Sang Bleu Academy recently visited the less privileged children in Ilasan community, Lekki, to mark Children’s Day. Peter Uzoho who covered the event, reports that the children were showered with love and care by their august visitors

Saturday, May 28, remains a red-letter day to the people of Ilasan, being a day Sang Bleu Academy, Lekki, came to celebrate with the less privileged children in the community, to mark this year’s Children’s Day. While the children of the rich and affluent were relaxing and relishing themselves, at different high class recreation centres, same day, the less privileged children in the community also had a platform to enjoy themselves, removing any dull moment around them.

The arrival of a white shuttle school bus at the community ground, with staff and pupils of Sang Bleu Academy on board, marked the commencement of the event. Alighting from the bus, the pupils of Sang Beu, decked in bright yellow T-shirts over blue Jean trousers, fed their eyes as they gazed round the new environment. They’re seeing new people, new building structures, new ambience, and by now, something must be going on in their world of imagination. On their part, the Ilasan children, who have been anxiously waiting from cockcrow to see their visitors were thrown into excitement having seen them arrive finally. To them, the long awaited day has come.

Shortly, the celebration commenced with the singing of the Nigeria’s national anthem as Sang Bleu pupils were asked to lead to act as models for the host children which was part of the reasons for bringing them together. This they did perfectly as they displayed good conduct as well as good knowledge of English phonetics, while their host learnt. While saying the national pledge, all hands were glued right to the chest to show the solemnness in their pledge to fatherland. Meanwhile, as the event was going on, some Sang Bleu pupils who could not come with the school bus were brought in by their parents to take part.

Following was a cursory welcome speech by Head, Sang Bleu Academy, Ms Tobi Ita, in which she expressed her appreciation to the people of the community “for coming out to respond to their invitation which was meant to celebrate the children of the community.” She used the medium to explain briefly the ‘#BlackChildrenRead’, an initiative of the school, urging the children “to take their education seriously”, while assuring them that “books, food and drinks would be given to” them at the event.

Away from the speech, the DJ of the day let out a light music tune which the audience savoured, nodding their heads. However, that was aborted when thug of war, the first kiddies’ game of the day, was introduced to be played by both Sang Bleu Children and Ilasan children. Chief Referee of the game, Ms Juliet Ikhueme, Sang Bleu Academy, briefed the participating children on the rules of the game. Immediately, action kicked off as two selected groups from Sang Bleu children slugged it out, with both sides exerting all energy at their disposal as they pulled their opponent and eventually, a winner emerged.

In the same vein, their counterparts in the community came on board to have their own taste of the battle. This time, the intensity of the game heightened as the children fought aggressively just to grab the prize at stake. Although, winners also emerged here, the officials of the game decided to adopt the ‘no victor, no vanquished’ rule, in order to make both parties happy. They were all rewarded with one book each for participating. Apart from the entertainment aspect of the game, the officials used it to remind the children that African children are also strong, hence advising them to be strong.

Another game introduced for the children was ‘sack race’ in which they were to tuck themselves inside a sack while jumping along a track. Being a hard game, some stumbled in the process, filling the atmosphere with laughter, while others managed to scale through. Other games were played and the participants were equally rewarded with books.
Also featured was traditional exhibition. Sang Bleu children, grouped into three, filed out in different Nigerian attires to showcase the different cultural endowments of the Nigerian people.

The three major tribes in the country, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, were on the spotlight as each group came out and displayed the dress code, mode of greeting and the staple food of the tribes represented. However, this according to the school was to enable the children know where they are coming from and the values. The children also made declaration of their future careers as they marshalled out, clad in the attire of their proposed professions. While some want to become Lawyers, Medical Doctors, others declared they want to becomes Engineers, Nurses, Teachers, Naval officers, Police officers, Road Safety Marshals, and Pilots.

Rounding off the occasion, books, food and drinks were shared to all the children of the community who were present at the event. Also, a child from Sang Bleu Academy gave the less privileged children some clothes and shoes to show love and care to them. At this juncture, the DJ released beautiful tunes he had while the children danced to their taste.
Speaking on the side-line of the event, Head, Sang Bleu Academy, Ms Tobi Ita, said the event was intended to educate the children of the community on the importance of education, and to, on the other hand, let the Sang Bleu children know that there was more to life than the comfort they enjoy, while also helping them to be aware of their responsibility to the society.

“Well, I’m very excited that we were able to bring all the children of this community to come out to celebrate with us. And most importantly, I think that they would learn something from today’s event; we’ve educated them on the importance of reading, we’ve tried to capture them. Though, we might not capture everyone, but I think there is one child here, who has been impacted in one way or the other, and that was our motive. Also, we wanted our own children, the Sang Bleu children, to learn that there is more to life than the comfortable shelter they have, and that there are other people that don’t have as much as they have. And we wanted them to learn that they have responsibility to the society they are in, which is to give back. And I’m very sure they’ve learnt that, “Ms Ita said.
“For the children in this community, we’ve brought some joy for them today and if that’s the good thing that we achieved today, I’m very happy. But I’m really hoping that we’ve imparted one child here to study better and do better,” Ita added.

Giving more insight into the #BlackChildrenRead, an initiative of the school, she said “one of these days, I did mention to the children on assembly, a phrase that goes thus ‘if you don’t want a black man to find something you put it in a book,’ and the pupils were so upset, they didn’t think it was true. And we did a survey and it was proven to be true. We found out that in our environment most people don’t like listening to news. They don’t like getting information. So we wanted to educate our children on the importance of reading and making their own opinion, and not always holding fast to someone else’s opinion because it’s very easy to be deceived if you don’t know the real thing.

“So for us, the ‘BlackChildrenRead’ initiative is not just for our school, rather the whole thing is for everyone in our society to pick it up and try to imbibe in our children the relevance of reading, especially, in this age where we have social media. At least, they should be allowed to have access to social media, get information, and be able to validate the information received. They should be able to check for themselves to see if this thing is true or not and not just to move with the crowd. If we’re able to do that for our country, Nigeria, we will be able to have better children and better citizens. So that’s the reason for the BlackChildrenRead initiative,” Ita explained.

Speaking further, she said, “We decided that a child has to be a total child, not just in academics; they need to have morals and values and understand society and their obligation to society. So this will be the first time that we are reaching out to a community like this,” she said.
However, Sang Bleu children one after the other, shared their happiness and prayed God to bless the less privileged children.

Valeri Uwajeh, an eight-year-old primary four pupil, said, “I feel happy today. I want God to bless them with better things and give them money to pay their school fees.”
Also Chimezie Albert, also eight-year-old primary four, said, “I’m so happy. My prayer is that God should give them wisdom and understanding and he should teach them the right part”.

Similarly, the children of the community in turn thanked Sang Bleu Academy for their benevolence and equally prayed for them. One of them a Chinese national, Rooney Kleu, a seven-year-old primary three pupil said, “I thank Sang Bleu people and I hope to join their school very soon,” Kleu said.

“I want God to make their school bigger so that more people will come to their school. I want God to bless them. They should never run dry of any good thing and may they be protected in Jesus name Amen,” Grace Eme, a thirteen-year-old JSS3 student said.

“I feel happy and it’s really amazing. I have to say a very big thank you to Sang Bleu Academy. May God bless and increase them, and may their children be blessed with knowledge in Jesus name,” 10-year-old primary six pupil, Victoria Samuel said.

On his part, the Bale of Iroko, Ilasan community, Chief Akeem Seriki, who was pulled out of his palace by the noise from the scene of the event, thanked God for the event and prayed for more of such to be coming to the community.
“We thanked God for today’s event; we keep praying that such thing will keep coming to this community so that the children will always be happy,” Seriki said.