An NGO, Centre for Children’s, Education,Health Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), on Wednesday urged the Girl Child not be be left behind educationally and digitally.
The NGO’s Executive Director, Mr Betty Abah, made the call in Lagos, at an event to mark the 2021 International Day of the Girl-Child.
The theme for 2021 International Day of the Girl-Child is “Digital Generation, Our Generation”.
The International Day of the Girl Child is marked globally on every Oct. 11, with the aim of empowering, sensitising and promoting girls’ rights and equality with their male counterparts.
“This programme, is in line with the International Day Of The Girl Child, which is aimed at reminding the world that Nigerian girl child and every other girl child around the globe matters.
“The girl child is an endangered specie that required a special care unlike other person, gender or age grade.
“The girl child is like an egg that, can easily be damaged through sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and all sorts of abuses and that is why we are creating awareness for the need for their safety”, she said.
According to her, most girls do not major in science or engineering studies due to stereotypes, cultural beliefs and sentiments that they will not do well in such professions.
Abah, who enjoined parents to always allow their daughters to major in their choices of studies, urged girls not to allow themselves to be discouraged.
“A girl’s brain is not different from the boy’s”
“Parents should invest in their children’s education, especially the girl children. Women like Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Dr Obi Ezekwesili became who they are today because their parents invested in their education.
“My message to girls everywhere is, you can make it and you are equal to the boy around you, as a woman, you are equal to every man around you, and you can aspire to the highest level.
“The most important thing for you is to dream. Where there’s a will, there will always be a way.
“You may not have the richest of parents, you may not have the richest of resources, you may not have everything working for you.
“Also, you have to discipline yourself because people fall by the wayside into child prostitution and because of excuses. But when you believe in yourself, work hard and pray had, you are going to make it, ” she said.
Another speaker at the event, Adefunke Treasure, a former Assistant Director of Programmes at Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN) , disclosed that many girls were dropping from school.
Treasure said that efforts should be made to encourage more girls to return to schools to make significant impact in the nation.
“It breaks my heart every time I hear about girls being out of school because they are being denied their fundamental human rights.
“The statistics from UNICEF that about 1.3 million Nigerian girls are dropping out of school every year, due to one reason or the other is alarming.
“So, those of you that are still in school should count yourself lucky. Many girls are wishing to be a part of programmes such as this, but didn’t have the opportunity.
“Therefore, I want you to take your education seriously and protect yourselves from anyone who tries to take advantage of you in any way.
“I also want you to remember today that your future is in your hands, and you have the right to own it. You are possible! The future is female,” she said.
The event was attended by school girls from Perfect Praise School, the African Church Model College, Heirs of Salvation School and Champions International College.
The participants were given sanitary pad, note books and other educational items.
They also watched a short documentary on period poverty.
The NGO also used the ceremony to inaugurate a female soccer team known as Carol Queens.