Fair Life Africa Foundation

FAIR LIFE AFRICA is a progressive, humanitarian organisation. It is committed to the mission of empowering people through practical social initiatives and programs. It stands for a fairer life for all people, by improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged. It serves people of all faiths, races, gender and any other orientation, without discrimination. It will promote the values of social inclusion and empowerment, by commissioning research and social awareness schemes that will inform social policies and attitudes.
Apr 10, 2015

When Your Work Is Done

Sharing provsions at Easter
Sharing provsions at Easter

Moving on is one of the hardest things for us to do, even if it is as a result of completion of an objective.  Through our Care Continuity Challenge Initiative, we worked with 21 children who resided at our Respite Home for a period of time.  Our ultimate goal was to see them off the streets, united with their families, and on a positive path of empowerment, whether through formal or vocational education.  Not every child completed our rehabilitation programme, and of those who did, not all stayed committed to their new life at home. 

However, there are those who did, and made all our efforts worthwhile.  Adam is one of those, whose resilience encourages us.  Unlike the others, his family never came to visit him while he was at the FLA Home.  They live in Ondo State, so distance and financial constraints were significant issues for them, though we offered to pay for their trip to Lagos.  It was a huge step of faith for all of us, when we reconciled 15 year old Adam, with his family in August 2013.  His desire was to be with his family and off the streets for good.

At 16 years, Adam finally completed his Primary schooling.  He had no ambitions for continue to Secondary School, and was quite discouraged because of his maturity.  He decided to study the Tailoring vocation, so his family sought a trainer for him, who we paid to teach Adam.  Adam is almost done with his training now and designs and sews beautifully.  He showed off and modelled his designs at our recent visit to celebrate Easter.

Peter is another child, who was part of the second set of children we accommodated at the FLA Home.  He was reconciled with his uncle in July 2013, and supported to re-sit his WAEC exams, which he passed the second time around.  He and his brother are now residing with his sister and her husband.   He is currently sitting his JAMB examinations, with hopes to take his study higher to University level.  Nishola, Ifeoma and Njideka visited him at home with provisions for the family just last week.

We are glad that things have turned out well for them, and for Mark, Andrew, Charles, Eddy and Tony, who we have kept communications with, and continue to support to varying extents.  In February, Mark and his family were invited to attend Pinefield School’s Valentine’s Party.  We were all surprised and delighted when the School Proprietress decided to adopt Mark’s four siblings, to sponsor their education!  It was quite a unique Valentine’s gift.

However, our focus is now very much on our new initiative, Disadvantage to Advantage, which evolved out of the lessons we learnt from the CCC Initiative.  We are very hopeful that things will continue to go well for our reconciled boys.  With this final report on the CCC Initiative, we would like to close this project, and appeal for your support as we embark on the D2A! Initiative.

So far, we have adopted 12 children into the new programme, and are happy to report that all but one have now found sponsors, who will be sponsoring their education going forward.  We also visited all of them at their various homes during Easter.  We are now seeking out referrals for new kids, who are bright, despite disadvantage, to support to achieve their potentials.  We are also seeking FLA Heroes, who will sponsor these brilliant, but otherwise less-fortunate, children.  Plans are underway for our Talent Search Week in August for the purpose of identifying gifted children to adopt into the programme.  We are very excited, and would greatly appreciate your support.

Adam models one of his designs
Adam models one of his designs
Pastor Dave and Pastor Sophie adopt Peace and Joy
Pastor Dave and Pastor Sophie adopt Peace and Joy
All grown up now. Peter and Mark at Valentine
All grown up now. Peter and Mark at Valentine's
Mark and his siblings at Pinefield Schools
Mark and his siblings at Pinefield Schools

Links:

Jan 9, 2015

Update on Tony

It was a Merry Christmas for Tony
It was a Merry Christmas for Tony

Happy New Year dear friends!  We hope Christmas was fantastic :)  We had an awesome time as we caught up with our reconciled boys at their various homes, and also made special visits to children in the Ikota and Ajegunle communities of Lagos.

Last time, we reported on Tony, and we left it on a sad note, as we hadn't been able to reach Tony since Christmas 2013.

After that post, we were motivated to seek him out again, and we were successful!  We found out that his father had infact returned him to his grandfather's care as we had suspected.  However, the good news is that his mother, who still resides in Egypt, decided to take responsibility for him and enrolled him in a boarding school locally.

Given his intelligence, he was allowed to enter at Junior Secondary School level 2, instead of starting at level one.  He is doing well at school, and spends the holidays at his grandfather's place at Ikotun.  His father visits him there and at school from time to time and things seem to be improving between everyone.

We are so glad we followed up and that he didn't return to the street.  We hope that the interest and love we showed their son encouraged them to make the extra effort needed to secure his future.  

Tony was very happy to see us, and gladly collected our gifts of rice and oil, as well as two T-shirts, one #FLAKids branded as well.  We will continue to visit him and see how we can encourage him with his studies.

We also visited two other boys who we reconciled in 2012 and two from 2013 set.  Car trouble over Christmas meant that we were unable to make some trips, but we will be catching up this January!  

Thanks for your support which has enabled us to do more.  We are encouraged!  We wish you an amazing 2015!

Group pic with Christmas gifts
Group pic with Christmas gifts
Ifeoma snaps with a sibling of the FLA Kids
Ifeoma snaps with a sibling of the FLA Kids

Links:

Oct 9, 2014

Tony's Heartbreaking Tale

In the beginning....
In the beginning....

Fair Life Africa Foundation met Tony* (name has been changed) in March 2012 at Kuramo Beach during one of our outreaches.  At the time, he was only 11 years old.  While on the street, he begged for money and helped people carry their loads for tokens during the day, and would sleep on the sand by the beach at night.  Prior to his admission into the FLA Home, he fell ill to malaria, and though we couldn’t accommodate him at the time, we provided him with food and medicine, and took him into our care when the Home opened in April 2012.  Tony was one of the first three boys who we enrolled in our Pilot Programme.

According to him, his ran away from home because his Grandfather and Aunt frequently beat him for every mistake he made.  We later found out, through our interactions with him, that he showed signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), which his family would have mistook for stubbornness.  While in our care, he was also assessed by a Child Psychologist, who observed the same thing.  When Tony realized that his challenges stemmed from this behavioural disorder, he was a much happier boy, as he responded to our counselling and disciplines, and was motivated by rewards for good behaviour too.

Tony stayed at the FLA Home for a period of 13 weeks, which was the maximum time allotted for the Pilot Programme.  During this period, our Social Worker and Support Workers visited his former place of residence at his Great Grandmother’s house.  He and his siblings had been passed around from family member to family member since his parents separated at in 2007.  His mother had moved away to Egypt (and is now re-married), and his father was unable to care for his children on his own.  However, more than anything, Tony wanted to live with his father.

The few interactions we had with Tony’s father were encouraging, as he was appreciative of our involvement and support, and showed a willingness to learn and take responsibility for Tony.  He had no residence, as he lived at his place of work, and drove trucks morning and night.  His work was also in jeopardy as he had gotten into an accident with one of the trucks.  He was happy when we suggested that we could find and rent a place close to his garage where he and Tony could live.  Tony was also thrilled at the idea of going back to live with his father.

However, this placement was the biggest mistake we ever made!  We found out much too late that Tony’s father was an alcoholic and a negligent father.  After we reconciled Tony and his father, we also enrolled Tony in school.  He was a bright boy with potential, but he lacked the love and care of his parents.  We learnt from the school that Tony was often unkempt, dirty and confused.  On at least two occasions, the Principal felt it necessary to bathe him and brush his teeth, as he was not taking care of himself.  During our follow up visits, we would detect the smell of alcohol on his father’s breath in the early afternoon.  We counselled him repeatedly to think of his child and drop the habit, but he either denied it or made empty promises to change.

In the end, despite our efforts, Tony ran away again.  He was, however, quickly spotted by the authourities and taken into Government care.  When they learnt of our involvement with the family, they quickly handed him over to his father again, despite our recommendations for them to keep him and bring the father to account.  We had written to them prior of his absconding from home, seeking their participation.  However, the Lagos State Ministry had said he was outside their jurisdiction, because he lived on the outskirts of Lagos and Ogun State.  The Ogun State Ministry never responded to our letters calling their attention to Tony’s case.  However, as we had no power to remove him from his father’s care, we tried to manage the situation the best way we could.

Tony returned to his home in time to sit his Common Entrance Examinations into Secondary School, and passed, despite his challenges!  His older brother came to live with them, and we hoped that this would encourage Tony, as he had been pining for his other siblings to join him and his father.  However, things continued to spiral downhill.  Tony’s father used the arrival of his 15 year old son to become even more negligent by leaving the children unaccompanied for days at a time, with little provision for food!  The boys would fight and quarrel until their neighbours had to intervene.  They would often insult the neighbours or get into other mischief in the community as well!

Eventually, Tony stopped paying any attention to school, and began seeking small jobs locally for money.  He later said that he didn’t want to go to school anymore, but work in construction.  His father often complained about looking about the children by himself, and that their mother doesn’t help him financially, despite his requests.  Overtime, our calls and visits became less welcome.  Our last visit to see Tony was in December 2013.  When we got to the place we had rented for his family, we saw only his father and brother.  Tony, they said, was staying with his Grandfather.

We did see Tony at his Grandfather’s, where we also left the provisions we had brought for him and his family for Christmas.  He seemed happy and content.  We were not sure how long his stay would be, but we were sure that we had failed him.  We knew that his father didn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t look after him anymore, and it was so sad that after more than a year and a half, we were back to square one.

We learnt a lot from this experience with Tony.  It is actually because of children like him that we have decided to start up a different initiative, Disadvantage to Advantage, which is not focused on street children, but disadvantaged children.  Rather than rescue children from the streets and return them to what might be an unwholesome environment, beyond our control, we are offering long term support to children who are disadvantaged, but brilliant, to achieve their potentials, by completing their course of study or training.  They may either reside at the FLA Home, or at their own homes.  In the case of Tony, he would have been able to reside in our Home, and be supported to complete his Primary, Secondary and University education. 

The key difference between the Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative and the Care Continuity Challenge Initiative is that the former is not terminal.  Children who are adopted into the programme will receive the support they need, until they become mature and independent, to stand unsupported.  Support is given on a case by case basis, knowing that each child is different, and needs different interventions to achieve!  We are hopeful that this new way of operating will enable more children to benefit from our initiatives in the long run.  Thank you for your support!

At the Beach with FLA
At the Beach with FLA
Back at home
Back at home

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