Even though Uncle Bisi graduated first class in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Lagos, he has been working as a driver for Chidinma’s father who does not have a university degree but is well connected to all the top politicians and bank executives in Nigeria. Chidinma got to learn more about Uncle Bisi on the day he came to pick her up from school. Uncle Bisi has two teenage daughters. Labake the first child is about the same age as Chidima. Just like Chidinma, Labake has very big dreams for herself. In the future, Labake wants to serve as the Attorney General of Nigeria and represent Nigeria at the United Nations amongst other things. Instead of developing these dreams the way Chidinma does through community projects and internships, Labake spends her evenings selling cotton buds on the street. During the summer, Labake must go back to the village to work in the market with her grandmother to pay her school fees and contribute to her parent’s rent for a year. Labake’s other sister; Toyin had to drop out of school because her parents cannot afford to send both of them to school. Compared to Chidinma’s ($100/N15,000) pocket money for a week, their combined school fees in a term is $200.
When Chidinma heard this story, she was distraught and wondered what she could do in collaboration with her classmates and Labake’s classmates to get to the root cause of this problem. On Chidinma’s facebook page, she started raising questions about the social inequalities and encouraging her friends to speak to their staff at home about their living situation. On Labake’s end, she mobilized her friends and they went through the Childs Right Act and saw that they have a right to good education and decent living. Chidinma shared a video with Labake about how South African teenagers led by Hector Peterson fought the apartheid system and helped bring it down. The more Labake reflected on her situation, the
more she learned that this was unjust and that the life of every child should matter equally. She decided that she must speak up and fight to see that no Nigerian child is forced to sell on the street and has access to quality education amongst other things. Labake mobilized her classmates to start speaking up about their life issues. In
no time, their twitter hastag #spotlightonsilentpoverty gained momentum amongst secondary school students. They all started asking questions about their privilege and other people’s lack of privilege. A week later, Chidinma brought her classmates together and shared Labake’s story with them. She clarified to the students that Labake was not poor because her dad did not work hard enough but because the Nigerian society favors people who have connections even though on paper it says that every Nigerian has equal access to social benefits.
1. Learn how to analyze and think through materials on important isssues Nigerian youths are facing and have a focused, meaningful and engaging discussions about it
2. To learn how to raise questions about important issues and inspire the culture of curiosity
3. Gain a substantial amount of knowledge about the Child Right Act
4. To sharpen communication and critical thinking skills and how to give useful feedback
1. What are your thoughts about this story?
2. What are some of the social issues you identify in this story? What are the causes?
3. How can Chidinma and Labake ensure that the laws are being followed in Nigeria?
4. Did you know about the child rights act? What do you think about it?
5. Do you think these rules/laws are being followed in Nigeria?
6. Are there any similarities or differences between Labake and Chidinma?
7. How can Chidinma and Labake ensure that the laws are being followed in Nigeria?
8. What do you think about the fact that Labake’s father had a degree, yet couldn’t get a better job and fend adequately for his family; while Chidima’s father, without a university degree is able to comfortably fend for his family?