Thursday, July 4, 2013

SAGE: Body of bright youth determined to make a difference snubbed

SAGE: Body of bright youth determined to make a difference snubbed


They were to leave Calabar, capital of Cross River State on Wednesday, 3 July, 2013; for Makurdi in Benue State for a national competition but by 4 July, the youth were yet to depart. There was no money to fuel their school bus, we gathered.
Above and below, craftworks produced by SAGE UCISS members.
However, a source close to the office of the Principal, University of Calabar International Secondary School (UCISS), later called mauricearchibongtravels to say: “money has finally been released, so the students are likely to leave for Makurdi today (Thursday, 4 July)”.
For young ones going for a contest scheduled to hold on Thursday and Friday (4 and 5 July), it is not out of place to presume they would arrive mentally sapped and physically exhausted. Painfully, these kids, who are members of SAGE, have passed this way before.
Initiated at the California State University Chico, USA; SAGE is an acronym from the abreviation for Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship. Its members are Millenium Development Goal (MDG) Youth Ambassadors and they work to create a dynamic network of pro-active young social entrepreneurs taking actions for the pursuit of the attainment of the MDGs.
Described as a “non-profit Transnational Social Movement Organisation (TSMO), SAGE, which aims “to create the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders, whose innovations and social enterprise, address the major on-net needs of the global community; is currently operating in all continents”, according to one member that spoke to us on condition of anonymity.
It could be recalled that, UCISS SAGE members did Nigeria proud in Ukraine last year, when its leader was elected African Regional Director. Apart from that honour, UCISS also emerged top out of over 40 participating countries. Sadly, they returned unsung and uncelebrated. In fact, their request to meet with Cross River Governor Liyel Imoke, merely elicited a letter from a government official commending the kids for their brilliant outing. But, one must remember that Governor Imoke was ill at the time and receiving treatment abroad.
Whereas President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was hale and hearty, the students’ request to meet him also drew a blank. As one respondent put it: “The children’s letter never got near Mr. President’s desk, otherwise, Dr Goodluck Jonathan would have given them a place during this year’s Children’s Day observance”.
Whatever the case, Sage members are again going through the motion. They are expected to represent Nigeria in international youth festivals in Ghana and Ukraine this July and August; unfortunately, it is doubtful they will make either trip. “If getting money to go to Makurdi was a problem, you might as well take going to Ghana or Ukraine as a pipe-dream”, was the scoff of one observer.
Imagine teenagers teaching abandoned children and junior students in their school art and craftwork production like tie and dye, adire-making, slippers-making, handkerchief-making, and so on as well as giving relief materials to these children.
These long-suffering youths’ triumphs started in May, 2012; when the Craft House of SAGE Team UCISS represented Cross River State at the SAGE National Competition. The event, which took place inside Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, saw Sage Team UCISS, which comprises both senior and junior high school students, emerging third nationwide.
The President of The Craft House of Sage Team UCISS is Kwamina Obo, who was elected African Regional Director, Children League of Nations. The body’s Coordinator is Miss Kristy Oko. However, for fear of possible unpleasant backlash, neither was willing to speak with mauricearchibongtravels.
Among the body’s programme is helping to make future dreams come true for Nigerian youth by teaching them entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, which are sine qua non for successful and fruitful life. The students believe that owing to “Over-emphasis on standardised testing and university preparedness, secondary schools fail to inculcate some important job and career-training skills in their students”. And, this, among others, is what Sage has been working to address.
The youngsters strive to promote better understanding of entrepreneurship, community-service as well as communicating the MDGs through community-based projects. The participants are engaged in hand-on activities as they learn financial literacy skills, social entrepreneurship et cetera, while working on real-life projects. This ultimately creates new small businesses; social enterprises and community service project.
Sage’s reach-out programmes include Operation Feed the Young (OFY), which involves visiting select local primary and nursery schools and teaching pupils certain skills in arts and craft as well as advising them on how to be self-employed after their education; Project Comfort and Sunshine (PCS), bringing comfort and sunshine to prisoners, orphans and the aged at the prison, orphanage and old people’s home, where they donated customised bedcovers, raffia mats, provisions, bathroom-slippers, baby pampers, cloths and food stuff; and, among others, Save the Environment Project, which features planting of grass on bare soil within their school compound to reduce ozone-layer depletion.

No comments:

Post a Comment