There’s so much to say about the last three months. To guard against losing you in all the details, I’ll give a brief recap, update and highlights to guide you through the developments. I’ll also link you to posts in our blog, The Rising Star, which will tell you more about what you are interested in. Simply click the links, thanks and enjoying catching up!
We started with a new group of boys in September, after we spent July and August scouting the streets for boys in need of rehabilitation and reconciliation. All the boys we took in were interested in going to school, and we enrolled them all in two private schools in October; one for Primary and one for Secondary. We also got in touch with all their families before they became resident at the Home, and began to entertain visits from the children’s families towards their reconciliation.
In October, we shared Peter’s Story. He is one of the boys in the Home, who is an orphan. We also told you about our friends Yemi Adedeji and Kanyin Belo, who took the initiative to visit the Home with their friends, and also mark their birthdays with us. They started an unstoppable trend, so that every month since, we’ve had at least two friends come and mark their birthdays with the children.
One significant update is that Barthol, a 15 year old boy we took in in September, has decided to return home. He ran away from the centre on the 30th of December, to the shock of everyone, during a Church service at the local Church, which all the boys attend. We kept in contact with his family, and learnt that he went back home that same day. We paid him a visit in January, and saw that he was well and healthy, and also content! He had not been good academically, though he had insisted that he wanted to go to school. Now he is working under a meat seller as his apprentice, and says that’s what he wants to do. We wrote about this in FLA January Newsletter 2013.
In December, we wrote about Derek, another orphan at the Home, who used to work at Oshodi in Lagos, a popular district. He was the first child to win our good behaviour competition, and was taken out to Silverbird Galleria to watch a movie, and enjoy a lovely day out with two of his friends at the Home. He was also the first child to spend a weekend with his family, as part of our reconciliation process. It was a pleasant weekend, and he was really excited to go, and happy to return to the Home too.
Unfortunately, Derek is currently in hospital, after undergoing an operation and receiving treatment for appendicitis at the General Hospital. He was taken in by ambulance after some complaints, treatments and tests, which revealed that his situation was chronic and urgent. Permission was taken from his grandparents for the operation to be carried out, and it was successfully done on the 9th of February. He misses the Home, and asks to come back every day, but he is not yet strong enough. We look forward to his return.
In January, we wrote about Phillip, the second child to win our good behaviour competition. Phillip chose to go to GET Arena to enjoy go-karting and arcade games with his friend, John, which is what he did. He has been one of the most inspiring boys in the Home, as he is showing a lot of maturity and leadership amongst the boys. He is also doing well at school. You should read up on the boy they used to call ‘Ghetto Child’, while on the streets.
Andrew, 15 years, is the next child in line for a reward for good behaviour. He is a peaceable, hardworking young boy, who is often quiet, but cheerful in the Home. He almost got overlooked for good behaviour, because he doesn’t try to do things to be seen. However, during a meeting, when the other boys were being chastised, his goodness was found out and exposed. He says that he would like to a new pair of trainers for his reward, and wants to make a trip to Shoprite Complex this Saturday.
Two of our boys are looking forward to going home for the weekend this coming weekend. They are Luke and Mark, and we have not yet written up their case studies, but will soon do so on the blog. Peter, Mark and Andrew are preparing for their West African Examination Council exams, and the practicals are starting in March. They are receiving support from our friend and volunteer, Yemi Adedeji, and our new support worker, Emeke Ndego, so that they will catch up with their mates who had been consistent in school.
Four other boys are receiving one-to-one educational support from our support workers, to help them to get up to speed academically. They scored poorly, compared to their mates, in the first term examinations, and we want to give them extra support, particularly with English and Maths. However, at a recent review, we decided that, for at least two of them, we should focus our efforts on getting them trained with vocations they can do, because they do not have a good attitude to their academics and are not likely to pass. We will continue to explore options with them, in partnership with them to equip them for the future.
All but two of the boys, Matthew and Simon, have been visited by their families. Matthew’s case is actually quite concerning and was reported to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation early in January. Simon’s case was reported in February, after efforts to get his family to visit in January were unfruitful. It is very important that families visit their children and are counselled before the children return home finally. Through their visits, and the children’s stays at home (for weekends, then a few days as needed), we will be able to determine the stability of the child’s return home, and also put in the necessary support for the family to move on.
Apart from Derek’s health condition, two of our boys are also receiving treatment at the Home, following medical tests, which revealed concerning ailments. Apart from these, the boys are generally well. They eat and sleep well, and are engaged throughout the day. They are also counselled once fortnightly (one-to-one), and every three weeks in their groups. We would like them to have more free time however, because a lot of their time is being used to supplement their learning from school. They often go on outings or receive visitors over the weekend, so they do not have as much free time as they’d like, but we’re working on a creating more allowances on their schedule.
Joseph Yobo, Captain of the Nigeria Super Eagles, paid a visit to FLA Home on the 29th of December 2012 with lots and lots of provisions for the Home. He was welcomed with his crew, and spent some time talking to the boys, inspiring them to grasp the opportunity available to them at the Home. He promised to return to see them all, and encourage them with more support.
Joseph Hudson, CEO of Lafarge (WAPCO) Nigeria, paid a visit with his three sons on the 18th of December 2012. They brought a signed rugby ball, and played rugby in the nearby field with the boys. They also brought new and used clothing and a massive Christmas hamper for the Home. Lafarge (Friends of the Community), visited earlier in October, and came back in January. They were part of our last Monthly Birthday Party and presented gifts and a financial donation to the Home. They promised to return to offer more hands on assistance, and Mr Hudson promises his continued support too.
We had our First Annual Christmas Party on the 23rd of December, and it was a huge success. Most of the children’s families were in attendance, including the boys we reconciled from the pilot programme. Several corporate sponsors and many of our friends also showed up to make the day memorable. Before, after and during, the Home was blessed with abundant food and alternative donations from friends and well-wishers. The boys were reminded every day that it was indeed the season to be jolly, as people came almost daily to share provisions with them and spend some time inspiring them. To learn about the party, please read our Christmas Party Report. You can read up on Joseph Yobo’s visit, Joseph Hudson’s visit and the other activities that went on over Christmas in our FLA December Newsletter 2012 too!
Thanks to Toyin Eribake, who came to celebrate his birthday at the Home in January, we now have DSTV at the Home!!! Well, he came with Eng. Ola Adetula, who later came back in January to mark his birthday at the Home, and the DSTV was his gift! It was an awesome surprise. Toyin later wrote about his visit and shared it with his friends, several of whom have become financial sponsors of the Home. Eng. Adetula and his wife, Bisoye, also outdid themselves, by showing unusal kindness to our boys. Last weekend, they took six of them into their home, and treated them like family members. Nishola Akinyera, our support worker, who accompanied the boys wrote about the visit on the blog.
Time will not permit to go into all the things that have been happening, but here are some other posts on the blog you really should check out if you have the time and interest:
‘Celebrating Children’s Day 2012’ – FLA’s Participation to train on Children’s Rights
‘November’s MBP – Wish You Were Here’ – Monthly Birthday Party report for November.
‘Getting It Right’ – Training Day organised by Christianah Fate Foundation in February
Our featured post at the moment is ‘Valentine Love Sessions With JRhythm’, a sensational Valentine’s Day event that will also raise funds for CCC Initiative. If you are in Lagos, you really should come and be a part of it. It’s holding at 6pm on the 14th of February at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island.
So, I hope that reading all this, you are reassured that you are supporting a worthy initiative. Thank you for all that you have done. We try our best to keep you informed through our monthly newsletters and the blog. You can subscribe for the E-Newsletter here. We are still developing, not only in our interventions, but in our communication to you. Your financial support is very encouraging to us, and helps us to know that we are not alone in this initiative.
One thing that never changes, even with the advancement of technology, is the fact that it takes a community to raise up a child. We are pleased with the growing support in our immediate community here in Lagos, and touched by the contributions we receive via GlobalGiving UK, and now US too. The world is more and more a global community, and we all need to put our hands together to secure tomorrow’s hope – the children of today. Please consider being a regular donor, and enable us to make greater impact in the lives of these children and their families.