The joy in their eyes at little things, honesty laced in their every word, their disappointment at a broken promise mellowed by that forgivable spirit never quite able to hold a grudge past the minute. Their lips stained with a ready smile, laughter so rich with sincerity makes you ashamed at your polite chuckle. No wonder Louis Pasteur could say, “When I approach a child he inspires in me two sentiments, tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” Yet sadly, these little treasures always end up suffering the worst attack on society be it politically, morally or economically. In Nigeria alone, according to UNICEF in conjunction with USAID and MDGs, there is a total population of 17.5million orphans and vulnerable children; added to that, there is also no clear government policy to protect and provide for orphans and vulnerable children.
According to Linkachild, a nonprofit organization, there are 80 registered orphanages in the country and by simple calculation, for that number to adequately carter for all the orphans and homeless children in the society each should admit a total of 102,500 children. This is highly impossible with the facilities and space afforded by these orphanages. How many of these children are then left to die daily from lack of care and how many fall as easy preys to evil men?
It is easy to ignore the fact, disbelieve the magnitude of the situation or worse still, not care enough to do something. We scream child abuse and still, we speed on while the groundnut boy runs after us to collect his money, our excuse, TRAFFIC! We frown at the educational system that refuses to provide quality services for the poor yet we yell at that pure water girl that almost hits the car all in her bid to get to the next car by 12pm on a Monday. The hypocrisy of it all is our attempt at charity birthed from our desire to dispose those clothes, shoes and what have you, taking up space in our closet. Disagree? Have you ever stared at your wardrobe and realized you have so many clothes that have not been worn in ages, clothes that you probably would never wear? Being the giver that you are, you decide to let go of those clothes and give them to relatives, neighbors or orphanages… Picking one, you return to your wardrobe saying to yourself that it is still new and who knows maybe you will wear it someday. This goes on until only a few clothes are left to be given, clothes you would not even wear as a dead person yet they are good enough for clarity. This is the unfortunate yet typical scenario of many people even myself, grateful for our good fortune and completely ignorant of the misfortune of others. For many, such homes (orphanages and the likes) have become dumping grounds and once again human have found a way to turn good measures in their favor. Some are givers from their heart and this little act of kindness goes a long way in securing the future of many.
I hope I touch nerves, maybe anger at my audacity or remorse, probably indifferent or just plain pity but whatever the nerve, I pray I send a message because in this present life, there are very few things a man can die for ranging from love to life and even fewer things can a man stand for but like Marian Wright Edelman says, “If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much”. I close with this, dig into your pockets, search your clothes, and ransack your food store and give. Nothing is too little or too much to save a life in the present to secure a hope for the future.
Image gotten from http://news.mongabay.com/2005/0815-ifpri.html