BY DAYO ADESULU
The maiden edition of Wise Walk Foundation’s “Teens Against Addictions” (TAA) Secondary School Tour has kicked off in Lagos.
The long-anticipated campaign against abuse and addiction which enjoys approval from Lagos State Ministry of Education (Div IV), kicked off this week with over 700 girls at Herbert Macaulay Girls High School, Yaba, Lagos enlightened on the dangers of common addictions and how to avoid them.
TAA is a novel initiative aimed at helping secondary school students avoid and deal with habits and dependencies that can ruin their lives, such as drugs, gambling, sex, gaming, and other addictions. The Foundation also distributed free copies of a book titled “Addictions That Can Ruin A Youth” to all the students.
Speaking on the rationale behind this initiative, Emike Oyemade, Convener and Facilitator, Wise Walk Foundation, said, “Our moral, social, and educational values are deteriorating dramatically, especially among teenagers. Therefore, we seek to help these future leaders unlearn ‘weird’ beliefs about addictions.”
“We cannot pretend to be oblivious to the rising level of abuse and addictions prevalent among teenagers and adolescents in Nigeria. We took up this enormous task in line with our vision to impact and improve the vulnerable by educating for empowerment, enlightening for a purposeful life, and advocating for recovery from abuse and addiction.” Oyemade said.
Sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc, this maiden edition intends to reach over 11,000 secondary school students across 10 schools in Lagos Mainland during the second term in the schools’ calendar. Other schools to be visited include Aje Comprehensive High School, Lagos City College, Wesley Girls’ High School, Eletu Odibo High School, Mainland School, Nawar-Ur-Deen High School, His Glory Plus College, and Strength College.
Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, Executive Director, Zenith Bank Plc, noted that the organization recognizes the need to support campaigns that positively affect the young generation. He said, “As a responsible corporate citizen, giving back to the communities where we carry out business is an integral part of our overall strategy. Zenith Bank is happy to throw its weight behind relevant and impactful campaigns like these.”
Mrs Abiola Oloruntobi, Principal of Herbert Macaulay Girls High School, expressed great delight over the impact of this initiative on the students. In her words, “Our joy is boundless that reputable organizations like Wise Walk Foundation are teaming up with us to make a difference in the lives of our future leader.”
Oloruntobi urged corporate organizations, religious societies, parents, and the public to support initiatives like the TAA. “Instilling the right values through anti-abuse and anti-addiction campaigns will go a long way to ensure that our children turn out good now and in the future.” She added.
Oyemade gave special thanks to the Lagos State Ministry of Education, Zenith Bank PLC, the Principal and Management of Herbert Macaulay Girls High School, all other sponsors and donors, as well as the volunteers.
In her words, “We have the mandate to bring healing, hope, and restoration to our society. Our goal is to build a world without hurts, hopelessness, and hate, where safe people will not be victims and victims will find a safe place.”
Oyemade further stated that the Foundation has not only advocated against abuse and addictions. “Over the years, we have also provided basic human needs for people in distress, promoted entrepreneurship and empowerment programs, provided social support to underserved communities, and advocated for formal education, vocational studies, and life skills,” Oyemade said.
Wise Walk Foundation, a fully registered not-for-profit organization headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is passionate about working with secondary school students, especially in the areas of teenage/youth counselling. In the last four years, the organization has conducted several seminars and workshops on abuse, addictions, and how to recover from these and other youth-related issues.