Warning to African Parents with Children Studying Overseas
From a concerned Pastor in US.Bolaji Adesuji
My dear Brethren;
Over the last few years, many Nigerians have been sending their children to Canada, The United States and other western countries for education.
As a pastor of a predominantly Nigerians church in America, I can speak on some major issues going on and affecting children in the U.S.
We are getting an increasing number of cases of Nigerian students having mental health challenges. Some have killed their parents, attempted suicide, gone into drug abuse and even crime. This are a major epidemics that we are facing right now.
Many of these cases stem from the fact that most of these children are young and have never left home before now. Some of the challenges they face are;
- Financial pressures– Many parents struggle to pay for the child’s first year and are unable to pay for the coming years. This puts these children under unprecedented pressures. Leading to depression and in some cases suicide when they are expelled from school.
- Racism– Most of These children have never experienced racism. In Nigeria they were mostly from the upper or upper middle class. They went to the best schools and had private tutors. Now in America they don’t know how to handle being treated as second class citizens and this causes mental health challenges. Many have never worked a day in their lives, they have a retinue of drivers and house girls at their beck and call. Now, they have to do menial jobs under the table to survive and they are treated as crap.
- Unprecedented freedom– many of these students had never experienced the kind of freedom they have, before they traveled abroad. All their lives, they have been pampered and protected by dotting parents. When they arrived in America, they have access to drugs, sex and all manners of deviant behaviors. Only the mature, disciplined children are able to say no to these vices at a young age.
- Immigration– many of these children have immigration issues. Some do not have student visas, they came in with visitors visas, overstayed and the parents basically abandoned them in a relative or friends home believing that “ all would be well”. When these students get to a stage where they need to prove their status they are stuck and are in a lot of trouble financially and emotionally.
The issues raised are just the tip of the iceberg. Many Nigerian parents look at these issues as strictly spiritual issues. They say the children need deliverance, others focus only on the child’s academic results at the detriment of their mental health. Some are more concerned about being able to brag to their friends that their children are at an IVY league school.
I am appealing to all parents with children abroad to spend more time with these children and listen to them. Ensure that they have a trusted mentor who can check on them regularly. Ground these children well in Christ and give them confidence to know who they are before they travel. Ensure that you are financially stable before you send them abroad and of course pray for them. We have to do all these things together. May our children continue to be a source of pride and joy to us in Jesus’ name. Amen.
On a final note not from the writer of the above, make Nigeria work so that we do not waste the next generation of Africans …in pursuit of greener pasture in Education. Nigeria, Africa-MAKE YOUR PASTURE GREEN. You have all it takes!