NIGERIA: Street children are focus of new movie
New film ‘The Oratory’ highlights the plight of street children across the country
(MissionNewswire) The plight of street children in Nigeria and the work of Salesian missionaries with them was recently highlighted in “The Oratory,” a film by The Nollywood Factory in collaboration with Salesians of Don Bosco. The movie was directed by Obi Emelonye, a Nigerian film director, and produced by Dr. Cyril Odia, a Nigerian Salesian priest presently serving in Dublin, Ireland. The movie raises awareness of homeless and street children in Nigeria, according to an article in the Nigerian publication Vanguard.
The film has a mix of both Nigerian and international movie stars and features street children in Lagos. “The Oratory” was filmed at locations in Rome and Turin, Italy; Atlanta, Georgia, United States; and Lagos, Nigeria. The movie takes viewers through the life of Father Michael Simmons, an American Catholic priest on a missionary trip from Turin to Ikoyi, Lagos. Once in Lagos, Fr. Simmons witnesses the harsh life of street children in Makoko and resolves to help them. To do that, Fr. Simmons must confront Shuga, a dangerous Makoko kingpin who has the street boys locked in criminal servitude.
According to the Vanguard article, Gbenga Adebija, the chairman of the organizing committee of the premiere, said, “’The Oratory’ is not just a movie, it is actually an integral aspect of a multi-dimensional initiative of Salesians of Don Bosco, which not only reminds us individually and as a collective of our civic responsibilities towards street children, but it’s aimed at creating an inclusionary framework for the upliftment of homeless, delinquent and juvenile youths who are at risk of negative social issues such as violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and crime.”
The Salesian-run Bosco Boys Home in Lagos has been a refuge and life-changing program for many homeless and at-risk youth. In the Vanguard article, one young man said, “The experience on the street was not really an easy one. I faced a lot of hardships and dangers on the streets; lack of food, clean water and adequate health care.”
He went on to say. “I really appreciate the good Samaritan who found me and took me to Alakara Juvenile Welfare Centre to stay before I was transferred to Bosco Boys Home. I will say a lot has been done since I entered Bosco Boys Home. I was able to get in touch with my parents, enrolled in school and a lot of positive attitudes have been imbedded in me.”
Once youth are part of the Bosco Boys program, they are provided counseling, skills training and daily support. The goal is to help prepare them for the next stage of life. Family reunification takes place later if it is possible. Salesian staff work with the family and each boy to help reintegrate him into family life and then follow up with the family to ensure that all is well and address ongoing challenges.
According to the World Bank, 47.3 percent of Nigerians, or 98 million people, live in multidimensional poverty. Most of them are located in northern Nigeria. This poverty rate does not include Borno State, where insurgency has prevented data collection. Poverty 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
World Bank – Nigeria