The Centre for Children Health Education Orientation and Protection (CEEHOPE) has partnered with Realyz Naija to empower children living in urban slums called Monkey Village in Ikeja, Lagos.
With the partnership in which beneficiary children received sharpeners, story books, note books, pencils, among other educational materials, teenage girls who had dropped out of school without hope of completing their education could now go back to school or learn vocational skills of their choice.
The Programme Coordinator of Realyz Green Network Nigeria, Mr. Ireti Adeshida said that, “it is a project that would develop Nigerians so that they can be socially responsible.
We are partnering with CEE HOPE because we have a passionate project, ‘Kit a Child’, which we are working on.” He added that, “Kit-a- Child has to do with how we can empower kids especially indigenous kids from rural and disadvantaged communities. Needy children from urban would also benefit from the programme.
According to Adeshida, the project in Monkey Village was a pilot community development project that they were working on for a period of time for people to identify with.
“Then, gradually if we are going to achieve with the monkey village, we can move to another community. However, we have to start with one. It is better that we establish a structure that will develop the kids and they will know that we have done a good job.”
On why the ‘Kit-a-Child’ project is strictly for females, he explained that the project was about the Nigerian child and African child. Nigerian children, he said, are very important to the nation, they are the bedrock and key to national development.
“We are looking at the literary skills, we have worked with spelling competitions and we gave them bags, we are looking at their creativity, we got to know some of them are very good artists who can draw.
These are great artists that we can celebrate globally, we need them in this country, let them use their skills for national development. We have to identify those kids and see how we can empower them and make it in the right place.”
On the school materials that were shared amongst the children, he said, “We gave them exercise books because a lot of them don’t have exercise books, we gave them pencils, sharpeners, we gave them story books and CEE- HOPE will give them more story books, getting them clothes, foods, tooth brush, we discovered that hygiene is very important, we took them on hygiene talk to know how to use tooth brush.”
The Executive director of CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah said that, “We are interested mostly at children in slums and rural areas that are often neglected by the authorities, stakeholders.
We believe that engaging and nurturing their talents providing them the basic needs of life, especially education and mentorship will go a long way to shape our society for good especially people from excluded communities like slums.
If they are not well managed they become problem to the society but they are well managed they become asset so we try to get them. Many of the girls are victims of rape, victims of early marriage of teenage pregnancy, so we try to catch as many as young for others that are already pregnant; we try to give them a second chance of life.”