By Olasunkanmi Akoni
NAtional Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has reiterated its resolve to working tirelessly and passionately towards the cause of making life meaningful to street children in Nigeria.
Members of the association made the pledge recently while presenting a commuter Bus and other support materials which include 18 pieces of mattress and a gas cooker to Child Life Line Residential Situated in Ibeshe, a suburb of Ikorodu, Lagos.
Speaking at the occasion, the NAS Capn, who is the National Leader of the Organisation, Prince Ifeanyi Onochie, noted that NAS has recently focused on alleviating the plights of out of school children in Nigeria which is growing at a significantly high rate, going by UNESCO and UNICEF statistics which show that Nigeria accounts for 10.5million of the 61 million out of school children worldwide, adding that 40 percent of Nigerian school children between the age brackets of 6-11 years are out of primary school, apart from 30 percent who drop out while only 54 percent proceed to junior secondary.
Onoche stated further that these worrisome data stirred up emotions, leading to pertinent questions such as: “Where are these out of school or drop-out children located? Why are they not in school? How are they engaging themselves to stay busy? Could they be out in the streets hawking, pilfering etc?”
According to him, “It is against this backdrop that NAS has determined to contribute its quota to arresting this situation by partnering various organizations involved in street child care and welfare initiatives, orphanages and other humanitarian ventures targeting out of school children.”
In her response, the President, Child Life Line, Mrs. Sally Udoma said Child Life Line was set up to make little contributions towards providing a better life for street children.
She therefore, thanked NAS embers for their generosity, kind gesture and interest in helping the needy, particularly the activities of Child Life Line and the efforts to collaborate in creating a better future for the street children, whom according to her, exist in the nook and crannies of the country, who engages in washing plates in restaurants, carrying loads at the market places and being bus conductors among other things as means of survival.
Udoma lamented that the country was losing a lot by not providing opportunity to children on the streets to take advantage of their intelligence through education and training, thereby becoming useful to themselves, their immediate and extended families and the nation at large