Richard Ginika Izuora
Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has organized an inaugural 3-day residential workshop for about 160 boys selected from secondary schools, special correctional centres, and orphanage homes across the state, saying it is time to pay closer attention to the issues affecting the boy-child.
The workshop, with the theme: “The 21st Century Boy Child: Creating a Vision for Transformation,” is an essential component of the novel Boy Child Initiative of the Office of the Lagos First Lady designed to bring issues affecting boys to the front burner and proffer workable solutions.
She said the objectives of the initiative are to raise awareness on the rights and welfare of the boy child, promote educational opportunities to male children, especially the indigent, facilitate the rehabilitation of the vulnerable boy child through referrals, and build a new generation of transformed male children who will contribute positively to the society.
“The idea is that we want to catch our boys young and make them be part of the solutions and not add to the challenges confronting our nation.
“Also, by the nature and perception of the Boy Child as being strong and resilient, it has been observed that society tends to pay little or no attention to issues affecting male children.
“There is a lot happening out there. We have children committing suicide; we have youths involved in all sorts of social vices and so on. This is why we have decided to put issues of the boy child on the front burner with this initiative,” the First Lady said.
As part of the workshop, participants were taken on a tour of the Lagos State Agricultural Training Institute, Araga in Epe to stimulate their interest in farming and agricultural value chains which are critical to guarantee food security, while they thereafter proceeded to the Lagos State Model College, Badore, Ajah for the residential training which was facilitated by seasoned subject-matter experts.
Topics include “Security and You, Drug Abuse and Cultism, Counseling and Mental Health, Vocational Education, Media Literacy, Family Values, Civic Responsibility, Entrepreneurship, Career Path Finding, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and Child Rights, Self-Esteem, Personal Hygiene, and Etiquette,” among others.
Also, there were two-panel sessions on the “Role of Community in Education and Boy Child Advocacy,” and “Equipping Yourself for the Future.”
Other activities include mini-football tournaments, table tennis competitions, basketball, and indoor sports including soccer table games, chess board games, monopoly, scrabble, magic cube, skating, waste ring game, skipping rope game, Ludo and others.
In their goodwill messages, Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Olugbemiga Aina; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Abayomi Abolaji respectively harped on the need for participants to shun social vices and concentrate on their academics.
They said it was important for the boys to focus on their academics in order to gain the necessary skills that would create essential value for them in the future, adding that it was crucial for them to abstain from vices that could impede their education and negatively impact their future.
The First Lady also seized the opportunity of the workshop to renovate the senior school dormitory, dining hall, and clinic of the Lagos State Model College, Badore, Ajah, while some sporting items were donated to both the senior and junior school of the college including two table tennis boards, new football goal post net and field linings, as well as basketball stand, among others.