The world last week solemnly marked the International Day for Street Children with the theme, ‘Safe Spaces,’ amidst the current global health challenge. The times deprived this group of children who are already suffering as a result of lack of parental care, the unique privilege to have fun as they usually do at this time of the year as set aside by United Nations Organisation (UNO) to recognise and share in their plight. This day is celebrated every April 12, all over the world.
However, the representative of the Okakuro Group International in Nigeria, Idemabasi Mkpokporo, opined that streets across the world were full of children who had no homes to go to and were therefore the highly vulnerable.
Among them are very gifted and specially talented kids in various skills which leaves one aghast if opportune to be humble enough to go close to and observe them while playing football or practicing boxing or any other skill, you would be amazed how brilliant and good they are in what each of them have chosen to do.
Mkpokporo further stated that like in the present day situation, life becomes more difficult and hazardous for these children. They need to be help. Government and good-spirited individuals who are doing everything possible to cushion the effect of the global health challenge should also look at their direction. They abound everywhere, in street corners, motor parks, stadiums, club houses, markets and under the overhead bridges. Taking proper care of these children will go a very long way in building a better society and indirectly protecting our own children.
“These children are on the streets as a result of what they are experiencing at home- various forms of violent abuse from people who are supposed to care for them. Such dysfunctional behaviour towards them makes them run away from home. Some are even thrown out by their parents or relations. These kids abound around us. To better the society and save the future – our own children, we need to help them in any little way we can. Now, the rule is stay at home. Thousands of them do not have where they can call home. Not to talk of food to eat. Still find them hanging around, exposing themselves to so much danger. Going back to history, most great legends of one form of sports or the other emanated from the streets,” she explained.
Corroborating her submission, the Chief Executive Officer, Russell Smith Group Nigeria, Kayode Adeleke, said his company’s involvement in sponsoring a team like FC Bulmaro, currently playing in the Nigeria League One was primarily because “the club open her doors to these vulnerable children, many of them have exception skills and talents and giving them opportunities to exhibit their talents home and abroad, through FC Bulmaro is an idea we embrace with both hands.”
He revealed that if not for current global health issues a few were chosen by the team to travel with them to Spain for the youth world tournament this April, adding, “We cannot afford but help to save and secure our tomorrow which is the more reason we are working.
“For us as a responsible corporate citizen, in our own very little way, but subtly, we strive to also be innovative in adding impactful social investment values in the areas we recognised genuine need. The reason we like to partner with bodies like Okakuro and FC Bulmaro, whose vision in this venture is in concert with ours.”
Furthermore, Adeleke commended organisations and individuals who in spite of the times remembered this genre members of the human society.
He called on government to provide a place for the children during this period as she was trying to do for the disabled persons in the FCT. “Even if it is using part of the National Stadium in Lagos and Abuja so that it makes it easier for interested bodies and individuals who have the capacity and are willing to help these vulnerable children to be able to do so.
“We should all take responsibility, for our own good,” he stressed.