Hi there… Greetings from Lagos, Nigeria, from all the FLA Team. The last three months have swiftly passed us by, and we are happy to write to you once again. In this quarter, we celebrated landmarks in our own development, as well as in the children's. The joy of such milestones is the reward of the diligent and faithful. Those who give up when the going gets tough do not share in the spoils of the victorious! So we are hopeful that these milestones will serve as reminders, as we persist in doing good.
In August, the Team took a much needed break, though we continued to visit the boys we reconciled to their homes in July. We also used this time to research schools for the boys continuing their education, and enrolled the three SS3 graduates to their various vocational courses. August was also the month we assisted Charles (from the 2012 set) and his family to secure a new accommodation, as they received notice in June that they would need to find somewhere else, because the Landlord had need for the property. We are pleased that they are now settled in their new place, which is still close enough to Charles school and his step-mother’s business, which was revived last year with our support.
In September, we enrolled three of the boys into schools in Ibadan and Ondo State, where they now stay with their families. DOAM Foundation partnered with us to support the boys in Ibadan, and accompanied us on one of our trips as we located schools for them. Ifeoma and Ayo, our Social Worker and Support Worker made two trips to see Adam in Ondo state, and had to stay overnight each time. They helped the family resolve conflict with their neighbours, while also supporting Adam to enrol into a new school. They later went to mark Adam’s two month’s stay at home with gifts and provisions for his family. We also provided three of the children’s families (Peter, Andrew and Mark) in need of business support with some financial assistance to boost their small businesses, which we hope will enable them to become more financially stable.
Unfortunately, two of the boys that were reconciled home are no longer with their families, despite the support we offered. A boy who was reconciled with his grandmother in August chose to run back days later, even though we have provided them with a new accommodation and some funds for his grandma to continue her small business. The second boy who ran away did so after he sat entrance exams at his new school, and was discouraged about his results. Pre-empting a negative response from his family, he ran away before anyone could suspect. Fortunately for him, he was found by the Lagos State Ministry officials, and is now being looked after in their Correctional Facility.
We marked two months for all the boys still at home from September 26th to Oct 1st, as a way of encouraging them, and reassuring them of our commitment to their growth and stability. We went with food provisions and gifts for each child, as well as a photo-album that captured their experiences while at the FLA Respite Home. Of all the gifts we brought, the children all loved the photo-album the best! Nishola, one of our Support Workers, wrote up an account of one of these visits we made on October 1st to Mark’s place. Mark is one of the boys whose case studies we have not yet featured on our blog, but which we reported in our Brochure for our Official Launching in October. His father was so appreciative of the support we gave his family that he wrote us an appreciation email, which we shared on the blog too.
Apart from these social care follow ups, we also planned and held our Official Launching Ceremony as a non-profit organisation in October. We invited many friends, supporters and well wishes, and prepared a documentary, and an informative brochure to capture the intricate details of our very practical work. The event was also to raise funding to enable us to repeat the Respite Programme with a new set of boys in 2014. We did not take in a new set of children this September, as we have been inadequately funded to do so. We also plan on using the opportunity to restrategise and develop the programme so that it is more effective the next time around. Our Launch held successfully and was financially backed by Airtel Nigeria and Lafarge Cement WAPCO. Standard Alliance Insurance and Standard Alliance Life Assurance also sponsored the programme generously, amongst others.
I’ll close this report with Nishola’s contribution, which is her reflection of our joint trip to visit Mark and his family. We hope you are inspired by what you read. Thanks for all your support… Please keep it coming! Have a wonderful November and happy Christmas celebrations too!
October 1st of every year is set aside to celebrate the independence of Nigeria. On this day of 2013, I and the CEO of Fair Life Africa Foundation, Mrs. Ashogbon, decided to take a trip to see the Kennedys, to celebrate Mark Kennedy’s two months back home. Though it was two days late, we felt the euphoria of independence would make it merrier, and what a memorable trip it turned out to be.
We went straight to have a look at the Kennedy’s shop which Fair Life Africa Foundation just gave funds to be restored after months of it going under, and surprisingly, stocks were already gotten and displayed in the shop. The new deep freezer that was gotten for the family too was in the shop, ready to be used for business.
After we looked around, and took some pictures, the four of us then headed for the Kennedy’s home, not too far from their shop, to see Mark who had a day break from the computer college we enrolled him in after he got back home due to the independence celebration.
As the car approached the house, it was evident that Mark and his four younger siblings were already awaiting our arrival. Immediately they heard a car approaching, they all stepped out of the house to see who it was, and how joyful they got to see that we had finally arrived.
We all sat down on the floor on the rug, in the sitting area of the incomplete building the family lives in, and talked about how life has been since Mark returned back home; his challenges, what has been difficult for him and the hurdles he has been able to cross with ease.
Mrs. Ashogbon asked his parent that “what’s been good since Mark came back home to them” and his parents could not stop counting. His mums said it’s been a great joy to have her son back home, according to her even though the period they had to search for him on the street was a very difficult one for the whole family, still she is grateful to God, because she knows everything in life happens for a reason.
Apart from this, she said that she is really glad to have her son back, a better person than before he left home for the streets, and she prays that God continues to help him remain the better person that he has become through Fair Life Africa Foundation’s rehabilitation programme.
She said that when she needs help, Mark does not wait for her to call twice, he shows her more respect, he is completely obedient and listens to corrections without grumbling. He doesn’t make friends with anyone his parents do not approve of and he is highly considerate of his younger siblings, as they are of him.
His dad too said if they were asked to continue, they could go on forever. When they were asked what’s not too good since their son returned home, they thought deep and long but could not come up with a single response. According to them, he’s been so good they pray every day that he remains the same and continues to become a better person as each day passes.
Mr. Kennedy confesses that his major fear is his financial problems, because he knows that his incapability to fend for his family’s daily needs could tear it apart, but with the business support from Fair Life Africa Foundation, he is willing to work hard so that his family will not suffer anymore. He hopefully wishes that Mark will do well in the next WAEC, GCE and NECO examination he is waiting to write, because to see his son further his education to the higher institution will complete his joy.
Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy expressed great gratitude to the organization for everything they did and are still doing for their family. They were very hospitable, and they gave us lots of soft drinks. The Kennedys are people with great hope for the future and hopefully with the right support and help, they will have the better future they look forward to.
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