The joy of every mother, family and society is to watch their children grow and acquire the potentials of becoming the future leaders. To this end, the future holds nothing for any society whose youths are lagging behind with little or no leadership values.
This was the situation that threw a challenge to Mother of Good Counsel Initiative (MOGCI), a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) led by Lady Doris Onyeneke, whose effort to recover and rehabilitate abandoned girls in the street has started paying off after one year experience with rejected girls.
MOGCI established Mater Dei Care Centre to recover and give the recovered street girls a reason to live again and to re-open a closed chapter of their lives. To Lady Doris Onyeneke Executive Director, a strong belief in the saying “give a man fish, you feed him for one day but teach a man how to fish with a net, you feed him for life”, is a driving force behind the whole move.
The thought of feeding for life which pushed MOGCI, to embark on skill acquisition for 60 girls at the Mater Dei Girls Centre an arm of MOGCI seemed to be paying off with the girls showing interest in their new found lives.
Girls who were before now abandoned by their parents and environment, now proudly show their talents in the entrepreneurial training taking place at the centre under nine programmes; Mentorship, Fashion and deigning, Hair dressing, Computer training, Catering, art/fascinator, Bead making, Wire works Agro-business and extra-mural classes.
A release by the centre said that “Mater Dei Girls Centre is not just a skill acquisition centre but also a place to holistically reform and enhance the status of girls and young women.
“MOGCI has also succeeded in sending some of our girls who dropped out of school back to school. Employment opportunities have already been provided for 30 girls in the catering department on graduation in one of the biggest eateries in Port Harcourt”.
Many of the girls have been united with their families who before now disowned them because of their misconducts and shameful activities in their environment.
A display of the girls products like the made cloths, beads and others, showcased a touch of quality and readiness on the side of the girls to become employers of labour in the state.
These are mothers of tomorrow, for a person to become a woman, she must first become a girl and getting her out of the street would save the children she must give birth to tomorrow.
The role of building the future leaders should be the duty of all. No wonder Lady Onyeneke decried the challenges faced in the running of the centre,” finance is a big challenge.
“Our safe space (hostel) can only accommodate six abused girls at a time and we also need computers, sewing machines and other equipment to empower those that would soon graduate to become full fledged entrepreneurs”.
She however commended the Board of Directors of MOGCI, corporate organizations and other philanthropists who have partnered with her to make things happen. Some of these girls who joined cult in the past now look forward to a brighter future with the skills they are acquiring from the centre.
In her contribution, the coordinator of Mother of Good Counsel Initiative, Obiageli Oraka-Oipoghe said the success story of the centre is “mind blowing as the centre is gaining momentum because of the many visible achievements in the lives of the girls.
“The best investment is the one made in human beings. We correct the wrong information that uneducated women cannot worth anything in the society”, Oraka-Oipoghe noted.
One of the girls, Idara, said she was abandoned by her mother to co-habit with a man for 12 years.
“I was left to take care of myself for these number of years without anybody but a hostile environment that only used me at will but thanks to this NGO that has restored my life and given me a future.
“I will soon graduate from the computer training and I am preparing for WAEC exam. In addition, I have been united with my mother and my six other siblings, a battle fought by the NGO even against will”.
Precious and Mary who are 15 and 16 years respectively, had dropped out of school because of teenage pregnancy. Today, thanks to MOGCI, they have been sent back to school to reconnect with their career and future.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the effort on the recovery mission of MOGCI will not only reduce the social, vises in the society, it will also reduce unemployment that has battled the country to a stand still.