By Cosmas Omegoh
Africa’s child rights protection organisation, African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), has commenced its week-long 7th anniversary with a renewed move to end child-witch branding and to raise funds for the education children in the riverine communities.
The founder and Executive Director of ACAEDF Mr. David Umem said the event which will take place on May 25, 2021 at ACAEDF Crescent, Ikot Afaha, Eket, Akwa Ibom State is geared towards commemorating the agency’s seven years of existence in Nigeria and across Africa; top dignitaries and notable child rights promoters across the continent will be in attendance.
He recalled that ACAEDF over the years had rescued and transformed over 234 children across the country through its intervention process with the help of its team of experts and care givers.
He said the event which is themed: “Children for Change Celebration,” is designed to also raise funds for the establishment of schools and ICT learning centres in various riverine communities.
The anniversary which commenced on the May 21, 2021, proper, will feature fashion show on May 25, and be livestreamed across all social media handles (@Acaedf). It is geared towards raising awareness and donations to support education and potable water supply for children in riverine communities in the country.
He said since its inception in 2014, ACAEDF had been mobilising people and resources to advocate, protect, and proactively provide interventions especially against child-witch branding and other forms of abuses. He noted that the foundation’s provable track records especially within its community of practice include: rescue and sheltering homeless children accused of witchcraft, provision of quality education both to sheltered children and those on Home Support Programme, and reunification and reintegration of the rescued children into the society.
According to him, the foundation’s multi-purpose childcare centre called “Land of Hope,” is equipped with in-house hospital, skills/vocational training centre, library, children’s parliament, sporting/recreational facilities, residential areas amongst others.
He noted that “our vision is to provide every child with the audacity to hope for a better life and an envisaged future. The foundation came into existence in the first place because we saw the ever widening gap between child abuse and timely interventions by the authorities. The situations of child witch branding which is championed by adults and parents whose duty is to protect these children ignited in us the need to intervene and provide direct and immediate aid to these children whose rights have been greatly abused.
“Also, beyond our intervention programmes, we have in place, an established structure used to propagate the message of hope and build top of mind awareness on child right acts through community intervention programmes. We enjoin every Nigerian to make an effort to help at least one child every day, that way, the message of hope would be extended to everyone across the continent.
“It is vital to also state that in the actual sense, what we are celebrating the people; our team of dedicated experts and over 1,000 children, young adults, parents and communities who have been impacted by our campaigns and interventions. In the coming future, we hope to create a sustainable and a thriving environment free from all form of child abuse. My utmost gratitude also goes to my dedicated team who works tirelessly to ensure that the purpose of this organisation is actualised,” Mr. Umem added.
The Director for Child Development, ACAEDF, Mr. Nsidibe Orok reiterated the organisation’s commitment towards child-right protection in the continent. “As a not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation, we aspire for a society free of child witch branding and all forms of child abuse. This aspiration has informed our commitment in the cause of our seven years of existence. The team has shown its commitment through active and impactful contributions in putting an end to all forms of child abuse and witch hunting.
“Currently, we are collaborating with the riverine communities across the Niger Delta on methods to improve access to qualitative education.
“These communities have been completely forgotten in terms of provision of basic amenities like clean water, schools, healthcare facilities, good roads, electricity amongst others, and thus, this makes children from these areas vulnerable to adoption of criminal behaviors and other social anomalies. We seek partners particularly in using ICT for qualitative and sustainable education to improve the lives of a vast population of people especially children in riverine communities.”
Among the activities lined up for commemoration of the foundation’s anniversary are press briefing, raffle tickets for community development fashion show, music performance and poetry, cocktail events, and a novelty football match.
The event is geared towards raising funds for education development in selected riverine communities, fashion parade by children and beneficiaries of the foundation and other celebratory activities.
To support the ACAEDF in its commitment to ending all forms of child abuse and incapacitation, participants are advised to follow the foundation across all their social platforms @acaedfng or visit acaedf.org for updates and feedbacks regarding the upcoming anniversary.