Thirteen year old Karen is always excited to sing and entertain whenever the occasion arises. However, she fears that the world might not hear her beautiful voice because of her disadvantaged status. Dad was made redundant at his work six months ago, and hasn’t been able to get another job since. Mom’s small business of selling yam is slow, and brings in little income now and then. The family is dependent on her three elder sisters (ages 17, 19 and 21), who still live with them in a small wooden shack built on Ikota slum. They all work as cleaners or house-helps for the rich. The youngest of them started at just 15 years of age, and only the eldest completed secondary school.
By the looks of things, that’s what she’s going to end up doing too, as the family is no longer able to keep up payment of her school fees. Karen is confident of her singing abilities, as she is often praised when she sings in the Church choir. Like every girl of her age, her dream of a better future is what keeps her going even though her education is at risk.
At sixteen years of age, Cletus is a remarkable artist. He and his four orphaned siblings live with their grandma in a one room rented accommodation at Ajegunle. Cletus likes to sketch portraits of his siblings, and his grandma, while she’s knitting in her favourite chair. Saying shelter at grandma’s is crowded doesn’t really paint a true picture of lack, as it’s far better than not having a roof over your head. The real challenge, however, is that grandma isn’t working and help from their relatives isn’t what it used to be. “If only, dad and mom are alive”, he wishes. As the eldest of his siblings, the pressure is upon him to find work and provide for the family. However, he fears that his dream of becoming an artist will never be a reality.
Cletus and Karen are striving to make lemonades from the lemons life has thrown at them. Their stories are among the ten dozen applications assessed by our social workers, to identify hidden talents in Nigeria. Among them are aspiring musicians, artists, dancers, footballers, fashion designers and more. More than seventy of these pre-assessed candidates have been invited to attend auditions on Saturday the 31st of October, at 11am. This will enable us to sift out those with real potential, and put 30 forward to take part in the Talent Search Competition, scheduled for the 14th to the 19th of December.
The aim of the Talent Search Competition is to identify children between the ages of 9 and 17 years, who are gifted or talented in arts, crafts, sports and other vocations, but who are unable to develop their skills or compete with their peers, because of an inherent or structural disadvantage. Five children will arise as winners of the week-long competition, and will be sponsored to enhance these abilities by Fair Life Africa Foundation, through partnership with a corporate body.
Fair Life Africa is proud to host an event of this magnitude, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, for children. We can’t do this on our own! We need your help to host this fantastic event and to sponsor these disadvantaged, but gifted, children to develop their talents and pursue their passion. We believe any dream is attainable and children, from any background, can be all they want to be! Who knows who among them could be the next international superstar…
We invite you to join our audience at Standard Alliance Event Hall, 1 Providence Street, Lekki 1, Lagos. Please call Emeke on 08092832745 for directions. You can also support the initiative by making a donation to Fair Life Africa Foundation at GTBank (0106643687) or via GlobalGiving. Thank you!
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