NIGERIA: Homeless youth receive support
Center responds to needs of youth through rehabilitation program
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate the Bosco Home Child Protection Center in Lagos, Nigeria. The center is a beacon of hope for youth who face uncertainty and despair. Currently, the center can accommodate 20 children, but Salesians are mobilizing to start a new project that will accommodate 80 vulnerable girls and boys. In addition, there is a Salesian Vocational Training Center that provides youth the necessary skills for employment to help them become self-sufficient.
A Salesian described the situation of homeless children in Nigeria. He said, “The city of Lagos, the most populous city with its 24 million inhabitants, has more than 100,000 children living on the streets. The situation they face is not simple. First of all, a differentiation must be made between street children, those who live on the streets of Lagos, and minors who are forced to beg or steal during the day but who still have a home to return to every night. These two situations combined generate very high numbers of children forced into insecurity, theft, delinquency or pick-pocketing. This is caused by extreme poverty, neglect, abuse and domestic violence.”
The center responds to the needs of these youth through a specific rehabilitation program that includes accommodation, meals, education, medical care, clothing, counseling and psychotherapy sessions, acquisition of professional skills, contacts with the family, and reintegration.
According to UNICEF, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the ninth most populous country in the world. By United Nations estimates, Nigeria will be one of the countries responsible for most of the world’s total population increase by 2050. While Nigeria has the second strongest economy in Africa, it also has extreme rates of poverty with 100 million people living on less than $1 a day.
About 64% of households in Nigeria consider themselves to be poor while 32% of households say their economic situation had worsened over a period of one year, according to UNICEF. Poverty still remains one of the most critical challenges facing the country and population growth rates have meant a steady increase in the number of people living in conditions of poverty.
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Salesian Missions – Nigeria
UNICEF – Nigeria