The Ishahayi Beach School Foundation was established in 2005 by expatriate spouses with the goal of helping the children in the small village of Ishahayi. Located on the barrier island heading from Lagos towards Badagry, Ishahayi is a Yoruba fishing village with a population of approximately 500 people.

The Shining Light School in Ishahayi is supported by the IBSF organization. We aide the school directly in various ways. We provide salaries for the teachers, textbooks and uniforms for the students, and simple sports equipment. The school is comprised of two buildings and has a library, a computer room, and living quarters that hosts 23 boarding students. We first constructed the original school building and when the school began to grow, we were able to raise funds to build a second building. We supply fuel for a generator to give power for the lights and fans. The IBSF organization fully supports and maintains all of this annually.

In the past years, the IBSF organization has successfully fundraised and received support from donors both locally and abroad. In addition to maintaining the school’s monthly costs we have more focused projects and have raised funds for things such as a new kitchen, buying and installing solar panels and purchasing a small motor boat that provides transportation to children in the surrounding areas.

Since the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation’s inception in 2005, we’ve been led by some remarkable people. These expatriates have made a difference in every community in which they’ve been planted!

Andrea Barton, Founder and Chairman 2005-2007
Andrea led the creation of the Ishahayi Beach School Foundation after meeting Lady Salami in 2005. Her leadership oversaw the writing and production of IBSF’s first fundraiser, Nigerian Gems. The money raised through that effort built the first school building at Ishahayi.

Gerry Aroozoo, Chairperson 2007-2008
Gerry was already actively involved with IBSF before he took over as the Interim Chairman in 2007. When he handed the reins to Amy Cope-Gibbs, he went back to serving as IBSF’s Construction Chair.

Amy Cope-Gibbs, Chairperson 2008-2009
Amy made sure that operations at Ishahayi continued to run smoothly. Nigerian Gems was reprinted as a 2nd Edition. Amy also solicited financial support from the Lagos Yacht Club. Under her leadership, IBSF was able to assist additional schools in the Ikaare, Makoko and Abagbo areas of Lagos.

Nancy Laidlaw, Chairperson 2009-2011
Nancy helped IBSF become a more streamlined organization. Under Nancy’s leadership, we published the Small Chop cookbook and produced notecards to sell to support school expenses.

Robbin Unietis, Chairperson 2011-2014
During Robbin’s tenure, IBSF began holding an annual Silent Auction in Lagos to raise funds for the school and the second school building at Ishahayi was completed.

Angie Patterson, Chairperson 2014-2015  

Angie led major initiatives to construct a kitchen for the school.  And, also, to replace the septic system at the school.  The board also increased budget to include an additional secondary teacher.

Marie Henning, Chairperson 2016

Marie’s greatest accomplishment was securing the purchase and delivery of a new boat and motor to transport students to and from the Shining Light School

Megan Pokluda, Chairperson 2016

Megan’s led the school through a new phase of empowerment and self-sustainability through the Sewing Project and the               Gardening Project.  This provides life skills for the students as well, as having a means for the school to eat without our support.  These skills are particularly empowering to the students and the staff in their culture.  Megan also hosted our most successful Silent Auction in our history!  IBSF was selected as 2016 Charity of the Year for Chapelwood Foundation.

Tricia Shu, Chairperson 2016-2017

Tricia continued to partner with Chapelwood Foundation to receive our largest grant to-date.  This enabled us to continue our scholarship program for high school students in boarding school.  She also ensured JSS3 students graduating from the Shining Light School could seamlessly continue their education.  She continued the collection and distribution of Christmas gifts to approximately 250 students and 33 teachers of the Shining Light School and Ife Oluwa.

Nicole Galinsky, Chairperson 2017-2019

Lynsey Elston, Chairperson 2019-Present 

Lynsey has had the challenge of leading the foundation through the Covid-19 pandemic. She has focused on helping the school become sustainable. One of her major projects to date has been the solar power panels. She also spear headed an agriculture initiative and been instrumental in recruiting new board members, as many members had to leave the country during the pandemic.   Lynsey’s creative and business mindset really flourished when we were forced to find new sources of funding for the foundation and we are looking forward to what ideas she brings to the foundation in the future.

Our former board members and chairmen continue to support the school from afar. We like to refer to these volunteers as “Coconut Committee” members, so-named after the bags of coconuts we receive in gratitude from the children of Ishahayi. If you’d like to join a group of our supporters in the US or wherever you live, please contact us!

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