Written by Austine ELEMUE

Helpline advocates early, holistic girl-child dev’t

An Abuja based non-governmental organisation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has called for a holistic and early development of the girl-child to make her strong and independent. 

President of the foundation, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, made the call while speaking at the plenary of 2019 Voice of the Girls' Parliament at the Cyprien Ekwensi Arts and Culture, Area 10, Garki, Abuja, last week. 

According to her, "For us to have an empowered woman, we have to start from the cradle so they have value for themselves and be truly independent. Building up a woman is a task that requires time and commitment, therefore it is a wise step to begin early.  

"Following the popular phrase 'catch them young' we advocate the foundation of building a generation of strong, dependable, strong-willed and innovative women, be laid from now in the hearts of our young girls.  

"We should be mindful of the fact that we all have a role to play in the physical development and mental development of our girls if they must grow up to be strong women. 

"If we want them to be able to stand up and speak for themselves in the face of bullies, sexual opportunists, teacher-female student oppression and other environmental challenges the girl-child is prone to face, we have to bring them up in a society that enables, encourages them to speak up! We have to teach them to find their voice and use it!" 

According to her, the NGO, having recognized this, has resolved to bring them out in such fora where they would meet accomplished women, learn from them and be encouraged by them through interactions and story-telling. 

In her remarks, the Acting Secretary of FCT Social Development Secretariat, Hajia Safiya Umar, called on the participants to see the girl child a vital tool for national development. 

While commending the NGO for championship programmes that moulds the girl-child, she however enjoined all stakeholders to join hands in rebuilding the girl child in the country. 

The two-day plenary, which had the theme: "I Have a Voice: Protect My Future" witnessed several female dignitaries in attendance.     



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