As boy-child advocates and related stakeholders gear up to commemorate the World Day of the Boy Child (WDBC), also known as the International Day of the Boy Child, on May 16, a lead partner of the WDBC forum in Nigeria, the Initiative for Social Impact and Sustainable Development (ISISD) has called on governments, organisations and individuals to work toward the well-being of the boy child to secure the lives of the future leaders.
The call by ISISD was predicated on the need for parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers and all stakeholders associated with the upbringing of the boy-child to pay attention to emerging issues that affect the mental being of Boys, in line with the commemoration of WDBC globally on May 16 under the theme: “Boys and Mental Health.”
According to ISISD Coordinator, Funmi Falobi, who is also a West Africa Ambassador of WDBC, the day, which is observed across several countries globally as International Day of the Boy Child was founded in 2018 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a university lecturer from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, to focus on boys and their well-being, their needs to feel happy, healthy, and valued within family and community.
According to Mrs. Falobi, there is a need to focus on the mental health of the boy child if we want to live in a secure environment.
She noted “Well-trained boys with good mental health will not abuse girls and cause problems whether now or in future in the society, making all of us safe”, and that it was therefore imperative that the wholesome development of the boy child cannot be left unattended, to have a secure society.
“With what is happening around us today, we cannot afford to leave the boy child behind. Boys have their challenges and as families, governments and institutions, we must look into the welfare and mental wellness of the boys if we want our society to be safe.
“When we look into the challenges boy child faces and provide a support system, they grow up to become responsible males that would protect the girl child and ensure good governance in the society,” she added.
In his address ahead of WDBC commemorative events, WDBC founder, Dr. Teelucksingh said the day provides a rare opportunity for individuals, organisations, and institutions to improve how they protect the boys and reclaim the heritage.
“Our boys reflect our heritage and serve as one of the links to the past and the present that intersects with the future of our families, communities and world.
“Boys are fragile and vulnerable. Somewhere along the journey from boyhood to manhood, boys are socialised not to express the natural and spontaneous reactions to spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological pain, disappointment, and rejection.
“They are socialised to equate strength and masculinity with suppressing their natural and spontaneous reaction to pain, disappointment, and rejection; not asking for help; and shunning vulnerability, ” he said.
He added that when boys shun the realities of their vulnerabilities, “boys are suicidal, slowly descending into the deep dark abyss of depression, and consumed by low self-esteem and repressed emotions”.
Meanwhile, as part of the WDBC events in Nigeria, ISISD in partnership with Igbobi College, Yaba (ICY) shall hold a forum with ICY boys to provide mentoring and orientation for the boys on the need to guard their mental health, as well as boost their self-esteem in handling challenges in the journey from teenagehood to adulthood.
Principal of Igbobi College Yaba, Rev. Adedotun Akanbi said the school is grooming boys that would grow up to become responsible men that would protect our girls.
A pre-WDBC virtual event which shall have Dr. Teelucksingh as one of the special guests is also billed for 8 pm Nigeria time on Sunday, May 14, 2023 of which interested stakeholders could pre-register @ www.bit.ly/MAY16-WDBC to join the discourse on a range of issues around the theme: “Boys and Mental Health”.