As schools reopened across Nigeria, a journalist with the Guardian Newspapers Limited, publisher of Guardian Newspaper, Sunday Odita, has donated welcome back packs, including school bags, books, writing materials, among others to orphans and less privileged in Aniocha-South and Aniocha North Local Government Areas of Delta State.
The journalist, through his foundation, the Odita Sunday Charity Foundation (TOSC Foundation) put smiles on faces of orphans and less privileged in their thousands through the donation after resumption of academic activities earlier disrupted by oubreak of coronavirus pandemic across the country.
As stated, the welcome back packs would aid the beneficiaries’ hitch-free resumption of academic activities after harsh economic effect occasioned by outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease in Nigeria and its impact on businesses and government revenue generation.
Speaking during the donation recently, Odita said that the 2020 edition of the back-to-school outreach for orphans and less privileged would go a long way as it was coming during such times many were only struggling to survive and get by everyday.
According to him, dozens of schoolbags, exercise books, Math sets, dictionaries, calculators, Bibles, nose masks, face shields, among others were distributed to orphans and less privileged in my community, irrespective of tribe despite disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that no fewer than 400 children benefitted from the foundation’s back-to-school outreach and that plans are being concluded to extend the gestures to other communities across the state for more less privileged, especially orphans.
“The back to school project was strategically planned to take place after the COVID-19 lockdown at a time when primary and secondary schools are about to resume for a new academic year. It is a period parents are under pressure to pay school fees and buy all the necessary books and materials for their children. It is in this light that the TOSC Foundation has chosen to assist the less privileged in our communities. In the last four years, no fewer than 400 less privileged students and pupils from various communities in Delta North benefitted from the project,” he said.
While appreciating the gesture, a beneficiary identified as Ikechukwu, from Idimuje Unor, said that despite not being able to register for the gesture, he was able to get packs that will help him resettle back for academic activities.
“I am an orphan. I have been hearing of Odita Foundation for over three years, but I had never benefitted. I was shocked about three weeks ago when someone told me that the foundation was compiling names of orphans to be given free schoolbags, books, Math sets, biros, textbooks and other school tools. I thought that it would not be possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic and I refused to put down my name.
“But when Odita Foundation came, the children who were waiting for the occasion started dancing and praising God that Odita had arrived. I quickly rushed down to the venue. I was given some items, but not as many as my friends who registered. Next year, I will be the first to register,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Joy Nwokodi, who was said to have been benefiting from TOSC Foundation’s gesture for five years, said that the annual event had lessen his troubles when it comes to catering for his ward’s education’s need.
“I no longer crack my brain or worry myself on how my brother’s kids will go back to school. My brother left the kids behind, but through Odita Foundation, I don’t suffer to send them back to school,” she said.
On his part, the Chairperson, Delta State House of Assembly Commission, Ada Kachikwu, enjoined the children to make judicious use of the welcome back packs through studying and passing with good grades
According to her, I advise that you don’t keep them in the bags. Books are meant to be read and you don’t need to wait for your teachers to force you to read, as the secret of passing examination is constant reading.
“I also want to advice our children to shun cultism and other crimes. If anyone pouches you to join any cult, please, don’t give in and don’t keep it to yourself. Report immediately to your teachers, parents or you come to me. I will take up the fight. Again, parents should not keep quiet. They should take immediate action.
“Lastly, I want our children to be conscious of the fact that young girls and boys are being abused daily; there is no limit to the sex of those that are abused. Both sexes are prone to abuse, so you should be vigilant and conscious of yourselves. Fathers, uncles, aunties, teachers, pastors and relatives engage in sex abuse. So, once anyone touches you where you are not supposed to be touched, report to the appropriate authorities. I am also available to take up the fight,” she said.