THE GIANT OF AFRICA BECOMES A GIANT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
For Pascal Nwoga, it is all about reaching the children of Nigeria with human rights to change the future of the nation.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is appropriately nicknamed the “Giant of Africa.” But a big population can mean big problems, including human trafficking, being ranked the 8th worst country internationally, and 67 percent of the population living in poverty.
To change this, Youth for Human Rights (YHR) Nigeria representative Pascal Chukwuebuka Nwoga has been delivering human rights education since 2012. “We lack human rights knowledge,” he says, “so I am trying to address that people should understand that our rights must be understood and applied if we actually want to have peace, development and then love in our society.”
Of what inspired him, he says, “I grew up in an environment where some kids are maltreated. These children would work, and they kept working, working, working. It was like enslavement for them. There was a very big discrimination, so I grew up with those memories, and was trying to protect children.”
Nwoga found YHR while pursuing further education in Ghana, where he saw the YHR PSAs on TV. He immediately ordered his first set of YHR materials. On returning to his home state of Enugu, Nigeria, he established his YHR Nigeria chapter and started in his own backyard at the Abakpa Nike Market, where he observed child labor. “Here we have a lot of kids out there that are selling water to survive, helping their parents in one way or the other. Their rights are being violated because when a child should be in school and is out of school in the market selling, that means you are taking his or her right to education. So I went around passing out the booklets,” he says. Nwoga spoke to parents and children alike, and now many of the children are attending school.
Nwoga also works in orphanages, bringing food, water and clothing for the orphans. “That means the orphans won’t feel different from other children who do have parents. That is charity in action; that is human rights in action.”
Joined by friends, he reached out to schools. “Schools are where we can meet the kids. Because when you catch them in the schools, definitely they will assimilate all the knowledge. I started with private schools. But then I wanted to take up government schools. I discovered that in the government schools they were not able to give me the permission to talk to the kids. We needed the government approval.”
“The most favorite thing I do with the program is I meet kids. That is the thing that gives me the most joy. Talking to them, making them smile, laugh, addressing them and trying to make them become responsible.”
Nwoga went to meeting after meeting to get this access, but was regularly rebuffed by officials afraid of opening children’s eyes to their rights. But through six months of persistence, he gained the permissions he needed, opening the door to educating youth and teachers at all levels of the school system. Through this, Nwoga and his team have reached more than 26,000 children in 62 schools.
And he isn’t slowing down. He now has five chapters across Nigeria and delivery in Ghana. “The most favorite thing I do with the program is I meet kids. That is the thing that gives me the most joy. Talking to them, making them smile, laugh, addressing them and trying to make them become responsible.”
Learn more about Pascal Nwoga’s work by watching the documentary on the Scientology Network at Scientology.tv/Pascal-Nwoga.
YOU CAN HELP
Join the international human rights movement by becoming a member of United for Human Rights. UHR assists individuals, educators, organizations and governmental bodies in all parts of the world to raise awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.