In this edition of the Newsletter, we are delighted to introduce another one of our child protection partners: Dr Esther Onoy-Omita. , Society for Youth Development and Rescue Initiative (SYDRI), Dr Esther Victor Onoyom Ita
Dr Esther runs SYDRI, a home from home for street children in Calabar, Cross Rivers State.
Hi Dr Esther, can you tell us where SYDRI is based?
Yes, SYDRI is based in the South Eastern part of Nigeria in the ancient city of Calabar.
How many children do you help and how old are they?
We support ten children at any one time, most of the children we support are aged between seven and seventeen years old. They are mostly boys.
Can you tell us how SYDRI came about?
I had an only brother, he was a drug addict and lived on the streets. We wanted to help him but we needed a rehabilitation centre where he could be treated and there are none in the South eastern part of Nigeria. As a result we couldn't get him the help he needed. We noticed there were many street children in Calabar at that time and I could imagine what their families were going through. The drive to help these people, came about since we could not help my brother. So we set up SYDRI.
What does SYDRI offer to the street children you help?
At SYDRI we provide shelter and basic care and support for boys, namely: food, clothing and medication. We provide them with a formal basic education and skill acquisition - so they have the basic skills needed to be able to move into work when they are old enough. The centre also provides psychosocial counselling, psychotherapy, recreation, family reintegration and foster parenting. “here, they learn everything a child should learn at home with his parents. They do domestic chores, learn arts and craft, receive moral instructions, values and anything that would change their mind set and make them better people in life.”
What length of time do children stay with you?
The average length of stay is 2 years, but it is for as long as the children need it.
How do the children feel about living at SYDRI?
The boys are very happy to have a roof over their heads, somewhere they can call home. They are grateful for all the services provided by SYDRI because these have given them hope and a future