Kehinde Alabi: Clarity comes through exploration and experience

Kehinde Alabi is on a mission to empower students with skills for life. She is a transformational leader who advocates for quality education for the youth. Setting up the art club, she uses Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEAM) methodologies to create an environment for creativity, innovation and confidence. With tentacles extending beyond the education space, Kehinde has developed 12 motivating mantras turning her students into changemakers. Through her influence and mentorship, many students have discovered purpose and are making impacts.

Omote Ro Dhe could not resist Kehinde for her giant strides in education. In a chat, Kehinde opened up about her projects, what success means to her, finding purpose and what she is all about. Read the excerpts below:

Can you share some specific examples of the impact your performing arts club has had on the students in the Ijora-Badia slum? How do you believe creative outlets contribute to their overall development?

As the visionary behind the Art For Life project at Gaskiya Senior College in the Ijora-Badia slum, witnessing the transformation of my students through the performing arts club has been incredibly rewarding. One particular student stands out to me - someone who was once involved in hooliganism and street fights. Through the creative outlet provided by my project, he has found a positive channel for his energy, leading to remarkable personal growth and a redirection of behaviour. My innovative teaching approach, centred around STEAM methodologies, aims to nurture creativity and confidence in my students. This approach encourages them to think outside the box, express innovative ideas, take ownership of their learning, and collaborate effectively. Through activities such as writing songs, poems, and plays, as well as producing theatre performances on real-world issues, my students gain a deeper understanding of societal challenges and learn to address them creatively. I believe that creative outlets like the performing arts club not only enhance my students' artistic abilities but also equip them with vital life skills for the future. By engaging in these activities, my students not only develop their artistic talents but also improve their communication and collaboration skills, preparing them for success in both their academic and personal lives. Overall, my performing arts club has had a significant impact on my students' personal growth, creativity, confidence, and engagement in education. It's truly fulfilling to see the positive changes in my students and to know that I'm making a meaningful difference in their lives through the power of the arts.

Your focus on STEAM methodologies is intriguing. How have you seen these methods influence your students' creativity and confidence? Can you provide a specific success story or project that showcases the effectiveness of integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics in their learning?

The integration of STEAM methodologies in our curriculum has been instrumental in nurturing creativity and boosting confidence among my students through the Art For Life project at Gaskiya Senior College. When we embarked on this journey just a year ago, we faced numerous challenges such as low self-esteem, tardiness, and language proficiency issues among our students. However, by leveraging the power of STEAM education, we have witnessed remarkable transformations. Over the past one year, we have engaged in a variety of STEAM-related activities, including writing songs, poems, and plays, creating dance steps, and embarking on sustainable projects. These activities have provided my students with opportunities to think critically, collaborate effectively, and express themselves creatively. One particular success story that highlights the impact of integrating STEAM into our learning is the ongoing project where our SSS 3 students are currently in the process of shooting their first movie. This project not only involves technological and engineering aspects in terms of filming and editing but also incorporates artistic and mathematical elements in storytelling and production planning. Through this project, my students have gained valuable interdisciplinary skills and have grown in confidence as they see their ideas come to life on screen.

Collaborating with NGOs to develop life skills is commendable. Can you share a specific partnership or initiative that has significantly impacted your students' personal development and equipped them with essential life skills?

One specific partnership that has significantly impacted my students' personal development and equipped them with essential life skills is my collaboration with the Crown Troupe of Africa, led by Segun Adefila, and the support we've received from the Pollination Project Foundation. From the inception of the Art For Life project, Segun Adefila and his team have been my pillars of support, playing a crucial role in nurturing my students' development. Through their expertise in performing arts and their dedication to empowering young individuals, they have helped us build confidence, develop creativity, and express ourselves effectively. Additionally, the Pollination Project Foundation's immense contributions have been instrumental in realizing my goals. Their funding has enabled us to acquire the necessary resources to keep the project running smoothly. With their support, we have been able to organize workshops, training sessions, and events aimed at developing life skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership among my students. Overall, the partnership with the Crown Troupe of Africa and the support from the Pollination Project Foundation has been transformative for my students, providing them with invaluable opportunities for personal growth and development. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment to my cause and their dedication to ensuring that my students reach their full potential.

According to your beliefs, education is a powerful weapon that can change the world, what do you have to say to those who say school is a scam?

While some may argue that school is a scam, I believe that education, in its broadest sense, holds immense value and potential to transform lives. Education encompasses not only formal schooling but also self-directed learning, skill-building, and personal growth. 

It equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities necessary to navigate the complexities of the world. While traditional education systems may have their flaws, dismissing the value of education entirely overlooks the opportunities it provides for personal and societal advancement.

Success is relative, what does it mean to you?

Success is a deeply personal and subjective concept that can vary greatly from one person to another. To me, success is not solely defined by external achievements or societal expectations but rather by the fulfillment and meaning I derive from my endeavours. 

It is about setting and pursuing meaningful goals aligned with my values, passions, and aspirations. Success is also about continuous growth, resilience in the face of challenges, and making a positive impact on others and the world around me.

What advice do you have for young girls pursuing purpose but seem confused if they are on the right path?

For young girls navigating the journey of purpose and feeling uncertain about their path, I would encourage them to embrace the process of self-discovery and trust their inner wisdom. It's normal to feel confused or unsure at times, but it's important to remember that clarity often comes through exploration and experience. 

Surround yourself with supportive mentors, peers, and role models who can offer guidance and encouragement. Take the time to reflect on your passions, strengths, and values, and allow yourself the freedom to explore different paths and opportunities. 

Remember that the journey to discovering your purpose is unique to you, and each step you take, even if it feels uncertain, is a valuable part of your growth and development. Trust in yourself and your ability to create a fulfilling and purposeful life journey.


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