As some of you may or may not be aware, I have been interning at UNHCR Headquarters. I’ve just concluded that internship and I can honestly say a lot of veils have been taken off for me.
My last few posts have been about getting the readers to laugh. But I’m not in the laughing mood this time. I’m just warning you ahead of time. In case you thought I was going to brighten up your day, I am not.
So I interned in UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) working with the staff on issues of SGBV (Sexual and Gender Based Violence) and the safeguarding and protection of refugee children. Causes that are so dear to my heart. About a week ago, I had the opportunity to attend the International Alternative Care Conference. Now “what is Alternative Care?” you ask. Let me explain simply.
What happens to a child when he/she is separated from their parent? What happens to a child when he/she is orphaned? What happens to a child when his/her primary caregivers are unfit or create an unsafe environment for the child? What happens when a child is forced into hard and harmful labour? Or in danger or being trafficked? Or is physically, psychologically or sexual abused in the home and by the parents who are supposed to keep them safe and shield them from the evil that is on earth?
As a country, we have systematically failed to take our children into consideration. And as much as the country as a whole is hurting financially and we older children and adults are out and about hustling for ourselves, who cares for the children that have no one?
An entire agbalagba country can not create a public system for the orphaned and separated children. There’s no foster care system, talkless of having government funded orphanage homes. It is the obligation of the state (Nigeria) to take care of those who cannot care for themselves and even much more these children.
And let’s be real here. When I say “these children”, it’s not like we don’t see them. They are everywhere. Begging on the street. Selling little things here and there. Washing your windows and spoiling your windshield wipers.Falling into all kinds of demeaning life choices
We see them everyday but no one ever talks about it. I’m sure if we check we’ll see that there are millions of “these children” everywhere
NGOs and private citizens try their possible best but without any judicial support for children and in the absence of a government that has any sense or gives a rat’s ass about the rights of the child, it’s all a drop in the ocean.
And we, the great people of Nigeria, the “GIANT” of Africa, toss 50 naira at them so they can leave us alone and then they go to their ghetto homes and give the money to one adult in exchange for sub par shelter and garbage food. We are just a proud for nothing country. Empty barrel making noise. Ordinary Rwanda how many years after their civil war is making more headway in every aspect of life and we just dey here. Raising shoulders up and drinking crude oil that no one wants to buy and we ourselves can not afford
I mean, if we can’t take care of children, what’s the point of even praying for a better Nigeria? who will live in it?