SHARON CREATES THE WEBSITE THAT TAKES FRESH FISH STRAIGHT FROM THE SEA TO THE DINING TABLE.
One day, many years ago, I was passing through the third mainland bridge in Lagos, which by the way, is the longest bridge in West Africa. I lifted my eyes and looked, I saw a lot of buildings made out of wood and all other materials which I didn’t think could hold sitting on the water. I asked my friend whom I was traveling with, “do people leave there?” –pointing at Makoko. He answered saying an emphatic yes. Then he added by telling me that some of the smoked fish I enjoy in my favourite egusi soup comes from there. The name of the place is Makoko.
Makoko is also known as Africa’s largest floating slum. The men who live there are predominantly fishermen and the women are traders who sell the fish caught by the men –no brainer right? So what about the children, what do they do? Because if Children are the future and they are subjected to growing up around such conditions then they are more likely to replicate the past. Are there schools there, do they go to church, how do they have fun, do they receive phone and television signal reception? These questioned clouded mind. I’ve heard that there are many unspoken things that go on in this community but one thing that has put this place on the map again is a great feat achieved by Makoko’s very own Sharon.
Sharon is a 17 year old girl who grew up in Makoko and has gone on to build a website she called Makoko Fresh. This website helps connect her family’s products –the fish her father catches and mother sells –to potential customers as they have been subjected to being ripped off by middle men. This story started for Sharon when Girls Coding, a six-year-old initiative of Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s Pearl Africa Foundation came to the community. They educate and excite young girls about the usage of computer and that was where this young super hero learnt to build websites. Sharon hopes to study at Harvard University someday and grow up to become a software engineer.
This initiative has given young girls in that community the ability to dream and think of a better future. They now have the tools to compete among their peers. Makoko fresh is currently helping Sharon’s family make a lot more money and connects them to a wider range of customers.
Soon some basic HTML skills would be of necessity to secure jobs in Nigeria. TINK about it, a few years ago, a simple B.SC was good enough to take you to certain heights but right now, emphasis are being made on M.SC with good Microsoft office skills as an added advantage.
So whether you like it or not or choose to prepare for it or not, the future will still come and Sharon is heralding it.