For the first time since we started grassroots work in Ijegun and its environs in 2013, we had a special forum with the parents and guardians of our wards. The meeting became expedients considering the reports we were getting about the challenges of raising children in a volatile and crime-prone area such as Ijegun, Ijeododo, Abaranje, and Ijagemo and so on.
Few weeks before this meeting, reports came that a sixteen year old girl had committed suicide. And what was her reason? Her mother was pestering her life with many dos and don’ts; harassing her, gauging her, suspecting her every move and disturbing her freedom. She simple felt frustrated and decided to punish her mother by taking her own life. Unfortunately, she once attended our monthly mentoring program and stopped coming. We didn’t get to know her well or bond with her, neither did she bother to reach out to us to share her concerns and frustration with us until the bubble burst.
Of course this was an eye opener to the struggles many youth were having in their relationship with parents. It also confirmed our concern on the need for mentoring; the need for youths to have some adult friends in their lives; one with a listening ear that can journey with them, share their pains and struggles and help them navigate through lives challenges.
Sadly, many of the parents did not show up. We expected over 100 since our youth population is well over 150 but only about 40 of them came. With these, we had a very interactive and engaging session. First, our Executive Director introduced Bestspring Foundation to them and gave an update of our intervention programs in Ijegun. Then she highlighted the success stories and impact on the lives of youths, especially girls whose educational career would have been aborted due to lack of funds or negative influences in the community that continues to result in many getting pregnant as teenagers and dropping out of school.
While warning that the rate of criminality and youth restiveness in the community poses great threat to good upbringing, she urged parents to partner with NGOs like Bestspring Foundation in our bid to shape the lives of their children in the right direction.
This was followed by a question and answer session where many expressed their challenges in rising their teenage children. Many participants voiced their opinions as we all sought solution to the problems raised.
Those that did not understand the motive of Bestspring in Ijegun came to understand and appreciate our huge investment into the lives of their children. They also promised to collaborate with us and ensure full compliance from their wards.
The meeting ended with vote of thanks from one of the parents and closing prayer from the Bestspring Foundation team.