Chinelo Chikelu, Abuja
National Association of Seadogs, NAS, Pyrate Confraternity, Sahara Deck, celebrated the world literacy day recently with the orphans of the Abuja Orphanage, Karu. The celebration came not just with the presentation of books, food stuffs and essential life materials, but an active reaffirmation of its dedication to the long-term mentorship of the children.
The mentorship comes with its pledge to reassess and update the eLibrary the Abuja branch of the association established years back in the orphanage; and the sponsorship of payments of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) for the orphanage’s senior and junior secondary level students. It is also furnishing, physically challenged orphan, Neiman Suleiman with a wheelchair.
Speaking at the event, the Capone of Sahara Deck, Victor Ofili said being mobile will make young Suleiman more confident and independent rather than dependent on others for simple tasks. Ofili who addressed the children on the importance of education and basic literacy skills of reading and writing told them that as much as many of them have expressed interest to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, fashion designers and a president, they cannot achieve their dreams without learning how to read and to write.
“We have come to read with you today in other to stress the importance of education and literacy without which you cannot achieve your dreams. We encourage you to take your education seriously,” urged Ofili.
Addressing those who lean towards vocational rather than professional career, former National Vice President and Elder, Frank Okafor, while highlighting to the children how to make a good living off their talents also stressed the importance of basic literacy skills.
“While you follow your talent, ensure that you have the basic literacy skills of reading and writing, because those are the things you need to be able to go places, and to avoid being cheated by others. If you use and manage your talents well, you can succeed be it in athleticism, dance, fashion designing among others. Maximize whatever talent God has given you. Don’t undermine anyone’s talent. Wherever you go ensure you what you love, and that what you love requires your talent. Finally, learn to live by the golden rule – to treat others as you would have them treat you,” instructed Okafor.
Handing over the donations of food stuff, books, clothes and baby carriages, worth half a million naira, Ofili encouraged the orphanage to reach out to the seadogs at all times rather than only in times of need.
“This is our adopted charity, which means it’s a specific charity that is close to our heart, and that we have taken on the task to support; and that support is infinite-less,” said the project coordinator and Second Mate of the Sahara Deck Henry Michael-Ihunde.
Commending the association for its long-term support, the orphanage’s Accountant, Felix Inaede said, “Feeding the children alone is not the most important thing, the seadogs are passionate about the lives and future of these children. When life is given to a child, society is safe. Idleness amongst our children is what has kept our society in the shape it is today. And we believe that after the Abuja Orphanage Home there is life. We try to mentor these children to ensure they are better citizens. With the support of the seadogs the children will look up to them.”
Nevertheless, not all children can master the basic literacy skills of reading and writing without special care on how to do so. In fact, Communications Manager at Dyslexia, Obidike Okafor, said reports indicate about 40 million Nigerians have dyslexia, one of the many existing learning disabilities people unconsciously live with.
Responding to inquiries of how it intends to address learning disabilities in the orphanage as part of its corporate social responsibility mentorship programme, Ofili said as a specialized field it requires expertise care. He, however, noted that the association is open to partner with specialized organisations in the field to attend to children with specialized education.