By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent
Girl Child advocates, Perpetua Ugbang and Lillian Oyama have called on governments at all levels and civil society organisations to engage in programs that will create awareness to end all forms of illiteracy in the state and country.
The duo made the call recently in Calabar at an event to celebrate the 2018 edition of the International Day of the Girl Child.
Ugbang, who is the president and founder of the Perpetua Ugbang foundation averred that: “I call on both the government and Civil Society Organisations to rise to the challenge of taking action and continue to raise awareness to end all forms of girl child illiteracy, trafficking and equipping girls with the knowledge and resources to determine their full potentials.”
She also noted that: “As part of our vision to support the provision of quality education, healthcare, leadership development and advocacy through program implementation as well as drives for sustainable development, we recently sent 50 vulnerable children back to school (and) from statistics within one year of operation, about 758 persons (males, females, youths and children) have benefited from our various programs, interventions such as educational scholarship, mentoring, motivational seminars and health outreaches.”
On her part, Oyama who is the president and founder of Second Chance Initiative encouraged the girls to keep pushing despite the challenges facing the girl child including inequality, abuses of several types and early marriage.
Enjoining the girls to shout louder when they find themselves in places of risk when they have no voice, “When you find yourselves in places where you have no voice, shout louder, with your experience from the home, you have to do that competing with the male folk. As we celebrate this day, millions of girls are trafficked, victims of rape, early marriage, we want it to stop.
“Our girls are very strong; they are faced with very many challenges, ranging from managing the monthly menses and going to school, faced with men who force them into sexual abuse. I call on girls all over the work to make informed choices. We are trying to discourage teenage pregnancy; stay in school and study hard, learn from your mentors, they will provide you with relevant information.”
A total of 100 students from Government Secondary School State Housing Estate, Government Girls Secondary School Big Qua, West African Peoples Institute and Fruitful Vine International Secondary School, all in Calabar participated in the event which featured a spelling bee competition for three out of the four participating schools with Government Secondary School State Housing emerged winner of the competition.
The runner ups were presented with certificates of participation while motivational books were presented to the best students in the contest.
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Mr. Godfrey Kekong in his remarks said that: “This is quite a big day for us, when we talk about the girl child we talk about our mothers, without the girl, we won’t have mothers. The girl is the beginning of womanhood. Today we join the rest of the world to celebrate the girl child. The girl child needs to be handled with care to enable them fit into the society.
“Red Cross is found everywhere, always prepared to support all in need. With our mandate as a society, we have been doing a lot in the State, with the refugee influx into Cross River State, the society has been trying to mitigate the gender based violence of the girl child in this crisis situation.”
Kekong commended the Perpetua Ugbang foundation, the HIFASS LOPIN 3 and the Second Chance Initiative for their contributions to the success of the event.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.