By Edobor Harisson
Over the years, children have always been the focus of most parents during festive periods whenever they are making plans of how they will spend budgeted income. Seriously, it is the right of the children to be cared for socially, materially emotionally and financially. However, not many parents live up to their responsibility in those aspects, and worse, do not know that their Wards have rights to enjoy such from them. Although, many parents are aware of their duties and responsibilities, however, they either do not know or believe that children have any right to certain life building and enhancing care from them. This ignorance is not only linked to poverty but also to staunch primordial cultural beliefs. On the other hand, parents in the lower strata of the society strongly believe it is their children’s responsibility to take proper care of them when they are old. There is a saying in my place that seems to validate that assertion and it says: ‘when you give birth to a child, the child will later give birth to you’. This is a strong practice in my place and Africa in general.
Before you are qualified to take care of someone else you should be responsible to yourself first and be independent of your parents and guardians. However, children need not be independent of their parents or guardians before taking care of themselves in some aspects. While growing up in the 90s, some of us had saving box which we kept money we don’t want to spend. It was a common practice back then. And bulk of those money were made from errands we ran for neighbours and gifts from visiting relatives and family friends. And guess what? The boxes were usually opened and the money spent during yuletide.
Gone are those days. This is the 21st century for God sake and things don’t have to remain the same. The world is now moving faster than we had imagined. Now, children can make money doing what adults do. Gloria Effiong, a 17years old senior secondary one student who resides in Lagos, Nigeria narrated her journey into CHILDRENTREPRENEURSHIP. She specialises in weaving of different styles. According to her, one night while asleep, she found herself plating hair in the dream. When she woke up she took interest in plating people’s hair freely initially without having to learn the craft from anyone. This she said she has been doing since 2013 while still in Odot, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. Her skill has brought many people across her way. However, she said not many adults patronize her because they don’t believe in her capability and especially because of her small stature as a child and inexperience but do bring their children for her services. Gloria said she does this only on weekends and during holidays when she doesn’t go to school.
During this festive season, Gloria has been really busy raking in some cool cash doing her stuff while some other children are crying to their parents to buy them Christmas and new year clothes. Gloria who lives in Ogba-Ikeja, only relocated to lagos a year ago but has found bigger opportunities in her new environment which she said pays better. According to her, she can charge up to two thousand naira (#2000, $10) in some cases. With this she said, she has been saving money to meet some of her personal needs, relieve them of some burdens and sometimes assists them.
In the course of the interview with Gloria, her mother who was present interrupted and with a sense of pride said come January 2017 she will send her daughter to go learn the skill formally and be properly equipped for the future. Although Gloria said she aspires to be a Nurse in her educational pursuit but relishes what she has at hand for now. So, who says a child cannot be an Entrepreneur while still going to school and living with his or her parents?