• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Empowering vulnerable children for brighter future

Empowering vulnerable children for brighter future

In a world where children face daunting challenges, from poverty and inequality to bullying and discrimination, it is crucial to create a supportive environment that allows the Nigerian child to thrive.

As a society, citizens must come together to provide opportunities to allow children grow, learn, and flourish, which is a pointer to the need to invest in education, healthcare, and social services that cater to their needs.

Smiles for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Initiative (Sovci), last weekend celebrated this year’s Children’s Day with the theme, ‘Made For More.’ Held at the Students’ Arcade, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo; the theme resonates deeply, as it acknowledges that every child has a unique purpose and potential waiting to be unleashed.

“We chose the team ‘make for more’ for this year’s Children’s Day celebration – if you look at it we are focusing on orphans and vulnerable children. First, children should be celebrated generally because we’ve recognised that they have so much potential in them and they are future leaders of tomorrow,” Euriel Momah, founder and team lead, Smiles for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Initiative, said, disclosing that 12 homes were invited for the celebration.

According to him, there is a need for the society to make a conscious effort at celebrating and paying attention to vulnerable children, who are mostly neglected by the larger society. This he said is necessitated by the fact that the children do not live with their immediate family, or live in their immediate home – but stay in various orphanages.

“There is a tendency for many of them to want to feel that there isn’t much in life for them. So, we have chosen the theme to make them understand that though their lives may be as it is presently; they still have more embedded in them. We want them to recognise the potentials that God has put in them,” Momah said.

Speaking further, Momah said that the fact that the children are orphans or vulnerable does not make them inferior to other children, hence they should not look down on themselves.

He said that it is important for the children to recognise the potentials that are latent to them and look forward to developing them. According to him, vulnerable children should not allow their background to define their life or the future because they have more in them.

“That is why we chose that theme and our aim is that after today’s event; these will keep ringing in their mind everywhere they go. They are made for more. They are made for more, and they will work towards achieving that. We are looking forward and hoping that in the days to come they will find themselves in important places in the society,” he said.

Momah further said that the larger society must recognise the importance of family and community in a child’s life. According to him, parents, caregivers, and mentors play a vital role in shaping young minds and nurturing their talents.

According to him, by providing love, guidance, and encouragement, the society can help children develop the confidence and resilience needed to overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.

“We represent the riverine communities which are a local place and when we have opportunities to take the children out; it’s another time for them to see new things, meet other children, and be challenged that they can become better persons,” Oyinkansola Josephine Kuti, founder, The Beach Marshalls, said.

According to her, the teenage age is an age not to be forgotten very quickly. She said that it is a time of forming; a time when the individual builds the character that will last them for a lifetime. “I think they would be very excited – and so, that day is like a time to celebrate them and make them know how much this stage of their lives is very important to them,” she said.

Kuti said that celebrating the Nigerian child is not just a one-day event; rather it is a reminder of our responsibility to nurture and support the next generation. Hence, the need to collectively embrace the theme “Made for More” and work together to create a brighter future for all children, where they can grow, flourish, and reach their full potential.

“As we look to the future, let us commit to creating a world where every child can thrive. A world where they are valued, respected, and loved for who they are. A world where they can grow up to be confident, capable, and compassionate individuals, making a positive difference in their communities and beyond,” Kuti said.

Speaking about how to celebrate children and empower them to reach their full potential, Kuti said that parents and guardians should listen to their voices and amplify their stories; provide access to quality education and resources.

According to her, children need encouragement to identify and develop their passions and interests; foster a sense of belonging and community. She said further that the responsibility is on the parents and guardians to advocate for their rights and protection within the larger society.

“It is a time-out for children, which is part of what they need. Just like in our home, it is our culture that children mingle with other children to learn to associate, to rapport, to see what is happening outside, and this is one of the programmes that give them that opportunity,” Adeleke Adebayo, director, Hope at Last Orphanage Home, Ayobo, Lagos.

According to him, the Nigerian child has so much more to celebrate and be celebrated. He said that life itself is worth celebrating, which is a more reason to gather the children together for the 2024 children’s day celebration with the consciousness of being made for more.

“So, not minding what is happening in the society or country, we as an organisation having children under our care; there is need for us to celebrate these children – to make them happy, to make them feel the importance of that children’s day because it is whatever you plant in them today that they will manifest in the future. So, we want to bring a new generation out of them, not corrupting them with whatever that is happening in our nation now.

“So, let’s bring them up in a better way for them to reflect good character later in the future. So, there is a lot to celebrate and I would want to advise everyone, not minding whether organisations; parents, celebrate your children in no matter little way – let them feel the joy of children’s day,” Adebayo said.

Therefore, as we celebrate the Nigerian child therefore, let us remember that every child is made for more. They are made to dream big, to explore their creativity, and to make a positive impact in the world. They are made to be kind, compassionate, and empathetic towards others. They are made to be leaders, innovators, and change-makers.