Forty-four percent (44%) of Nigeria’s population is aged 14 years and younger and this adolescence bulge is poised to increase to 73 million by 2020.
Unfortunately, recreational opportunities for the majority of this population are few and far between and are mainly provided at exorbitant prices. Research has shown that in order for young people to develop into thriving and responsible members of society they need to be exposed to good education, peer learning, and skill-based social interactions (National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth).
In preparation for life after school, access to work environments through structured internships combined with civic and leadership education is also important. In Lagos, one of the few organizations working to create the enabling environment for these programmes is the Ovie Brume Foundation. The Foundation engages youth in programmes that place an emphasis on life skills, sports, the arts, and leadership development.
Some of the Foundation’s Activities:
The Foundation runs a Youth Centre that is dedicated to out of classroom learning with a view to make members well rounded individuals. Each week, the Center hosts over 70 public school students between Wednesday and Friday after school.
The Centre runs a Taekwondo class where students are trained at various skill levels. There are currently 40 students in the white belt category, 20 in the yellow belt category and 10 in the blue belt category. In the past, two of the students have represented Ebonyi State, Nigeria in the national Taekwondo competition.
The Foundation also offers dance and swimming through partners such as the Val Dance Studio and the Italian School. An alumni of the Centre also offers supplementary dance classes as his way of giving back to the centre. Over 35 students are enrolled in his classes.
In addition to trainings on extra-curricular activities, the centre is involved in enhancing the academic abilities of the children and exposing them to new ideas and topics. The Information and Communication Technology class caters to over 60 primary and secondary school students who are now looking to produce the Foundation’s newsletter. The Centre’s music class comprises of 3 divisions – Voice Training, which enhances the voice of students; Rudiment of Music, which teaches the theory of music; and Training on Musical Instruments.
The Centre runs the Boys Corner and Girls Corner where topics on health education, entrepreneurship and empowerment are discussed. Also, job placement for students in SS2 and SS3 in the form of structured internships are conducted. During the holiday, students are linked to companies who are in need of interns. This serves as a learning experience for students and helps them define their future careers.
Each child is sponsored by the Foundation through donations from partners and sale of items at the Foundation’s charity store. Together, these programmes impart lifelong knowledge and provide a platform for bringing the community together. Overall, participation in these activities encourages young people to learn, build relationships, and become decent adults in the future.