Wadi Ben-Hirki’s desire is to be one who fights for the weak, the disadvantaged, the exploited and the voiceless- especially within the younger generation demography. Her heart reaches out to the less-privileged, disabled and victimized; From the children that fall victim to insurgency, to the innocent young girls that are given up to child marriages.
Wadi Ben-Hirki: Not Too Young To Impact
To achieve these, Wadi set up a Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Charity Organization called, the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation (WBHF), on the 13th of June 2015, at the age of 17. The foundation resonates around the belief that every child has the right to learn and to access quality education that is capable of transforming their lives and their families. The belief is that an educated population is the foundation for sustainable development. To put in another way, the foundation has been achieving, and also seeks to achieve the following:
- Harnessing and focusing the potentials of the less-privileged children towards skills acquisition for the social and economic growth and development of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
- Raising of funds for charity homes, schools and colleges to enable children attend at reduced/no cost.
- Supporting less-privileged children in schools with scholarships and donations of food, shelter, clothing and stationary.
- Giving charitable aid to any child or institution, which the Foundation may deem fit.
Wadi’s inspiration to start the Wadi Ben Hirki foundation is summarized in her words as; “My major inspiration was the fact that millions of children and young adults all over the world have little or no access to basic necessities of life. Since I am also a young adult, I felt I could do the little I can and be the voice of the disadvantaged kids all across the world.”
The Wadi Ben Hirki Foundation: Letting the Rubber Hit the Road
The Foundation, which has its base in Northern Nigeria because of the high incidence of insurgency, prevalence of poor living conditions and illiteracy, has its scope well beyond Northern Nigeria. The foundation has the following major projects:
- The Street2School: An innovation for emergency education for children that roam aimlessly on the streets. It seeks to take as many children as possible off the streets and back to school on an all-expense-paid basis to acquire both formal and informal education, under the tutelage of well-trained teachers, and with basic learning materials that can foster learning and enable vocational skills acquisition. The ultimate aim is to see these children eventually become useful to themselves, their families and society at large.
- Girls Not Wives: This initiative aims at promoting gender equality in the society and reduce/stop child-bride marriages in most developing/under-developed countries in the world, especially in Africa. It is also to ensure that girls have access to quality education and are empowered through workshops, seminars, skills acquisition etc in order to make money for themselves. Another aspect to this project is the fight against female genital mutilation.
- Love in the Midst of War (LITMOW): This project is only run in Northern Nigeria, where there has been high incidences of insurgency and terrorism. This project reaches out to the people who are greatly affected by the Boko Haram attacks especially the children; extending the arms of love to them, supporting them and hoping they are also rehabilitated in the process.
Wadi Ben-Hirki: ‘Every Child is Your Child’ … and Much More
Wadi’s heart rides on the mantra, ‘Every child is your child’. This words are the spine to all the other projects. What Wadi hopes to achieve by this is to achieve a mind-shift, where everyone learns to treat all other children as if they were their own biological children; especially the less privileged children in the world today. This will hopefully have a significant impact on the fight against inequality.
Wadi Ben Hirki is a member of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development. She was also selected as one of the Youths to participate in the African Union Regional Youth Consultation on Human Rights in August 2016. She was also the Winner of the Nigerian Teen Choice Awards Choice Philantropist of the Year in the years 2015 and 2016. Wadi Ben-Hirki also received the Covenant University Humanitarian Award for the year 2016. The Wadi Ben Hirki Foundation was listed amongst the finalists of the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians, under the Social Enterprise and Philanthropy Category.
Wadi Ben Hirki and the Foundation basically envisions reigniting the lost hope of the hurting women and children. About her hopes for the future of the foundation, Wadi says she hopes to see WBHF being recognized as an international charity organization, that provides aid, not just to disadvantaged kids in Nigeria, but to kids across the globe.
Featured image source: Diplomacy Oop