NGO: Preventing Youth Vulnerability, a Collective Responsibility

Sunday Ehigiator writes on a recent public enlightenment lecture on curbing youth vulnerability, themed, “Our Youth, Our Future” organised by Sisters in the Deen Foundation (SIDF) Orphanage Home in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development

Olu Jacobs

IJuvenile delinquency is described as the habitual committing of criminal acts or offences by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminality prosecution is possible.  Every society often witness an array of gangs who have become nuisance to the society why the vulnerable ones have been left to fend for themselves. There are guinea cases of orphans who are left to their fate. But majority are ‘self- inflicted’ having been neglected by the parents who have failed in their parental duties.

In its second year, in 2002, SIDF was able to give voice to the voiceless sector of the society by educating 255 members of the public on the significance of social and economic inclusion of Orphans and Vulnerable Youth for the betterment of the society by extension the nation and the world at large.

This year, the management of the home collaborated with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development to educate the public about some of the causes of vulnerability and how to handle them to reduce the alarming increase of this social problem which remains a threat to attaining the peaceful nation we all desire. The second annual lecture, organized during the month of Ramadan, took place on March 25. The lecture paraded top Islamic Clerics, Moslem Faithful and top management of the home addressed the issues raised/

The SIDF Orphanage Home which was first set out as a “Truth Bearer”, is a platform consisting of Muslims Sisters with the aim of nurturing their faith and makes themselves better representative of true Islamic virtues. And having identified the needs of the orphans and the vulnerable, they decided to float an orphanage home which was officially commissioned on October 1st 2021.  Over the last 16 months, the home has become a transformational center where orphans and the vulnerable in the society are molded.

In her opening remarks, Chairperson, SIDF Dr. Nurat Akinlabi Balalola said Baytu Shekeenah is a story of gratitude: “The SIDF emanated from the Truth Bearer Platform, where we motivate ourselves by sharing knowledge on how to forge ahead in life in line with Islamic virtue

“We are here to address the menace of youth problem and finding solutions to it. Last year’s lecture was to educate people about the importance of social and economic inclusion for vulnerable but today is to address the problems with the aim of curbing it. We recognize the United Nations voice that no Sustainable Development Goals can work without peace.

“In addressing youth vulnerability, we also observed that most of the youth we come across, their trouble emanated from troubled homes and they become endemic to the society. It is either one partner neglected the children or some can’t take care of their children because they are not financially buoyant. Even a single mother is going through a lot. This becomes endemic which turns to menace in the society. So, we are collaborating with the government to see how we can reduce this to the barest minimum we can. We are not establishing just an orphanage home but we want to get involved, find solutions to the youth vulnerability and eliminate it.

In her speech, Chairperson, BoT of the Foundation, Hajia Rafat Sanusi commended her team for their dedication to this noble cause: “From the inception, when we got the approval to accommodate children in the home, we have tried our best. We also have adult that we are sponsoring in the university. We are proposing a permanent site in Epe to develop a massive all-encompassing building to take more and more children. Apart from the children in the orphanage, we are also working on how to take vulnerable children out of the street, how to secure them.”

“There is an adage that if you train a woman, you train a nation. If you are able to train or impact a group of vulnerable children to become somebody in life, they too will replicate themselves positively and, in the process, we will have a better society.” And on how the youth vulnerability can be prevented? She said family has a role to play: “Like a mother, it is a nuclear family that builds an extended family, that build the community then to the larger society. That is why we are focusing on the home. A child that is not well trained will later become a problem to the society and the multiple effect we affect all of us. So, it is a collective responsibility to stamp this problem out of our society.”

Corroborating her team, Welfare Officer of the Foundation, Hajia Bashirat Oladosu said it has been an eventful journey: “It hasn’t been that easy but we have been able to achieve a lot. We have touched a lot of lives and even reaching out to families. We are delighted that we have been able to take some children out of the street. We have some in the university; those ones are not resident. We have about 13 that have passed through us. Five of them have been re-united with their families.

“The situation of the youth in the country and globally is worrisome. The effect of the social media and all that. We need to create more awareness and those who are already on the street should be rehabilitee.”

While admonishing the participants to continue to be a good example to emulate, guest of honour, Hon. Justice Sherifat Solebo said the Holy Quran is very clear about the duty as parents: “Husband is the caretaker and protector of his home.”

While advising participants, particularly mothers, Solebo said they should always be at the forefront for ensuring that their offspring are on the right track in the areas of education, which is the only liberator from the shackle of poverty.

In his remarks, Mr. Eyiowuawi Sikiru (Representing Director of Social Welfare, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development), Mrs. Jaiyeola Oluwatoyin, commended the Foundation for putting together the programme. Sikiru believes parents all have one role or the other to play, because “the nation emanates from the family units which is a reflection of family setting.” He identified some major problems that have played significant roles in juvenile delinquency in the society.  According to him, economic situation, social, family and political institutions have failed: “With the collapse of the economy, the parents are not often financially buoyant. And in running up and down, they neglect their roles.”

In his lecture titled, “Family Conflict Resolution: A Vital Silver Bullet to Addressing Increasing Youth Vulnerability” Director General, Daaru Naim Academy for Sharia Science of Nigeria and lmran, Sheikh lmran AbdulMajeed Eleha said youth menace in the society is beyond family setting.

Eleha said: “If you want good children, it starts from the foundation of who to marry and that is why it becomes imperative to carry out background checks on your prospective spouse morally, spiritually because this plays a key role in our life trajectory.”

Sheikh Eleha also emphasized the need to be spiritually grounded in the life race as Almighty Allah is the only one that can guide true and true.  According to him, being a faithful Muslims goes beyond paying Sakat or being benevolent. But how your conduct by exhibiting moral behaviour in front of the children will help and guide them.

Talking about the impact of parents in showing love, Sheikh Eleha admonished husband and wife to live in harmony, particularly the men, to take care of their responsibilities by providing for their families and taking care of their wives.

Establishing a Peaceful Society: A compelling Duty of All Muslims a lecture delivered by lmam Oluwole Ogba Central Mosque, Shaykh Sa’adallah Bello.

He emphasized the duty of parents in shaping society: “If we want to enjoy peaceful co-existence where our children will be a shining star we need to go back to the basics. Why is this necessary? It is because family unit is like a foundation of a home under construction without supervision or necessary materials that will make it stand the test of time, it will suddenly collapse. These days, may be due to societal pressure, what transpired in the olden days have disappeared. There is no love while spirit of tolerance has gone south. Westernization is paying a big role which attitude doesn’t suit our culture.”

On how to achieve harmony, Sheikh Bello said it is by being tolerant. “Let’s have diversity in thoughts, relationships as it fosters peace. Don’t impose yourself on people, learn how to tolerate opinions of others because there is always ‘sense’ in ‘nonsense’ because each individual is created with his/her uniqueness.”

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