IT was a day of creativity on May 29, which was the Children’s Day, as Nigerian children were taught how to use wood materials to make handbags and other fashion items instead of animal skins, which has been described as cruelty to animals.
In a bid to promote the theme of the 2016 World Environment Day, which is: ‘The fight against illegal trade in wildlife,’ the innovation brand department of Chibok Wood Haute Couture had organised the enlightenment programme for school pupils to celebrate the day.
The event, which took place at Treasure Park, Lagos, was attended by 45 primary and secondary schools in Lagos and Ogun states respectively. The children were first shown a picture movie of cruel practices done to animals in the process of using their skins for fashion, and afterwards, they were given practical training on how to use wood materials for handbags.
Speaking at the event, the Head of Innovation Department of Chibok Wood Haute Couture, Mr Adesina Oluwadamilola Phillip, said “our country has one of the most incredible wildlife on earth, but it is sadly, fast disappearing. Nigerian children are the only hope to save our precious nature for future generations.”
Reiterating that the kids should join the United Nations’ global fight against illegal trade in wildlife and desist from using animal leather bags, he unveiled the Chibok Wood Haute Couture handbags to them, saying, “these bags are valid alternatives that will render cruel killing of animals for fashion unnecessary. The children collection is tagged Girl-Child and is handmade from woods to promote the theme of the United Nations’ 2016 World Environment Day, and the bags will be given out freely to children,” he said.
Mr Phillip stated further that “this initiative is intended to destroy the market for the products of poaching and to improve protection for threatened Nigeria wildlife populations. We will visit schools to enlighten students on animal free fashion, establish fashion innovation start-up centres and inaugurate animal-free world fashion innovation week at Nigeria game reserve where the kids can go for excursion.” he disclosed.
In her speech, the Chief Executive Officer of Chibok Wood Haute Couture, Ms. Olapeju Olayemi, stated that the brand was founded to create valuable works of wood fashion innovations, borne of genuine creativity as excellent instrument for promotion of peace and environmental action.
She explained that “the future of the world wildlife belongs to the children of today. These children include over one million children in Northern Nigeria that have been displaced from their homes as a result of attacks from the boko haram terrorist group over the past few yearsand more than half of these children are under the age of five years. It is truly alarming to see that children are still killed, abducted and used, without knowing, to carry bombs that were strapped to their bodies and denoted remotely in public places.”
She lamented that victims of this insurgency are facing serious hardship. “It is not enough to leave Nigeria government and international community to give psychological care and monetary support. Corporate bodies and NGOs should collaborate with the government to support these victims of insurgency. As part of our corporate social responsibility, our brand will donate all the proceeds from the sales of its Elephant Portrait Bags to IDPs camps once the bags are unveiled on World Environment Day,” she said.
She described Chibok Wood Haute Couture as a total agent of change for positive action and that their handbags are made with environmentally friendly materials which are manufactured and processed in Nigeria and they are to serve as substitute for animal leather bags so as to stem the use of animal skin leather bags.
“Today, we are unveiling the maiden edition of our free Girl-Child wood handbags. The free 219 bags we are distributing at this programme is a reminder for us not to relent in our prayers and advocate for the safe return of the remaining 218Chibok schoolgirls out of the 219 girls that were abducted on April 15 2014. We are also giving out free oil palm seedlings to you for you to plant to replace tree materials used for the wood handbags given to you. This is in line with the United Nations campaign for Trees for the Earth” she explained.
Miss Adebambo Toluwalase from Bethel Gemini Group of School, Ogba, Lagos, spoke on behalf of the school children. She thanked the organisers for offering them a lot of excitement and enlightenment that would make them desist from wearing animal product fashions.