…1,200 children get reward By Funmi Ajumobi
This year’s Children’s Day celebrations have brought great hope for children as the National Assembly is standing up for them with the recognition of the need to secure their future through the domestication and implementation of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, in every state of the federation. This is a right step to making the Nigerian child grow in a society that is not hostile while preparing him for a bright future. Inspite of the Child Rights Act, what government seems to have forgotten is, however, that children are the most valuable asset a country can have. Whatever you impart into their lives brings out all the gold, the diamond and other resources needed to build a great nation. To build a nation depends on what values are imparted into the young ones who are the future of the nation. No matter how much a nation budgets for education to empower her young generations, as useful as that may be, without inculcating the right values and ethics in them, they will come out being the cleverer devil. Many parents stopped imparting the right values into the children and neither the schools nor the religious places took it as a major responsibility until we slipped into the decadence that the nation is witnessing today.
Meanwhile, the values that were imparted into many of the children in the 60s and 70s made them well behaved, contented, while ensuring that they turned their eyes away from corruption and crime, and the country was peaceful. Children of that time were told of tales by moonlight that taught honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. Hardly will you see a child so bold as to crush an insect because of the fear of killing what God has created or take what did not belong to him because everyone valued his name, believing that instead of stealing, it was better to go into slavery. As a media house that is interested in nation-building, Vanguard has organized summits to impart this nation’s future generations with values in an age where the common thing about companies is to use children to sell their products. And hardly will you see the companies investing in the future of the children that buy the products. But seeing a company now interested in encouraging good values among the young ones, awarding them based on exemplary character in schools is something that should be applauded. On May 27, when many companies were busy dishing out their products to mark Children’s Day, Ribena went beyond the tradition to award 1,200 children for good values in the maiden edition of the Ribena Good Values Awards.
According to the Managing Director, Suntory Beverage and Food Nigeria Ltd, the makers of Ribena, Mr. Chinedum Okereke, the future of any nation or entity lies heavily on the children. “Whatever legacy we pass on, whether good or bad, could make or mar us as a nation”, he stated, adding that parents, guardians, schools, and government must rise up to their responsibility to ensure that good values and characters are inculcated in the young ones from a tender age. Okereke explained that in many instances, rewards and prizes are handed out for excellent performance in academics and sports, with little recognition for exhibiting good values and character and pointed out that his company, through this Good Values Awards, identifies and spotlights deserving pupils and students who make a difference and go beyond the compulsory or convenient to help others overcome obstacles, and live with integrity. He said the Ribena Bridges to Goodness School Project came out of the recently launched new brand positioning campaign of Ribena – ‘Goodness Made Fun’ to inspire children to make the right value-based choices that would mould them into better individuals and citizens in future and have fun while doing so. A visibly elated Marketing Director, Suntory Beverage and Food Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Rosemary Akpo, expressed delight at the success of the event, stating that the programme is an initiative that is strategically important particularly now that young people in Nigeria are faced with several negative influences (from the society, peers, internet etc) and security issues, which are challenging their development. According to Akpo, the initiative will go a long way in helping to mould right leaders for tomorrow. “We are working at ensuring the Ribena Good Values School programme spreads across the nation and that is why we are partnering with Bridges To Goodness Projects in this first of its kind, program. We are proud that we are supporting the efforts of the parents, guardians and the government to produce young people that will grow with the kind of values that will positively affect lives and also make them relevant in the scheme of national development”, she said. Two awardees each were selected from over 600 private schools in Lagos making the total of 1,200 children recognised as worthy Ambassadors of Ribena Good Values and Character Program. With the attendance of 3,500 children, parents and schools proprietors and proprietress at the maiden event, there is hope for a better future for the country as the company has promised that it will be a long term program that has come to stay and will be extended to every state in Nigeria.
Source : Vanguard