God has deposited in you the power to become. If you fail, it is you; if you succeed, it is you. The Hero lies in you to become. Fact is, everything new must have a beginning and if change is going to come it must start somewhere and the amnesty programmes like these are the change factor the NIGER DELTA needs.
– Tare Edith Yeri MD/CEO BIRTHKINGS.
Recently, ConnectNigeria.com attended and observed the graduation ceremony of some reformed members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND. The company that extended this invitation is Birth Kings. They are one of the many companies that were contracted to help transition the former militants to productive members of the society.The story you are about to read is that of redemption, renewal, new hope and what goes right with the human spirit and good government policy.
Birth Kings Limited (BKL) was established with people in mind and to groom underprivileged young men and women in Nigeria and Africa to become the next generation of heroes and change makers. The name Birth Kings was inspired by their mission as reformers who give birth to kings, and turn followers to leaders. Their core objective is to teach human capital development via specialized training.
The company’s vision is to activate the winning and leadership spirit of their trainees to get to their peak in life, while their mission is to be one of the most successful companies in training young men and women to become kings and change makers. Their values are Excellence, Love, Discipline, and Respect for all.
Tare Yeri, the founder of Birth Kings was very passionate about telling the story of the once feared militants and their zeal and passion to become productive members of society. She explained that Birth Kings came about because she believes that that is what they do; birth Kings by bringing out the Monarchs in individuals.
Programme and Graduation
Birth Kings Reformation Programme graduated its first set of delegates (students) after a core foundation training. The Delegates are set to go for further vocational training in the United Kingdom. The basic prerequisites for the vocational training were foundational Mathematics and English.
With a rich curriculum, the students received a well-rounded foundational training which encompassed physical, mental and spiritual development. Courses included; Mathematics, English Language, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Health Education, Character Development, International Orientation, Sex Education, Management (Anger, Time, Rejection and Money management), Extracurricular (Dancing, Soccer, Singing, Birthday Parties and Plays), Personal Profiling, Value System, Life Skills, Testimonies /Feedback, Counselling Sessions and General Etiquette.
After the intensive training, the graduates presented themselves for the ceremony all gaily dressed and proud of their achievements. The main colour for the event was purple, to signify their royalty. The faculty and students had a lot of positive things to say about the programme.
For the teachers; the major impact they found in the students’ lives was that from the day to day interaction, there were physical and mental changes. They noted a growth in their level of communication, growth in their self-esteem, and a new show of love and respect amongst themselves.
According to one of the teachers, “For them it was a life changing experience. Their response to the programme was awesome. They embraced and welcomed it, because of the mindset they came with, they all wanted change and new beginnings. The knowledge flow was smooth. There was a total transformation in their lives as a whole.”
The students were not paid to take the training, but were well provided for the duration of the training. While this phase of the training has been concluded, they are looking forward to higher learning and becoming useful members of the working class in the near future.
According to a student, “With the skills we’ve all acquired in this reformation programme, in the next 5 years, we hope to see ourselves at the top in various sectors of the economy; oil and gas, Engineering and so on.” Some others stated their desire pay it forward by becoming stakeholders in the Niger/Delta region and partnering with Non-governmental organizations that are working to assist the younger generations.
On a final note the CEO said, “Let’s say it as it is; a lot of people do not believe in programmes like this, they do not believe it will lead to any real and lasting change in the lives of those who were chosen to participate. Their views are obscured by bias and more often than not, they lack any true insight as to what is this ‘Foundation’ truly offers.”
In the end love, respect and humility conquers all. Bearing in mind the humble origins of these young men, we won’t be wrong to say that theirs was truly a transition from darkness to light.