By Tosan Ororo-Oghoshe, author, gender activist
By Yinka Ajayi
Determined to re-orientate the girl-child and youths generally in Delta State, Mrs. Tosan Ororo-Oghoshe, a renowned author, columnist and gender crusader, in this interview, calls on the state government to partner her NGO, Rochcare Foundation, on empowerment of youths and the girl-child. Excerpts:
What informed your setting up an NGO to empower the girl-child and encourage youth development in the country?
When I published my first book in 2002 “Love Tangle”, I realized my story dealt with issues relating to education, development and well-being of the girl child, so I sought to reach out to as many young girls as possible. That brought about the creation of The Girl In Development (TGID). Again, the support I got boosted my interest in the venture. I recall that Mr. Wale Aboderin invited me to his house at the Punch Estate to meet with his wife and Dr. Eleaza Ulinfun, who is an evangelist and an author of several gospel books. I found that encouraging. According to Ulinfun, “Every girl on earth should read Love Tangle”. That statement alone from a renowned author meant so much to me.
What strategies do you intend to adopt to manage the NGO?
Being a writer and a caterer makes it easy to juggle things that I am able to feed my people and arouse their intellect
How do you see teenage pregnancy that is affecting our society today, particularly in Delta State?
As a gender crusader, and having in mind the case of Ese Oruru, I see an urgent need for young girls to be educated about sex as it relates to their bodies. There are at least five mistakes parents make on girls who are not exposed to sex education. They stunt the girls development, their confidence, and building of their economic independence. They also diminish the quality of their lives and ability to make meaningful contribution to their families and society at large. Even when mistakes are made, with sex education, the girl-child is able to retrace her steps. My father abandoned my siblings and I with my mother who was eight months pregnant while still in her teens. So, at a point in my life, I needed someone to take me in for a couple of years, but I couldn’t find. I suffered abuse severally, and this helps you to understand where I am coming from. I met a teenage girl in Oghara, whose mother is dead and her father is in jail. Tired of abuse by relatives, she left home, desirous to get education.
Youths in Delta State particularly are being accused of engaging in kidnapping and ritual killings, tagged “Ghana Bugger”. How do you intend to handle the vice?
I agree there are lots of youthful exuberance that can spin out of control in the area. However, a lot is being done to address the situation. Through the efforts of Rochcare Foundation, DESOPDEC recently sponsored 69 artisansfor the just concluded NABTEB Modula examinations. This effort by Chief Williams Makinde, the Director of DESOPDEC, will go a long way to curb crime and criminality in the area. If organisations like DESOPDEC would make this an annual issue then we will be seeing the end of this ‘Ghana Bugger’ gibberish.
How were you able to manage couples with varied family matters?
I see no constraints. As a content developer, I try to come-up with community development concepts. During the first ever Children’s Day celebration hosted by Ethiope-West LGA, we sold the idea to Hon. Hope and I donated copies of my three children’s books. The passion for what we do far outweigh the constraints. But I wish more people and organisations would support these laudable projects in order to impact the lives of youths in the communities. However, we intend to reach as many corporate bodies and individuals as possible to reach many young people. This month, we are having a two weeks vocational training programme for young people in Ethiope-West LGA in Ogharafe.
Are there plans to partner with other government agencies to reach the youth scattered across Delta and environs?
We have plans to meet with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to see how we can further tackle the problem of youth development and empowerment in the state. But, meanwhile, we are taking the bull by the horns, by tasking ourselves to make desired impacts. The government can help by putting in place basic amenities like electricity, so that the cost of running small businesses will reduce, otherwise what is the use training people who won’t be able to operate due to high cost of running their businesses?.