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With IIDA, it’s 10 years of lifting Nigerian child

L-R: Aisha Alhassan, minister of women affairs and social development; Abimbola Fashola, wife of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing; Chibuyim Nnakwe, overall winner 2017 Indomie Heroes Awards (IIDA); Pawan Sharma, head of Tolaram Nigeria; Betsy Obaseki, wife of Edo State governor, and Gbenga Ashafa, chairman, Senate committee on Land, housing and urban development,<br />at the 2017 Indomie Heroes Awards ceremony in Lagos

Children under the age of 15 account for about 55 per cent of the Nigerian population, reports say. They possess great skills, virtue, character, courage, bravery and innocence. These attributes guide their judgment and reaction to experiences they face daily.

Courage and bravery manifest in different forms: courage of speaking the truth, that of taking the road less travelled and also that of defying all odds. Risking one’s life to save another is also an act of bravery, a noble and heroic feat. Spectacular acts such as these, are carried out by children, but are often ignored. Their strength and valour go unnoticed in the society, because the focus is on adults.

Dufil Prima Foods Plc., makers of Indomie Instant Noodles, have noticed this gap and decided to bridge it, with the birth of Indomie Independence Day Award (IIDA) in 2008. The award is a unique way to celebrate unsung acts of courage in Nigerian children aged 15 and below in the month of Nigeria’s Independence.

‘Ethics is the new competitive environment’, and corporate organisations are evolving new and better ways of impacting on communities they are operating. Dufil is one of such, and through IIDA, a kind of corporate social responsibility platform, it is leading a social revolution.

The company is the vanguard of this new paradigm, one that sees communities’ needs as opportunities to develop ground breaking ideas and demonstrate barrier breaking compassion, to serve communities regardless of social status and to solve longstanding societal problems.

For the past 10 years, the company has used the awards, which is its biggest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platform, to find, recognise and publicly celebrate acts of heroism in Nigerian children.

The organisers disclosed that IIDA extols the exemplary accomplishments of children who have shown courage and determination in situations that ordinarily would bring fear; it is also to encourage excellence and reward merit.

Indomie has been entrenched in the heart of Nigerians as a brand that will go to any length in empowering young Nigerians.

IIDA is a laudable initiative, a one of its kind enterprise that has never been done anywhere else in Nigeria and to the company, this is a job well done for finding and bringing these children to the forefront.

In his keynote Address, the executive director of Caleb Group of Schools, Mr. Graham Stothard, said, “the youth of a nation is its power-house; they have a boundless store of energy, zeal, will, capability and enthusiasm. They have the power to mold the destiny of your Nigeria into their Nigeria. If our society is careless about its youth and fails to engage them in a productive manner, then our society is in danger of facing a destructive and violent youth.”

According to the Head of Marketing, Indomie Instant Noodles, Mr. Manpreet Singh, “the goal of this award is to encourage the acts of heroism in children across the length and breadth of Nigeria by rewarding them with scholarships to facilitate their education so that they become empowered and more productive to the society at large. It is not just for the privileged, but also those who live in obscurity, lack and insecurity. A lot of these children do extraordinary things without being noticed, recognized or celebrated.

“Nigeria is indeed blessed to have young people with this nature of service and milk of human kindness flowing in them. The future of this great country is secured with them as citizens. The impact of their bravery stands as an irrefutable endorsement of the exceptional human ability. To this end, we see a need to groom, recognize and reward these children in our own little way.”

Over the years, IIDA has changed the lives of 27 recipients of the award. It has given their dreams wings to soar. Treasure Obasi, a 2010 recipient, revealed that the award has boosted her morale.

To mark its first decade of activities, IIDA rewarded 10 heroes from the three categories. The top three went home with a scholarship of N1 million each, with a consolatory prize of N250,000 for the remaining winners alongside a crystal plaque to show for their defiant resolve to put others first.

To further widen the reach of this award in getting to and impacting more Nigerian children and to draw participation from all the geo-political zones in the country, Indomie introduced categories at last year’s event, namely Intellectual, Physical and Social Bravery categories.

One of the children celebrated in 2017 is 11-year-old Chibuoyim Nnakwe, who risked his life to save his mother and sustained third degree, burns in the process. Chibuoyim was six years old when a fire broke out in his mother’s shop; while trying to stop his mother from getting burnt to death the fire spread to him “I ran to save my mother, I did not want her to die,” he said. Chibuoyim as the most outstanding winner of the night went home with N1, 500,000.



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