Sunday, May 28, 2017 6:37 pm
By Emeka Okpara
Look closely at this photo. What do you feel, not what you see. Personally, I feel a double paroxysm. Sadness and joy. I tear up when I imagine the circumstances which brought about the image of such a highly underprivileged chap. But I smile bigly( that Donald Trump word!) at the possibility of a soulful laughter by a kid so obviously deprived.
Such is life! There are folks who have so much yet they can’t smile much less laugh to even save their own lives, whereas others, who are absolutely poor, hungry and even sick can afford to laugh in pure and unadulterated happiness.
Let’s keep aside the happy side of this image and pay attention to what’s sad about it. It’s a mud house, for goodness sake in 2017! The kids is practically garbed in rags without a shirt on his back. He looks filthy not surprisingly but also curiously robust-perhaps, because the almighty takes care of even the birds of the air. To crown it all, he doesn’t seem to have access to good education or quality healthcare. His plight as captured above describes the condition of many children in Nigeria. Poverty is real, so real.
So, I consider it obscene to show off my kids ( on Children’s Day) who are well catered for, who are under premium Medical Insurance, who wear clothes from designer shops abroad, who are getting ready for summer holiday in the US, who are chauffeured in tinted SUVs and live in the swankiest parts of the country with 24-hour uninterrupted electricity and fully air-conditioned rooms and latest computer games to play with. I’d rather spare a thought for the deprived children of our country, who are in dire conditions and face even more dire prospects due to no fault of theirs or their parents’. But just because life has dealt them a bad card and their country and the leaders have let them down. Some of them are orphans and take to street life due to lack of support from family and society.
So, my friends, where and what will these poor children be in the next 10-20 years? What will their relationship with your own children be? Will they view each other with angst, envy and distrust or what? Will your pampered kids feel safe with these angry, unhappy neighbors? How have you helped to narrow the gap between the privileged and less privileged children?
You don’t have to answer me right here, but you can by starting something today. You can go out personally to teach them. You can adopt and care for them. You can contribute resources for their well-being. You can join the advocacy for better life for underprivileged children so they can have housing, feeding, education and healthcare. There are many homes for less privileged children. There are many agencies that work basically for their welfare. Please connect with them, and help!
That’s the spirit we must verily verily exude on May 27th, the International Day of the Child. We can significantly change their lives or the course of their lives. We can make presidents, ministers, governors, Executive Directors, managing directors, judges, bankers and engineers out of these indigent children who have little or no assurance for their future. Some of them die because their parents can’t afford N500 or less to treat them for malaria or typhoid caused mainly by unhygienic living.
***Take another look at this image, tell yourself, you yourself, what you feel. And then, do something about the Nigerian child. Start today. May the Great Architect of the Universe bless you as you help the needy children!
Happy Children’s Day to all children especially the less privileged children of our country!