If you are familiar with our work, you will notice something special about our kids… They are smiling! Granted, they are not always smiling, as if their lives are blissfully easy. They have come from a place of struggle and disadvantage. They are well acquainted with lack and even injustice. They still live within their impoverished environments, working towards a better future. But they have hope! And they have faith! And most of all, they have love!
At Fair Life Africa Foundation, we are concerned for the complete well being of our children. We are concerned for their physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual development. Through our Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative, we alleviate the pressures facing them, and remove the barriers to their success by primarily sponsoring their academic education and vocational study. Our children are brilliant and talented, but more than their physical disadvantage, there is a lot of bad education that can stand in the way of their success. So empowering them also requires re-educating them, and freeing their minds to think big!
The theme of our Summer Programme this year was “Thinking Outside The Box”, with the aim to get the children thinking about who they were, and how they are responding to their surroundings, and how they can better influence their world and turn obstacles into stepping stones. It was a week of fun learning, critical thinking and exciting recreational activities. Our children, who live in their various communities at Ikota, Ibeju-Lekki, Ajegunle, Songo-Ota and more, came together to learn and enjoy one last hooray before they return to School in September.
They arrived on Monday 15th, and had their first session with Ufuoma, who helped them to come to a new understanding of themselves and identify their true passions. She asked them five important questions: 1. What do you love to do? 2. What are you good at? 3. What is hard for you to do? 4. What are you known for? 5. Would you rather work for more money or for your passion?
It was a great exercise, which also gave us an insight into their current thought processes. We were pleasantly surprised when all the children expressed that they would rather work for their passion, because of the fulfillment they will have from it. We also got them to see that if they choose more money, though they hated the work, their work would be poor, and they may not even keep the job or be promoted.
Our Admin, Emeke took them on Human Conflict and Resolution in the afternoon, teaching the children how to deal with conflict and disagreement among themselves. Kaosar Muhammad joined us as a volunteer to take the children on their second class on Human Conflict and Resolution the next day, with a focus on dealing with Peer Pressure. Two more classes on Thursday and Friday also dealt with issues of sexism, ageism, racism and other political discourses that affect our cohesive relations in the world.
On Tuesday, the children enjoyed an outing to Lufasi Nature Park in Lagos, where they were also given a talk on Climate Change and Global Warming. They learnt the many ways they too can be environmentally conscious and make a difference, by planting a tree and minimizing waste, through the four stage process; RETHINK, REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE! Afterwards, they were shown how to plant a tree, and one was planted in the park on behalf of Fair Life Africa. We have our good old friend, Abe Soyemi of Salt Society to thank for organising this programme with the Park Manager, Mr Basil Evans Pinnacle.
On Wednesday, the only agenda of the day was fun fun fun! We took the children to Dreamworld Africana Theme Park in Lagos, and they enjoyed a full day of games, roller coasters, bouncy castles, bumper cars and more. Our good old friend and photographer, Ese Atiyota, was on ground to support us by taking some fantastic shots of the day’s activities.
On Thursday, the critical discussions continued with a class on Mental Health, taken by Ufuoma. She started once again with a series of questions about need, to get the children’s minds expanding. She asked them: 1. What is the difference between need and want? 2. What does every human being need to survive? 3. What is your greatest need at this moment? 4. What is the greatest need of your community? 5. What is more valuable, your wealth or your health?
The answers from this exercise were also very enlightening, and the children showed that they were already critical thinkers. Even though a few struggled with the difference between need and want, all of them were able to appreciate that their health was their greatest resource. Following on from this exercise, Ufuoma drew from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to explain the place of mental health and self-esteem, and how we need to be conscious of our mental health and sensitive to the needs of others too.
On Friday, our friend from last Summer’s Programme, Pamela Chukwuemeka, came back to take the children on The Internet and Social Media. She schooled them on the benefits of the internet, as well as the dangers, and taught them the importance of staying safe. They also learnt about the many new jobs available through the rise of the Internet, and how they can stay relevant by keeping updated with knowledge of online applications. Ufuoma also gave them insights into the world of blogging and web design in particular. Our volunteer and friend, Yemi Asifat, was also on ground to take some great shots.
On Saturday, the children were given a special class on Overcoming Academic and Exam Stress by our social workers, Ifeoma and Nishola. This was an important session for them all, because no matter how brilliant they are, there are still one or two subjects that they may struggle with, and exam pressures are not easy for anyone. The children learnt the importance of time management, being prepared, making learning fun and interactive, and changing their perspective to change their reactions!
Later on Saturday, the children enjoyed a unique treat! They were all invited to be part of the audience at MTN Project Fame West Africa at Ultima Studios in Lekki. This was possible because of the collaboration between Fair Life Africa Foundation and Ultima Limited forged last year, when we held our first ever Talent Search competition. The children enjoyed a great show with fourteen performances in all, and were further inspired to keep pursing their passions.
The Summer Camp concluded with a big Sunday Brunch of yam and chicken pepper soup, deliciously made by our favourite neighbourhood caterers. After that, we took a stroll to the nearby Lekki Beach to enjoy the breeze, sand and water. At the Beach, Ufuoma presented four of our most brilliant children with prizes for their great academic performances in the past year. Caroline received the prize for the Senior Secondary level. Emmanuel received the prize for the Junior Secondary Level. Augustus received the prize for the Primary 4-6 category, while Mustapha received the prize for the Primary 1-3 category.
It was a very thrilling week, and the children wished they could stay longer, but all good things must come to an end! We feel good about what we were able to impart unto them, and most especially, we are glad that they went away knowing how much they are genuinely loved! With everything we do, that is one message we wish to send out loudly and clearly, that we believe in them and that they are worthy of love! Now they should have no barrier to what they can achieve. The sky’s the limit!
If you would like to join hands with us to do more, and empower more children for a fairer life, please visit our website to learn about Child Sponsorship, how you can partner with us, or make a donation today! You can make a safe online donation via our Project Page on GlobalGiving UK or donate direct to Fair Life Africa Foundation at Guaranty Trust Bank, 0106643687. Thank you so much!!!
Have questions? Email us at email@example.com or call 08092832745.