Philip is a 16 year old boy from Ogun State, whom we first met at Kuramo Beach in 2011, when we were doing ‘Breakfast and Talk’ on Saturdays. He was always an outspoken young man, and had lots of experience on the streets, because he had been on his own for a very long time. He had also been at some of the other rehabilitation centres, including the Correctional Centre run by the Lagos Government, where he absconded. On the streets, he was known as ‘Ghetto Child’.
He came to visit Fair Life Africa’s Home following our outreach programmes to Kuramo last August. He came on his own, without invitation from us, and with no intention of staying with us. After his first visit, he became a regular visitor at the Centre and wanted to stay. However, at that time, he was still not ready to settle down and follow our rules. So, one day, when he was punished for doing wrong, he decided to go and not to come back instead of enduring discipline.
We continued to see him on the streets, as we reached out to the street kids to leave the streets and seek a new life at our Home, with our help. One day, he came to the car to talk to us. He said he was ready to obey and serve his punishment, and wanted us to help him off the streets. We agreed to take him with us, with the condition that he takes us to see his family first, so that we can learn more about him, and inform them that he’s with us and what we are doing for him. He came with us that day, and has never looked back.
Philip is from a broken home, and both parents are remarried with kids. His father is residing in Ogun state while his mother stays in Lagos state. During a home tracing, his father’s residence was located, but his mother’s whereabouts remain unknown, even to his father. Philip wants to return to stay with his father, and we are working on rebuilding their broken bonds. His father first visited the Home for the Christmas Party, on the 23rd of December. He has not been able to visit frequently due to his job as a driver, but calls the Home occasionally to speak with Philip.
Philip has been a good child at the Home, though he misbehaves occasionally. He serves his punishment and listens to correction. He is also proactive at resolving conflicts with his peers and among others who are quarrelling. He tries to be a leader. He does his chores and practices good hygiene, and keeps his space and personal items neat and tidy too. He is doing quite well at school, and scored highly in his first trimester examinations. His best subject is maths, and he got 100% in his quantitative reasoning test. However, he needs to improve in English, and needs more coaching to read properly.
He was especially motivated to improve his behaviour, when he saw Derek enjoy his good behaviour reward, by taking two friends to Silverbird last year. By the end of the year, Philip won the good behavior competition, and became eligible for a reward too. He cheerfully asked for a trip to GET Arena, with his friend, John. On the 12th of January 2013, he got his reward and enjoyed a lovely day out.
When he got there, he saw some of his old friends from the streets, who knew him as ‘Ghetto Child’. They called out to him in envy, as they saw that he was clean and happy. He waved at them, smiling that his life was taking a turn for the better. At GET Arena, he went go-carting, wall climbing and played many games at the arcade too. His favourite was table hockey, which he played about six times, and won severally. Afterwards, Philip, John, Toju and Ufuoma enjoyed drinks while watching a game of football.
Philip is developing and maturing under our care. He is learning to take responsibility for his actions, and to learn other ways of coping apart from running and fighting. He dreams of being a footballer one day, and was encouraged by Joseph Yobo’s (Captain of Nigeria Super Eagles) visit to the Home on the 29th of December 2012. Joseph encouraged all of them to study hard and complete their basic education, even as they pursue their dreams – because that is what he did.
Philip needs more people to believe in him and help him to stay on the right track. You can support Philip by making a donation to Fair Life Africa Foundation today.