“If you don’t do well in school, you will not dance again.”
That is Seyi Oluyole’s condition for any street kid that wants to continue dancing with her. And that is her strategy to make them stay in school and excel.
Seyi Oluyole is a writer, dance choreographer, fitness trainer and the founder of Dream Nurture Foundation, a global Christian relief, developmental organization committed to bringing life and hope to children in communities covered by poverty and despondency.
The organization offers children educational opportunities while bringing out the best in them and engaging them in diverse range of human activities like sports, drama, and dance among others.
At 10, Seyi’s parents sold their house at Mile 2, which made them move around a lot. Finally, they rented a house at Oyingbo, Ebute – Metta, and there, she saw girls her age who dropped out of school before JSS3 due to pregnancy.
At 14, she started a dance group with some of the children. At that time, while she was in SS1, majority of them were still in primary school and could barely read.
Opportunity presented itself when Seyi and her dance team performed at Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde’s fundraising concert of her NGO. This interested many of the kids that Seyi had to use it as a condition to joining or continuing with the group.
The kids began to take school seriously and it was a way for Seyi to start working on them.
The Dream Catchers is a part of the Dream Nurture Foundation that helps poor and street kids. The NGO provides the kids with shelter, food, clothing and education. Presently, the NGO has taken in 10 children and are sponsoring them fully.
The Dream Catchers are also empowered through dance, which gives their dreams validity and helps them know that irrespective of what they have been told by others, they stand a chance at succeeding.
Some people think I am crazy with what I do; seeing children on the street and taking care of them. I started teaching the children dance gradually and when I see that they are in love with it, I tell them that if they don’t do well in school they will not dance again, but because they want to dance, they pay attention in school.
I just don’t take in any child. The mother or father would have to sign an agreement on the number of days they want their child to stay with me.
When I first met the children, they couldn’t even speak English, but now, when they start talking, you won’t remember their story.
My mum will tell me that, being a young girl, how would I get a husband. Because living alone as a young woman is not supporte by culture, let alone living with kids that are not yours. The man would think you want spend his money with the children.
These children didn’t choose to be born poor. Lets help these children to grow to be better persons and have integrity, so that the first thing that comes to their mind is how to help others and not what to steal from others.