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Where Are The Jubilee Children?   
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Four years ago, l wrote a piece asking what had been done to children who were born between January 1 and December 2007 which marked the Jubilee year of our independence.

Of much concern to me were those who were lucky to have been born on March 6 of that year. These were children who should have been tracked to make them special. They would have been groomed to become the future of this nation. We have left them and only a few of them who were lucky to be born into good homes will grow up well.

Early this month, we again celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of our independence, on that day another set of children were born. Again these children would not mean anything to us as a country.

Let us be clear that every generation thinks that those ahead of them have failed them. Therefore, we should start putting in place mechanisms that would help give hope to the younger generations. That is why l would have expected that these children born on our special independence days should be treated differently.

The Independence Arch in Accra reminds us of the day we attained our independence. That is all! And there are many, even in Accra, who have not seen it and would never see it before they die. Others, pass by it daily, and do not have a clue what it stands for. It is for this reason that we need to find a lasting memorial to mark these landmark independent celebrations by giving children born on these days some official recognition, especially those from poor homes.

One way we could have done this was to chart a better future for the country using the Jubilee Children; and these were the children born between January 1 and December 31, 2007 as a point of contact to change everything bad about Ghana. If we had done that, we could have added those who would be born this year so that, gradually we would have generations of new Ghanaians.

It has been said all over the country that Ghana has lost its future; but l say to you that, there is hope. It has also been said that there is nothing that can be done to change the people of this country, but l say we have what it takes to create a better future for posterity. There is however a big “But.” We can only rebuild this country if we decide, and take the necessary steps. The future we want to build must be based on the type of country we have all been dreaming of. This future, we all agree must be devoid of the wicked politics that has engulfed us; a future that would see corruption reduced and indiscipline curbed to the barest minimum.

It is possible to re-chart the country’s future if we create the right opportunity for our landmark independence Children. The Jubilee children, born in 2007 have reached school-going age now and some might have started attending school. There may be some who for obvious reason have not started school and perhaps, may not get the opportunity. That is the reason why we must look for these children all over the country in order to save the unfortunate ones among them from getting lost.

I recall that on March 6, 2007, the Independence Square in Accra went agog as the ‘highs and lows’ from all over the world gathered to celebrate the country’s 50 years of independence. It was a memorable celebration and l felt proud watching the ceremony. It is for this reason that we need to use these children as a bridge between our past and future. It would do the country a lot of good if we build a future for all of these children. If we did not think about it, we still have time to do so now.

All we need to do is to identify all of them (which is not impossible), and then ensure that they are given the same opportunity to excel. It would be a sin if we allow any of the Jubilee Children to attend school under trees. There are many good schools around and the government together with the mobile telephone companies can support the education of these children in the best schools in the country through a Jubilee scholarship.

There are many among them who had the good fortune of being born to rich parents and they would not pose a problem for the country financially, but, it would be important that care is taken to ensure that those from poor backgrounds get the same opportunity as their rich friends. One way of doing this is to create some kind of holiday programmes to bring them all together in a way that would help them to become Ghanaians in the true sense of it. The country can use the school facilities during school holidays so that children from the north are mixed with those from the south in a way that by the time they are in their teens, they would have gone round the whole country and perhaps learned other languages and cultures as well.

In their teens, Orientation Centres can be used to inculcate in these children national values. This should not be some kind of places where they are indoctrinated with weird ideas. It should be a place where Islamic and Christian values are allowed to be taught freely and patriotism is instilled in the children so that by the time they are in their twenties, we can count on them as true Ghanaians ready to take on the task of rebuilding the nation.

One is not suggesting a kind of situation where political parties would take hold of indoctrinating these children. If we want to do this, it needs to be done in an all inclusive manner so that all sections of the country would be involved in the planning and implementation of programmes aimed at bringing up these Jubilee Children. It would be a sad situation if rather than create an avenue for the proper development of the country’s future, it becomes a political ideological camp. It would achieve nothing as suspicion would make the whole project lose its value.

President Kufuor’s type of approach is necessary. I witnessed a meeting of students drawn from various political backgrounds put together for a training session by the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation and it was wonderful. The interaction among these young men and women at the meeting was devoid of the kind of political non-sense that we see every day and the plan was to develop future leaders along similar lines so that we would be able to grow people ready to build a strong and beautiful Ghana.

We must admit that through no fault of ours, those of us from 30 and above have failed this nation in one way or the other. We have become consumed with individualistic tendencies to the point that national issues do not rate much in our lives. We have thus become corrupt as all we think about is how to make money even when there is nothing to be made. Ghana does not mean anything to us except when the Black Stars are playing – and now even football is fast losing its national appeal.

It would be a lie, if any young Ghanaian thinks he or she is not part of the problem. Just look at the way indiscipline has taken hold of us and you would understand that Ghana seriously needs some kind of social engineering that would improve the country’s future. If we do not take any step now, Ghana would be heading towards doom and that is not what we want for the Jubilee Children.

Source: Today

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