THE Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) on Friday graduated 36 youths from its Youths Living Above Drug Addiction and Abuse (YOLDA)Programme.
Rev. Sister Agatha Chikelue, the Executive Director, COFP disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on the sidelines of the Graduation and Empowerment ceremony of the graduates in Abuja.
Chikelue said the youths after their rehabilitation were trained on skills acquisition such as tailoring, photography, ICT, videography, driving, hairdressing and hair cutting, pastery making, catering, cobbling, makeup, among others.
She said the YOLDA programme, which started in 2018, graduated 30 youths in 2019 bringing the total number of graduates to 66.
Chikelue said the aim of the programme was to ensure that youths were put on the right track to live more dignified lives in the future.
“A lot of young people are into addiction many because of poverty and unemployment, and we all know the damage it can cause to them and even society.
“We as a peace organisation, saw it was not enough to bring people together to come and talk and dialogue.
“We needed to go an extra mile to bring these youths together to nurture them and help them recover and recover fully from drug addiction and help them live useful lives.”
She said the one year programme was in three phases which are counselling and peacebuilding, medical and empowerment stages.
Chikelue said the beneficiaries went through series of tests such as heart, liver, kidney, SDTs, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis and HIV to determine if they had been affected by the drugs, while those with issues started treatment.
She said the empowerment stage afforded the participants the opportunity to identify skills they had a passion for and the organisation paid for their training and gave them start up kits.
“At the beginning, there were about 60 of them but today we are graduating 36 because some people dropped out along the way.
“We do not end by giving them a certificate; we give them the sum of ₦50,000 to help them start up their business.
“We call them to follow up and monitor them, sometimes they so not even know we are monitoring them and we bring some of them to be the motivators for the next set of beneficiaries.”
She said the beneficiaries were made up of 26 males and 10 females drawn from the FCT and its environs.
One of the beneficiaries, who spoke with NAN, Mr Abednigo Amos, 32 years, said he was addicted to alcohol because he worked in a hotel and was influenced negatively by the lifestyle he was exposed to.
“As I was introduced to the COFP, after two to three months, I started seeing changes, and my body started getting strong. Things I could not do before I am doing them now.
“They foundation has really helped me, they enrolled me in driving school which lasted three months and I have quit my job at the hotel.
“At some point it was not easy getting over the addiction but they kept encouraging us about our peer group and I had to put some friends away so I can fully recover.”
Amos advised youths who were addicted to one from of substance or the other to stay away from them in order to live long and healthy lives.
According to him, any substance you take in order to get you out of problem will never solve the problem; If you want to live a sound healthy life, stay away from drug and people will appreciate you for who you are.
Another beneficiary, 27 years old Pamela Adubasim, thanked the foundation for helping her overcome her two-year addiction to alcohol.
She said the one year programme had changed her life, adding that she was now a caterer, as she called on the youths to stop addiction because of the harm it caused to the health and its effects on the family members and the society. (NAN)
– Jul. 24, 2020 @ 16:09 GMT |