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This Day Newspaper in Nigeria

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									          February 6th 2007 – ThisDay Newspaper page




         Nigeria: Youth 'Corpers' Seek to Make a Difference
                      By Funmi Ogundare Lagos

They are all in their early to mid 20s and are participating in the National
Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. But they care about their peers and are
passionate about spurring them to be innovative, creative and maximise their
potentials and talents for national development. These nine 'corpers', also
want to infuse dynamic change at the temporary and permanent orientation
camps located at Iyana Ipaja and Igando areas of Lagos State, respectively.
And so they formed the Orientation Camp Rehabilitation (OCR), a non-profit
volunteer organisation.

The President, Miss Nkemdilim Uwaje said at the launch of the organisation in
Lagos, that its projects will include, the maintenance of a provision of clean,
safe, healthy and hygienic environment on camp, as well as improving the
organisational, management, learning, recreational and social environment
for corps members.

The projects, estimated to cost a total of N13, 757, 975 are within the
NYSC's Community Development Scheme (CDS). The group of nine (Second
Batch of 2006) came together last October, after the orientation programme.
They had noted the dearth of basic infrastructures and the not-too-conducive
environment at the camp. They resolved to do something about it for future
users.

Relating her personal experience, Uwaje said, "To me in particular, the time
in the orientation camp at Iyana Ipaja was an experience like no other.
Looking back it was fun, but I also remember fighting tears when I found
myself in the mayhem of registration, being shoved by guys three times my
size, stepped on by girls who thought high heels were the best foot wear on
the first day of camp, and being told that registration was closed for the day
after handing over my file to the officer in-charge. I remember wondering
how I would survive 21 days without food, not because I was picky, but
because even in my wildest dreams I had not imagined the state of the
bathrooms.

"After 21 days of matching, reducing my standard of hygiene, playing volley
ball, wandering what kind of bed bugs live in my mattress, getting very
tanned, trying to listen to lectures on the broken public address system and
making a lot of new friends, I left the camp wondering if things really had to
be that way.




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         February 6th 2007 – ThisDay Newspaper page




"The only answer I came up with was ' NO '. I believe that action speaks
louder than words and that someone always has to take the first step. At a
weekend after camp, we celebrated surviving the camp at my house, with a
lot of food and drinks, I raised the idea of OCR and everyone was supportive.
So we set out to write a proposal and submitted it to the State Coordinator,
Mrs. Clara Aramide Babatunde, who was very enthusiastic about the idea and
supported us in creating our own community development."

The group was often asked how it intends to sustain the project after the,
Uwaje said, "we believe that OCR is a vision that can be passed on to corp
members to come and we hope that our dream of a better tomorrow will
come through very soon. Moreover, once a 'Corper', always a 'Corper'. This
special OCR team will always volunteer to challenge and motivate others to
carry on our vision."

The First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu commended the initiative
of the group, saying, "the most valuable asset any nation can possess and be
proud of, is the quality of her human resources, particularly her youths who
are the hope of a bright future. It is therefore important that everyone who
cares for the future should pledge their support towards ensuring the
successful actualisation of the project." She led the way by issuing the Group
a cheque for N1 million naira.

The Chief Executive and Vice Chairman, National Communications
Commission (NCC), Chief Ernest Ndukwe, represented by the Commission's
Director of Legal studies, Mr. Steven Andzenge also commended the group
for its initiative. "We must commend them for this binitiative, we must help
them transfer their ideas, into reality, by giving all the necessary moral and
financial support. They are prepared to give their widows might in support of
a cause they believe in.

"Throughout the world, people who have affected the world positively have
identified problems in a given situation; they felt challenged and
consequently initiated a course of action to deal with the problem. In many
occasions they have had to make personal sacrifices in terms of resources,
energy, time and sometimes even their lives for the benefit of humanity or
mankind. Their motivation was not for personal benefit or an expectation of a
benefit but a desire to do something better and positively for society."

Other donations were subsequently received by the organisation.




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