More than two years ago, Charles was rescued from the streets of Lagos by Fair Life Africa Foundation. We had spotted him at Kuramo Beach where he hung out with others like himself, who had ran away from home for various reasons. He had ran away after succumbing to the influence of mischievious boys in his neighbourhood. However, he realised his mistake too late, and for fear of being beaten by his father, he had remained on the street.
Charles was one of the older boys at the Home. At the time, he was 16 years old. He was not the best behaved, either, as he was quite troublesome and overly playful. We were not sure whether he would see the programme through, as he appeared uncommitted. Through counsel, discipline and empowerment, he was encouraged to change his ways. By the end of his three month stay, Charles, like the rest of the children with him, was eager to return home to his family, who had been visiting the Home and were also excited about his return.
In July 2012, Charles went back home to live with his family in a small town in Lagos. His family depended on his step-mother's business, which had been neglected for lack of funds after a period of illness. Fair Life Africa gave the family a financial boost, so that the business could be restarted. Two years on, the business is still going strong with the small investment we had made in 2012!
Charles also was keen to return to school. At his age, he should have been at senior secondary level, but because he had dropped out of school at Junior level, without completing his final exams, he would have had to start again at the beginning if he went to public school! However, private schools were happy to take him at JSS2, which was a year's advantage. Fair Life Africa decided to make the additional investment of paying for his private school education, so that he can gain back years lost, and also be assured of a decent education.
Last August, the family had to move from their long-term accommodatiom at the notice of the landlord, and were stuck financially. In Nigeria, landlords demand a minimum of a year's rent upfront, and tenants also have to pay agency and agreement fees, which make relocation challenging for many. Fair Life Africa assisted the family to make this move, by helping them to pay these fees so that they could find a new abode, near enough to Charles' school and his mother's business.
Now, July 2014, Charles has finally completed his Junior Secondary education, and done his Junior WAEC (West African Examinations Council) Exams, with the support of Fair Life Africa and our partners. He is now awaiting his results and transfer into Senior Secondary School.
This month marks two years that Charles has been at home, and we are so proud of him. He really has come a long way from the boy we first met at Kuramo Beach, and the one who resided in the Home. Unlike some of the others we worked with, he has shown himself to be committed to rehabilitation, and ready to work for the life he deserves. We keep hearing good reports from his family about how he is doing at home. Thanks so much for enabling us to make this difference in his life.
Charles would very much like to continue his secondary education privately, because the public school system is quite problematic in Nigeria. We are looking for a sponsor who will take on the noble duty of supporting Charles through his final three years of secondary school. We would love to hear from you, if there's any way you can assist. Thank you!
There are still other boys who are celebrating one year and two years at home this month! We are using the rare opportunity of GlobalGiving Bonus Day to raise additional funding, so that we can encourage these children to stay #home4good! Today, the 16th of July, from 9am (EST)/2pm (WAT), donations raised on our project page at www.goto.gg/9103 will be matched by 40%! Please help us to maximise the opportunity by making your own contribution and encouraging your friends and family to support too. Thanks and God bless you as you give.
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