By Chioma Obinna & Oluchi Muogbo
Concerned citizens and Stakeholders into the care of orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) have expressed fear over the impact ofÂ global financial meltdown on the number of orphans and vulnerable children in the country, calling for more attention of these less privileged children in Nigeria.
Executive Director of HopeWorldwide, Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Osilaja who spoke at the kick off of the 3rd edition of the MTN Foundationâ€™s Kids Life Camp said the number of OVCs in the country is doubling on a daily basis.
Osilaja who however, expressed worry that not much support is being received from well-meaning Nigerians and cooperate organisations in the country said the greatest fear is that most of the trade centres which would have absolved these Nigerians are gradually disappearing in the country.Calling for prioritisation of issues concerning these children orphaned by AIDS, Osilaja who was of the view that unless something urgent is done most of these children after completing their life camp periods with the organization may end up on the street again.
Osilaja who disclosed that the country has not less than 2.5 million OVCs, excluding the ones in the Niger Delta explained that MTNF Life Camp is to remind these children who they are and what they are expected to be in future.
The Life Camp, targets 250,000 orphaned and vulnerable children spread around six states with the highest number in Lagos. Similar camps will take place in Cross River and Kogi States respectively.
Apart from providing the 250,000 children withÂ educational and health support, MTN Foundation and HopeWorldwide also support their caregivers, particularly in a situation where a child loses parents,Â people who are taking care of them.
â€œApart from providing nutritional support we also help them in one vocation or the other. So there is what we call â€˜the care giversâ€™ and we train them because at the end of the day, when MTNÂ pulls out of the programme, these care givers will continue to take care of the children.
But for the first five years, weÂ stabilize the children and the results have been phenomenal.â€Â Â â€œThere are many corporate organisations who can help to invest in these children, we are dying and waiting for someone to help us that as soon as these children attain the age ofÂ 17 and getting out of this programme, we can engaged them in a vocational skill or in a training school, because all of them cannot end up in aÂ university.â€