Members of Don Bosco Boys in Nigeria, led by Fr. Linus Onyenagubor took to the streets of Lagos, especially Ojodu-Berger and its environs in search of boys that have been disintegrated from their families for one reason or the other.

According to Fr. Linus, who said the program ought to have taken place last month, but that due to the inability of the people handling the park to make the Berger Park available to them, they pushed the program to Friday December 17, when it eventually held.

Don Bosco Boys raises awareness on the dangers and risks of street livelihood on young people.

Provision made for them to change clothing

The program was held at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Yakoyo, Ojodu, Berger, Lagos, where some of the boys played football, while some were seen writing their names, and others were having showers.

“We have provided clothing for them to change. From there, they eat and they now go home.

“We ve made provision for their collection, we check to see which area each of them requires help because there are counselors, whose responsibility is to check who are fresh on the streets.

“We try to integrate those who have been on the streets for so long with their families. We would then decide what to do about them.

Fr. Linus Onyenagubor

“We would also decide either to call them once in a week or twice, we follow them up and see how we could help to know what exactly they want at the end.

“Accoeding to Fr. Linus, our basic aim is to know them and make them realize the danger they face on the streets and help them to get back to normal life.

“This is one of the things we do for them, because what they told me while on the streets is quite different from what they told us during the program.

“I have got to realize that the more they are friendly with good atmosphere, the more they are open for socialization.

“The main thing here is to let them know we care for them. We are here to work with them, not for them, we accompany them to become better persons in the society,” he said.

Data Collection

The brain behind Don Bosco Boys in Nigeria added that the organization operates under St’ Timothy Catholic Church, adding that the organization has a home in Lagos, where the boys are housed.

He said that they could not just accommodate them like that, but that they allow the ministry to send for them.

He explained that they embark on outreach, and go out to look for the boys, and tell the ministry that they have seen some boys and ask if they could be of assistance to them.

“So, they would now step in. They also ask if we can take them or they refer them to different homes.

“We want them to feel that sense of belonging. They need a friendly environment. That’s why we provide such opportunity and environment for them.

“We want the boys to be friendly with us, and by so doing they would be able to tell us the story of their lives.

“We have brought them together under this atmosphere. If you befriend them, I discovered food does not really count much to them.

“First, I want to conquer their hearts, once you conquer their hearts food does not count.

“Since we have their data, we would call them together to come eat free food with medication, could be either once in a month, Fr. Linus added.

“We ask them what they need as well, after which we would then delve into their personal issues.

“Some of them are stranded in Lagos and they don’t know how to raise fund to go back to their places, this is what we do basically with these boys,” he said.

He stated that their mission is to work with the boys on the streets, saying that he was trained as a social worker.

He said that he worked as a counselor in different countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mali, Italy, Spain, but that he has not worked in Nigeria.

According to him, it was time for people to know what Don Bosco Boys is all about.

The Boys

He said that Don Bosco Boys has been in existence for 180 years, and in 140 countries but that their activities in Nigeria has been very low.

“When I was appointed as the Nigerian representative, I told them I wanted everyone to know about our organization (Don Bosco Boys).

“Many of the priests that were handling it before were not on the streets.

“But I am on the streets with these boys and this is my passion.

“In other countries such as Sierra-Leone, the organization is well known. In Nigeria, once we get their data, we would look for a company who would train some of them.

“Though, that’s subject to their behavior, if they behave well, you know once attitude changes, character also changes. Then we would enroll them to learn any job they might wish to learn.

‘Before that is done, the first thing we ensure is to integrate them back to their families.

“We could then assist to pay school fees for any of them, who wants to further his education and as a social worker.

“We have some of them in schools, who usually come for visits.

“Sometimes we call to ask their principals if they were in the school at all. The principal would tell whether they go to school or not,” he said.

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