We live in a country where the poverty rate rises and school dropout rate follows suit! Education naturally takes the back burner for a family struggling to eat or even find shelter and the ones who mostly suffer the consequences are the children. Every day we see children on our highways chasing cars either begging for money or trying to sell wares in traffic. We see them in canteens, building sites and mechanic workshops engaging in child labour for meagre sums and picking up habits that are detrimental to their future.
In most poor homes, children have become bread winners at tender ages and must contribute to the small income pool of the family if they are all to survive. Their parents, in a bid to survive the harsh economic conditions cannot achieve their most important goal – securing the future of their children.
Children’s day is a special day for our children and while we look to make the day special for our children, we should not forget the children who have lost their childhood and they are not even 10 years old yet. All over the world, primary education has been regarded as the most important as well as the most patronized by people. This perhaps may be due to the fact that it is the foundation of the whole educational pursuit, which is expected to provide literacy and enlightenment to the citizens. Recognizing the importance of primary education, all governments in Nigeria (past and present) have placed premium on it by making primary education the centre piece of their educational policies.
For this reason Bethesda Child Support Agency, through the assistance of partners and sponsors has spearheaded efforts to provide free quality education, school supplies, nutrition, and healthcare to over 5,000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Lagos and Ogun States.
The presence of Bethesda Schools in poor communities has brought us face to face with the realities of life in urban slums. A significant percentage of caregivers living in these slums cannot afford to provide basic necessities for their children due to their socioeconomic status.
On the other hand, current global economic challenges and the attendant rise in poverty have not only increased the severity of the problems we seek to solve, but also stifled the flow of funds from traditional donors making it difficult for us to continue to support the children on our program.
This Children’s day we have decided to use the opportunity to call for corporate organizations and individuals alike to support the education of orphans and vulnerable children by Lending a Helping Hand.
Bethesda currently has over 1,000 children on its admission Wait List and another 500 children who are at risk of dropping out of school…again! We believe that these children deserve the opportunity to complete their basic education and a chance of achieving their dreams.
The Bethesda Lend A Helping Hand campaign seeks to create awareness about the growing scourge of out-of-school children in Nigeria, and seek collaborations with philanthropists, the government and private institutions in order to strategically address the issues. To learn more, please check out our website: www.bethesdaagency.org
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