It’s that time of the year again; it’s Children’s Day!
Children are blessings to the world; they carry the hopes and dreams for a brighter and happy tomorrow. Like every country in the world, the future of Nigeria is hinged on the success of our children.
Many young people grew up singing the famous “parents listen to your children, we are the leaders of tomorrow…” Nigerian youths have, so far, done well in terms of leadership, and are leading in more ways than one. From building startups, to owning small business enterprises, smashing it in our various career fields, representing the country on a global level, breaking boundaries in arts, culture and entertainment, the youths are doing well amidst many challenges.
But we still have more work to do in making children of today better future leaders. Children’s Day goes beyond celebrating our kids to actually building a world where they too can become sound leaders of tomorrow, locally and globally. A world that is better than what we currently have. A world that is devoid of the hassles and struggles we currently face. A future where our children are armed with the knowledge to overcome hurdles, a world where they can actually lead, not just their own enterprises, but in politics and governance, and a future where our children can be part of important innovations, decision and policy-making in the country.
Currently, our statistics are not looking so good. With millions of out-of-school children, internally displaced children, child labour, and so on, it is time for us to begin to take proactive measures in ensuring that our children are set up for a better future.
A better future starts with education, formal or informal. It starts with giving all children a level playing field – a chance to learn and be educated irrespective of their social and economic background.
Creating a better future is also creating a world where children feel safe. Where they are actually safe. We need to work towards building a country free of child violence, child labour and displaced children. A UNICEF report says that violence against children is a pervasive problem in Nigeria, and 6 out of every 10 children suffers one or more forms of physical, sexual or emotional violence before they reach 18. It is the same with child labour, a 2019 International Labour Organisation report shows that at least 43% of Nigerian children – the highest in West Africa – are trapped in various forced labour.
To build a better future for our children, we have to first improve the quality of their lives. From education to security, health, we have to come up with policies, schemes and innovations that will not only make life easier for our children, but will also give them the chance to learn and compete with their counterparts. We also have to provide social services where abused children get justice and are catered for. We also have to build a platform where their voices will be heard
While many individuals and NGOs across the country are doing amazing work, all hands have to be on deck in securing the future of our kids. It starts with paying attention to the well-been of kids in your street, your community, your LGA, your state and in the country – and helping those who need to be helped.
For our children, let’s build a better world than we currently have.
Happy Children’s Day, BellaNaijarians!