educator, Grace leverages technology to enhance learning experiences, further amplifying her impact and solidifying her status as a true changemaker in her community and beyond.

“By empowering children from low-income backgrounds with quality education, we are not only investing in their future but also unlocking their potential to become leaders, innovators, and change-makers who will contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Grace Amuzie

Glazia in Conversation with Grace Amuzie

Can you share with us the inspiration behind founding Isrina School and the journey that led you to establish this impactful institution?

My journey to establish Isrina Schools began with a simple yet powerful vision: to provide quality education to underprivileged children in Ajegunle, Lagos. Growing up in this community, I witnessed firsthand the barriers to education faced by many children, including myself. Despite these challenges, I was fortunate to receive support from a kind benefactor who recognized my potential. This experience ignited a passion within me to pay it forward and extend the same opportunities to others. The journey to establish Isrina School was marked by perseverance, community support, and a commitment to excellence. Through dedication and hard work, we transformed a vision into reality, creating an impactful institution that continues to make a difference in the lives of students and their families.

What motivated you to focus specifically on providing education to children from low-income households, and how has Isrina School evolved over the years?

I was motivated by the desire to address systemic inequalities and break the cycle of poverty. Over the years, we have evolved to meet the changing needs of our students and community, expanding our programs and services to provide comprehensive support beyond academics. Our dedication to empowering marginalized communities through education remains steadfast, driving us to continuously innovate and adapt to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Grace Amuzie
Could you highlight some of the key challenges you’ve faced in running a volunteer-driven school.

Running a volunteer-driven school has presented various challenges, particularly in the context of limited resources and funding. One of the key challenges has been ensuring sustainability while keeping tuition fees affordable for families. We’ve also faced difficulties in terms of finances and resources to foster effective and quality delivery of teaching and learning. Despite these challenges, we remain resilient and committed to our mission, leveraging partnerships and innovative solutions to overcome obstacles.

How do you incorporate innovative approaches or unique methods to ensure that children from low-income backgrounds receive a quality education at Isrina School?

This includes implementing a flexible curriculum that caters to diverse learning needs, integrating technology into teaching practices, and fostering a supportive learning environment that promotes creativity and critical thinking. Additionally, our innovative fee structure, which includes accepting plastics as payment for tuition fees, promotes environmental sustainability while making education more accessible to families.

In what ways do you believe education can catalyze social change and empowerment, especially for marginalized communities? 

Education catalyzes social change and empowerment, especially for marginalized communities, by providing individuals with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to break the cycle of poverty, challenge inequality, and create positive change in their lives and communities. By empowering children from low-income backgrounds with quality education, we are not only investing in their future but also unlocking their potential to become leaders, innovators, and change-makers who will contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable society.

Grace Amuzie
Reflecting on Women’s History Month, who are some female figures or role models who have inspired your work and advocacy for education?

Reflecting on Women’s History Month, I draw inspiration from trailblazing female figures such as Malala Yousafzai, Dr. Mrs Emuwa Angela, and Wangari Maathai. Their resilience, courage, and commitment to education and social justice inspire my work and advocacy for the work we do at Isrina School.

Can you share a memorable success story or moment from your experience at Isrina School that exemplifies the impact of your efforts on the lives of students and their families?

Christabel Ekereke is one of our pioneer students. She is currently in SSS1 at Blevour College, Ajegunle. Her mother passed away during childbirth when she was young, and her grandmother became her primary caregiver. Christabel was enrolled as a learner in 2017 and has displayed remarkable academic capabilities. She emerged at the top of her class every academic session and became the head girl in the 2019/2020 academic session. Due to her academic brilliance, Christabel is a recipient of the Rehoboth Solid Dream Foundation Academic Scholarship, which will cover her secondary and tertiary education. We also have another child who is like my very own mini version; although she is currently in JSS3. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercy single-handedly taught the kids in her street. Our success story continues, as we have other kids who are on academic scholarships and are performing well.

As a female leader in the education sector, how do you navigate and address gender-related challenges or disparities within your organization and community?

As a female leader in the education sector, I am keenly aware of the gender-related challenges and disparities that exist in workplaces. I prioritize creating an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute. By promoting gender equity, and providing leadership opportunities, we strive to address these challenges and foster a culture of equality and diversity.

Grace Amuzie
What advice would you offer to other aspiring female entrepreneurs or educators who are passionate about making a difference in their communities?

To aspiring female entrepreneurs and educators, I offer the following advice; believe in yourself and your capabilities, embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, seek mentorship and support from fellow women leaders. Prioritize continuous learning and skill development, and above all, remain committed to your passion for making a difference in your communities.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of Isrina School, and how do you envision continuing to make a difference in the lives of children and families?

Looking ahead, my hopes and aspirations for the future of Isrina School are centered on expanding educational access, breaking barriers, and fostering a brighter, more inclusive future for children and families. We aim to scale our impact, reach more underserved communities, and continue innovating to meet the evolving needs of our students. Together, we will continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve.

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