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Change On Their Minds

I have a burden for the youth of my nation and it is toward their cause that my efforts are currently being directed. In the past decade, the corruption in Nigeria has grown worse, the working class has grown weary…and Nigerian youth have grown up alone.

Few positive role models.

No concerned parties to fight for monitoring of TV programming.

No one paying serious attention to the fact that more than 90 percent of our secondary school students recently failed Math and English in University entrance exams because their teachers are unpaid, their classrooms void of furniture, and their bellies empty.

Many young Nigerians have lost hope. Without proper education, they cannot get decent jobs. Even the educated are without employment. Young women are pouring into the cities from the rural outskirts to sell their bodies as a matter of survival. Young men are following the way of the nation’s corrupt leaders—the only examples of “success” they have seen in a while.

The challenges in the way of change are complex and multifaceted but I believe the biggest challenge we face is the tussle for the minds of Nigeria’s youth. Our enemy is formidable because it resides within the very people we are trying to rescue. How do we reach out to minds that have become desensitized to corruption, seared by injustice, and lulled into complacency and self-centeredness through the collective neglect of the people to whom these minds were entrusted?

Movements are internally-bred. It is pointless to attempt to sell the idea of change to a people who have become cynical of promises and schemes. No, change must be inspired from within so our youth will take ownership of their fight. It is with this in mind that about a year ago, I began an informal inquiry into the attitudes of Nigeria’s youth toward social change. I soon caught wind of an “underground” movement of youth who are fighting the odds. What is more? These young leaders are eager to inspire their peers to turn the tide in Nigeria. But they lack resources, training, exposure, and mentors who believe in their ability to make a difference.

Having identified these needs, my sisters and I recently founded Hope Youth Foundation with a vision to come alongside emerging young leaders to equip, mentor, and resource their efforts so they can take hope to their peers!

In a recent post, titled “My Voice Amplified…” a new-found PulseWire sister(Abella) likened Worldpulse to a “battle-field.” The analogy resonates with me. I joined this forum because I want to wield every weapon I have to combat the enemies that have held hostage the minds of Nigeria's youth. Through PulseWire, I intend to reach the farthest corners of the earth to find listeners for the 45 million unheard voices of the youth in Nigeria. I hope to learn from the best, receive encouragement, and give at least as much as I receive to the women I encounter along the way.

Comments

Mei Li's picture

I am listening

I admire the work you are doing! I believe in being a positive mentor in my country for youth as well, who seem to have become desensitized to violence and liken it to entertainment. I can only imagine how hopeless the youth must feel with empty bellies and little to no resources, as you mentioned. But then, women like you take hold and begin to storm forward in alliance with the youth who are aware as well of the problem and wanting to change it.

Pulse Wire has been amazing in educating me about women's and children's needs everywhere. Next year my local yoga studio will host its annual fundraiser and there is already talk about wanting to raise funds to build a school abroad. Pulse Wire gives us all the opportunity to make our needs known, to give voices to the voiceless, and help each other when possible.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

SLaw's picture

Thanks for listening!

Mei Li,

Thank you for your show of support. I am much encouraged by your listening ear and empathizing words. Thank you also for being an advocate for young people.

I am excited to hear about the plans in your local community to start a school abroad! It would be an investment with immeasurable returns. Please keep me posted on those plans. Yes, it's a blessing to have fora like PulseWire on which to connect and collaborate with like-minded women around the world. And you, Mei Li, just brought a smile to my day!

William62's picture

Change On Their Minds

Thank you for your insight post - major challenges that you are facing require the ability to network and bring together people who share common cause. I just read an article about the African Trade Insurance Agency that covered some of the topics you mention. follow this link to learn more at www.ati-aca.org/home-ar.php.

With the incredible mineral wealth in your country, all efforts to get citizen campaigns that address issues that have to be funded by the politicians and leaders are important. INVESTING IN YOUTH has to be a top priority.

Keep moving forward. best wishes

marissabrodney's picture

What powerful writing

Your language is so stark and powerful, you certainly got me to sit up and pay attention. Your work with the Hope Youth Foundation sounds intriguing, and I am eager to see where you take this energy! Keep up the good work!
Best,
Marissa

SLaw's picture

Thank you!

Marissa,

Thank you for your comments and the encouragement. I am glad my words caught your attention. Please pray with us that the voices of Nigeria's youth cause the country's leaders to take action.

Wish you the best in your endeavors!

Farona's picture

Keep challenging yourself !

Nigeria is nation of young blood ! empowering youth is the only tool– unfortunately many politicians never comprehend that.

You’re rising star! You have clear vision and I admire that.

SLaw's picture

Thanks!

Thank you, Farona! Indeed, Nigeria has one of the most youthful populations in the world. In a volatile society like ours, this could mean some serious problems in the near future. The goal of Hope Youth Foundation is to avert potential danger and turn Nigeria's statistics into OPPORTUNITY. Think what an army of educated, determined, socially responsible youth can do for a nation!

Thanks for standing with us, and I wish you success as you face your country's challenges head-on!

Julene's picture

Inspiring

Taking on the challenges of helping the youth of your country is so admirable and very inspiring! Empowering todays youth can have such an amazing ripple effect on the world of tomorrow! I wish you much luck with the Hope Youth Foundation and all that you wish to accomplish with it!

I would love to hear some of your life story. How it was when you were growing up, and what pushed you into pursuing such a noble task of helping the youth of Nigeria?

Namaste,

Julene

SLaw's picture

My Story

Julene,

Thank you for your comments! I am excited that there is a growing awareness that we invest in the future by investing in our youth. I am even more excited that there is a growing movement among this generation of youths who are awakening to the realization that they must fight for their future--with the help of OR IN SPITE OF the decision-makers in their societies.

I had a happy childhood, though the reality that I lived in a broken world constantly loomed over my head like a cloud. I was blessed to have parents who loved me and hoped great things for me. The problems of ethnic or religious conflict, political instability, poverty, and poor infrastructure, while not pleasant, were the “normal” I knew. I was content enough.

I believe it was a foray into books that first got me to consider that the world could be different. I loved to read and though books were expensive and hard to come by, I would scrounge around my parents' old things for books. My mother had enjoyed access to books as a child, and even though times had changed, she desired that her children also had the opportunity to read. She worked as a seamstress from home, and she would save a little money to buy me and my siblings a couple of books a year.

The more I learned of the world, the more discontent I became with it. In junior secondary school, in my literature class, we read the fictional story of a Nigerian woman who found a delinquent young man on the street and decided to invest in him. Through her time and patience, this young man eventually became a responsible member of his society and changed his community for good. This is the first time I remember making the link between investing in young people and shaping our societies for good, and thus began my journey in helping youth. I was about 12 years old.

I feel I should share that I love people--it's almost like a hobby :) I ENJOY loving people, and I enjoy doing my part to meet the needs of others. But I have a definite soft spot for youth!

Love you, Julene! ;)

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