As we drove into the correctional home, we saw four careworn, and cadaverous kids aged between 10 and 15 alighted from a Black Maria, and handed over to the school authority, who were waiting to receive them. They were immediately moved into the secured area, which should now become their new home.
Trust me, it was a shocking sight to behold these young indigent kids conveyed in a Black Maria like criminals. But whilst we wonder, I thought to myself, how else would they have been conveyed?
They are delinquent juvenile, still less than 18 years of age, and who have been convicted by the court to have committed various offenses that deserves appropriate punishments under the law. So, rather than been sentenced to a standard prison, they are incarcerated in a home where they are schooled in morals and academics. This is in view to re-integrate them back into the society as responsible children.
“This particular boy (pointing to the smallest among the four boys) is a criminal, and an ardent chain smoker! Please pay a close attention on him.” This was the instruction given to the care-giver by of one law enforcement agent about a 10 year old boy who was just brought to the center.
It feels really sad and pitiable to see kids who should be under the tutelage and care of their parents condemned to a center where they hardly can enjoy the parental care and affection that they deserve. This can be partly blamed on the parents, or on the community who may have neglected their responsibilities on these wards.
Would it have been better to see these kids roam about the streets, as vagabonds, committing various heinous crimes or being used as child slaves or as instruments of terror? Certainly not! Thus, the government have done well to establish a home where these indigent children are kept and tutored to be responsible wards and future leaders.
At the special school for boys, Oregun Ikeja, the Lagos state government has provided a befitting facility to cater for child offenders and vagabonds in a bid to serve as deterrent to others as well as protect them from committing further crimes.
Although, more needs to be done to improve the school facilities so that the kids can at least enjoy a home away from home. Better social amenities, conducive learning environment, sports facilities, music studio. and other skills acquisition facilities should be provided for the center. We therefore call on social and workers, NGOs and affectionate givers to donate to the center and give these kids a good life even while being remanded.
Speaking with one of the care-givers, he explained that there are four categories of children in the center. These include: Obstinate kids beyond parental control, vagabonds, kids needing protection, and child offenders (including murderers rapist, serial killers, and armed robbers and all manner of offenses).
Among these are those who have been convicted by the court and sentenced to imprisonment but because of they are less than the age of 18, they have to be remanded in the center to serve their punishments, whilst being morally re-orientated.
As part of our social services, The Yes, We Are Winning Foundation(YWAWF) visited the home to celebrate Christmas with the kids. with a bid to make them feel at home; spread the hope of a beautiful future, and promote a winning attitude that would see them embrace purposeful lifestyles.
It was indeed fun-fair as we conducted a party, with singing, dancing, games and motivational talks. The kids were very elated to sing and dance to their favorite songs, as well as demonstrated their singing skills. One boy stood out with his amazing rapping skills. His rhymes were faultless and he entertained the crowd with a mixture of dialects. These talents must be harnessed and developed so that these kids will be self-dependent and responsible adults.
My team members, especially the ladies were challenged to a dancing competition by the kids, and it was a beautiful sight to watch! The kids also relished the snacks, candy, and ice cream provided by our party event vendor, who also provided DJ music, games and other entertainments. Thereafter, each child was given a goodie bag courtesy of the YWAW volunteers and donors.
Some of our members engage the kids in personal conversations and the revelations were amazing. Many of this kids showed deep desire for parental intimacy and care. Some of them have missed home and would love to be shown more affections. One of the kids was said to have requested that one of us comes to visit him regularly since he has no one who visits him like some others kids.
This experience has encouraged us to get more involved in charity and social services as a way of making positive impacts in our society. It has also challenged us to devote more attention to being worthy examples to children, whose characters are being shaped by parental and societal influences.
We have also committed to visiting the center regularly, and to engage the kids in discipleship, mentorship programs, and man-power development. We shall support the skills acquisition program of the school and seek to develop the raw talents of the kids.
It was for us a successful outing and we look forward to more opportunities to spread hope among all men, promote excellence, social justice, and inculcate a winning culture through our social services, social media campaigns and advocacy programs.
Yes, We Are Winning — we care, we educate, we encourage, we empower to win! When we say, YWAW, we say, weCEEEyou!
See our visit to Girls correctional home: https://yeswearewinning.com/event/a-visit-to-the-children-correctional-home/