Whenever I drove pass the junction at the Ministry of Health, Lokoja, Kogi State, I would always see these two children at the traffic point begging: “Aunty please help us, we wan chop please help us”… And I would give them money.
So one day I was thinking why would young children be on the street everyday to beg before they can eat. On this faithful day, 21st of August 2017, I drove to my shop and as I was about to alight from the car, I saw these same two children running up to me and as usual: “Aunty please help us, we want to eat”.
I was shocked to see the same children I often see at the traffic point, but this time they were passing in front of my shop. When they saw me packed, they ran up to me. So I brought them close to myself and promised to give them money if they would agree to be my friends and they accepted.
I took them into the shop and got biscuit for them. So we started to gist. One said her name is Aisha and the other said his name is Abdullahi. How old are you? Aisha replied 9 and Abdullahi said 8. Why do you both beg to eat? They replied: “Our parents no get money”. Where is your Father? Aisha replied he is late. Abdullahi said “him dey.” What about your mother? Aisha replied “my own dey house” and Abdullahi replied same.
Then I figured they both have different parents but Aisha’s dad is late. In order not to bore you with this story, Aisha begs to feed her mum and her little brother, while Abdullahi begs to feed his parents and siblings, since his dad is jobless and they are hungry. Now these parents have already trained these children to beg every day for the family, they would give them 50 Naira to transport to their begging point, and after getting some money from people, these children would return back home to give their parents the money they were able to make for the day.
Aisha had no shoes on but Abdullahi was putting on slippers. So I decided to buy Aisha a pair of slippers, and Abdullahi quickly threw his own slippers away so that I could also get a new pair for him as well. I got new pairs of slippers for them both and I told them not to beg again, that everyday they should come to me and I would give them money to go back home with.
I enlightened them about the dangers of begging on the street, and they promised they would stop.
The following day, they came and Abdullahi reported Aisha to me that she begged still, but Aisha said “Aunty, na just two people”.
When I got to the shop yesterday, I met the both of them already waiting for me. “Aunty give us money we no wan beg today”. I was happy to hear that. So we started to gist again and they told me that their mothers wanted to come and thank me for their new slippers I got for them yesterday. So I said ok, they can come. I gave them money again and they went back home.
Today, I met their mothers already waiting for me in front of my shop. Then I was privileged to interview them and I realized that all what the children told me are true. “Na children people the pity pass na why we no join them beg for road.” This statement was made by one of the mothers. I asked them what businesses they would love to do to enable them feed their families instead of pushing Aisha and Abdullahi out to beg everyday and they both said: “roasting of maize”. What do you need to start this business? And they said: a burner, charcoal and a bag of maize each.
By God’s grace, they have started their businesses, each mother has been empowered and Aisha and Abdullahi will be resuming school.
I couldn’t hold my tears back when I saw the both parents crying and thanking me for assisting them. As they were about to leave, Aisha started crying that she would like to be staying with me henceforth, but I assured her that she can always come to visit me instead.
This is how I met my two new friends Aisha and Abdullahi and am glad they no longer beg.
P.S. you don’t need to have it all before you can assist. Sometimes, all some people need to survive is just that money we recharge our phones with. I did not post this to show that I have too much, neither so that you all can know what I have done. But to let us know that the little we have and feel it is not worth being grateful to God for is all some persons need to survive.
Be grateful for what you have and always give no matter how little it may look.