The Foundation was established in 2005 by expatriate spouses with the goal of helping the children of Ishahayi, a small Yoruba fishing village of approximately 500 people on the peninsula heading from Lagos towards Badagry. Although support of The Shining Light School remains our flagship project, we’ve since expanded our mission to support multiple projects that promote and enhance the education of Nigerian children of the remote Ishahayi area and the impoverished area of Ikaare of Lagos.
The growth and successes of past fundraisers for The Beach School has allowed the school to offer a Nursery School, a Primary School, and now a Secondary School, which allows children to stay in school through middle school age. The growth has been phenomenal, expanding from the original thatched shack of 70 students, to two 6-classroom brick buildings, constructed with support from ExxonMobil and community donors, which allows the school’s present enrollment of over 180 students to learn within a safe and secure environment.
In the last year, The Foundation has also successfully fundraised for a new kitchen that replaced the former thatched lean-to and sand floor that they were using to cook. The new kitchen replaced the distressed one and they now have a new, sturdy kitchen building that is equipped with a refrigerator and freezer in order to longer secure provisions for the students. The new kitchen, along with our current, “Feed a Hot Lunch Program,” is helping keep tummies full and minds focused in order to bring the children a sound education and a brighter future that stretches beyond the impoverished border in which they have been confined.
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.
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!