By Mercy Hill
A Non-Governmental Organization, Purple Ribbon Care Foundation, has called on well-meaning Nigerians to help raise funds to make a movie to sensitize parents, governments and the public about the consequences of child hawking.
The chairman of the foundation, Chioma Okoye, made this call for the empowerment of the girl child. She recounted how she had raised funds in and outside Nollywood for the cancer treatment of Jennifer Epe; Leo Mezie, a Nollywood actor, with kidney issues; Romanus Amuta, who had challenges with his sight; Obi Madubogwu, a diabetic patient, as well as Prince James Uche who had kidney and diabetic illnesses.
‘These funds raised were in millions of Naira and they were all successes to the glory of God,’ she pointed out, while appreciating those whose contributions made the projects to succeed and bring hope to the hopeless.
Chioma said the movie, which was anchored on her experience with a 13-year old girl named Mercy who attempted suicide because of her problem, was aimed at saving others from the destructive consequences of street hawking.
‘While Mercy stayed with me, I was relieved that she had been saved and she was to return to school to learn a trade.
‘She told me she needed to visit her parents after she had been with me for over a month. Days after, I got the devastating news that she committed suicide,’ Chioma said.
It was after Chioma heard this story that she decided to plead with well-meaning Nigerians to help raise the required one hundred million Naira to make the movie in order to enlighten parents and the larger society on the dangers faced by child hawkers.
‘The funds will be used for production and distribution to ensure the widest possible reach for the story. The movie will be screened free in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, and West Africa. Copies on DVD/CVD will also be distributed free.
‘I have lost a couple of people I tried to save through raising funds for this cause, but Mercy’s death shattered me. As I mourned, I realized there were millions still on the streets. They are molested and even as you read this, some are faced with the same plight. We can save them by contributing funds for this movie,’ Chioma explained.