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Meet the Nigerian woman starting school at 50 – in pictures.

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Meet the Nigerian woman starting school at 50 – in pictures. 46

 

 

 

It’s never too late to learn, says 50-year-old Shade Ajayi, who attends Ilorin grammar school in Kwara state, Nigeria

 

And of those who might ridicule her efforts, she said: ‘It’s my duty not to pay attention to what they’re saying.’

Ajayi’s teacher, Nasrat Busari, said the mature student appeared undeterred by the age gap and coped well playing and talking with the children

Ajayi walks through her neighbourhood as she makes her way to school

 

Ajayi helps her six-year-old granddaughter Deborah with her homework

It has been hard to juggle classes and work, and deal with the stigma, but Ajayi says she is not ashamed to wear a school uniform

‘People around me can read and write and they are succeeding in their businesses,’ said Ajayi

Ajayi still makes bags and purses after finishing classes at 4pm, and an apprentice serves her customers during school hours

Ajayi signed up to attend school in the last academic year, only for it to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. When schools reopened in January, Ajayi finally got her chance

Her daughter was initially embarrassed that her mother attended school, but now understands that she never had the chance when she was younger

As a child, Ajayi worked in her aunt’s shop instead of attending school, and she believes her inability to read or write is holding her back

Donning the pink dress and bonnet that make up her uniform, she joins hundreds of similarly dressed pupils at a school in Ilorin, in Nigeria’s western Kwara state

Now 50, the businesswoman is happily learning to read and write alongside students nearly four decades younger

Shade Ajayi had never set foot in a classroom until middle age