By Ibrahim Ramalan
Across the board, for every 27th of May, children, especially the school-going ones, mark the International Children’s Day with a lot of fun-fare, visitations, mutual exchange of pleasantries and celebration of good life.
International Children’s Day as so initiated by the United Nations in the 1954 is originally earmarked to promote the welfare of the children globally.
Governmental organizations, institutions and non-governmental organizations also key in to show their support for the children and their welfare.
As her way of marking the day, the reigning Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism, Miss Ijapari Ben-Hirki recently extended her hands of benevolence to the less privileged, blind children of the FCT School of the Blind Children, Jabi.
The Jabi School of the Blind, as is popularly called, which was established and is being run by the FCT administration, has about one hundred and thirty eight (138) blind children which are drawn from all over the country.
Apart from government support, these children survive on the occasional philanthropic effort of some spirited individuals and organizations, especially as some of the families of these blind children have abandoned them.
It is in that light, this time around, Miss Ben-Hirki, in collaboration with other spirited organizations and institutions like NOUN, came together to make these children happy, spend time with them, dance with them and make them have a sense of belonging.
Indeed, these blind children’s fate was shined by this Queen’s spirit of benevolence as she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought along with her study materials, plenty rims of Braille papers, food items and toiletries for these children.
In attendance were the contingents from NOUN, Edmundt International Concept, Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation, some of the school teachers and many others.
“Being a beauty pageant goes beyond painting faces, fingers, having your lipstick on or cat walking. It comes with responsibilities and it also demands being selfless,” Miss Ben-Hirki said while addressing the children.
The Queen also made these children understand that they were only blinded by sight, not by fate. Saying that with support like this there was nothing that could stop them from actualizing their dreams as human beings.
Briefing newsmen after the event, the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), who was represented by the Director of Special Study Centre, Public Service Institute of the NOUN, Dr. Muktar Hanif Alhassan, expressed his happiness in partnering with the Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism in showing support to the blind children.
“We are very happy to be associated with Miss Planet NigeriaTourism. Because the university, through its wide variety of its charity programmes, is fully ready to help or partner with any spirited individual or organization to support these disabled children so that we could take away the menace of begging on the streets.
“Also, the University actually has a policy of making education to everybody. I am pleased to inform you that the new Vice Chancellor, in his magnanimity, has approved hundred per cent scholarship for every prisoner that wants to further his or her education,” he pointed out.
The VC also urged the general public to do more in helping these disabled children because they are good assets yet untapped.
In her reaction, the Head-teacher of the School, Regina Dung commended the Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism for taking time out at the school, assuring that these items she donated would be put to the best uses of the children.
Dung said: “I want to seize this opportunity to thank the Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism for making my children smile by showing us support and for bringing in these items – about fifty rims of Braille papers, food items and toiletries.”
“Government is doing its best but government cannot do it alone. That is why we always appreciate the efforts of philanthropic organizations like the churches, mosques and other spirited NGOs like the Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism,” she added.
The Head-teacher therefore called on the well-meaning Nigerians to continue to come into the aid of these disabled children, saying these children have a lot of potentials that if encouraged could become useful to the society.
One of the children, Abdulsalam Adamu, who is a student from Kogi state, thanked the Miss Planet Nigeria Tourism for making their day eventful.