By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA â€” Succour may soon come the way of gifted but indigent children in Nigeria, as an international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) under the aegis of African Children Talent Discovery Foundation (ACTDF), yesterday in Abuja, said it had concluded plans to raise N500 million, with a view to helping such children to maximize their full potentials.
The president and founder of the organisation, Mr Noah Dallaji, who bemoaned inadequate attention paid to the nurturing of poor but talented children in the country, said the organisation intended to build special schools in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
The group, he said , will also embark on a nation-wide talent discovery programmes for children in school and their counterparts who are financially handicapped from assessing formal education.
He underscored poverty, parental pressure, misplaced priorities and lack of support, as the key factors that constrain most gifted children in the country from attaining their potentials, stressing that the only way the country could overcome the mounting problems of unemployment was by harnessing individual talents with a view to making them self-reliant.
According to him, â€œthere are two kinds of people in Nigeria today: those who know their talents but are handicapped in terms of actualising them and those who do not even know their talents at all.Â It is undisputable that a discovered talent is a rare gem of greatness and fortune for the entire society when properly nurtured.
â€œMany who would have been legends had lived and died as common men and it is the society that is worst affected, having been denied the benefits that would have come as a result of these wasted talents that were never discovered.
â€œDiscovery alone is not even enough. Follow-up is very imperative too.Â For instance, a child in Zaria, recently constructed an aeroplane and he was lauded and showcased everywhere on television, but who cares to know about his whereabouts now. This is what we are talking about.
â€œThis should be a collective responsibility and we expect everybody to contribute towards this goal because the essence of life is determined by the number of lives you influenced positively, and this is the main crux of our mission to Nigeria,â€ he said .
Speaking further, the programme coordinator of ACTDF, Mrs Halina Lina Hassan, said about 10 indigent gifted children who excelled in an essay competition it organised in Abuja recently, were already under scholarship, adding that they had also distributed computers to selected schools within the FCT.
She added that the Foundation would extend its programmes to other African countries and hinted that preference would be given to those in the remote areas.