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Educate and Train 100 Disadvantaged Children

by Fair Life Africa Foundation
Educate and Train 100 Disadvantaged Children
Chioma in her graduation gown
Chioma in her graduation gown

Ahead of our Summer Programme which kicks off tomorrow, 5th August, for the FLA Kids, we got to chat with one of the children who has been sponsored through our programme and has now completed her secondary schooling.  Chioma has always stood out in her intelligence and character, as one of the leaders of Tomorrow!  She's an outspoken, bold and bright young lady, who has participated in several of our debates and taken initiative whenever we've organised events.  She's an aspiring lawyer, and she's very grateful to her sponsors, Shiv Lila Polymers Ltd, who have supported her since April 2015 to keep pursuing her dreams.

Below is our chat via WhatsApp.  It has been slightly editted for more clarity and focus.

***

Chioma: Good afternoon, ma.

Ufuoma: Hey, dear.  Congrats on completing your secondary schooling!!!

Chioma: Thank you very much, ma.

Ufuoma: So... How are you today?

Chioma: I'm very good, ma.

Ufuoma: Do you remember when you first learnt about Fair Life Africa?

Chioma: Of course I do.  I heard it from my mum that through my school I would be sponsored by an organization.

When I got the news I remember feeling so lucky. Those things that hindered my education had come as a discouragement to everything I had planned for my self and everything I had hoped to achieve had all been  wiped away.  By that name "Fair Life Africa", I was instantly motivated and everything just seemed to fall in place and it made me feel special and safe.

Ufuoma: Yeah, I believe your school referred your family to us in 2014.  Do you know the challenge you were facing as a family at the time?  Care to talk about it?

Chioma: It's basically financial issues...  We are a big family, along the line I think because of unfortunate circumstances my parents couldn't keep up with our basics.

Ufuoma: You said you had dreams and plans for your future that seemed dashed until FLA came along to revive them...  What are these dreams/plans?

Chioma: Being able to have an effect in productive change in regards to things around me. Being a lawyer also, to be able to determine the importance of the truth... There's nothing more effective than dealing with the law.

Ufuoma: Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?

Chioma: In my heart, yes.  People will always give their opinions on what they think is best for you, though.

Ufuoma: Okay, but you know what you want.  That has been clear with you.  What would you say the greatest thing you gained from your school is?

Chioma: Yes it has.  The greatest thing I gained from my school should be how we were never encouraged to relax.  We were always reminded that immediately you get past a stage you should fight harder with the next one.

Ufuoma: Hmmm....  That's interesting.  So, you found that strategic or motivating towards success?

Chioma: Very!  I feel even to the point where you think you would like to get to, when you finally arrive, move higher than just that.

Ufuoma: Keep aspiring for greatness!  So, how do you feel now that you've completed Secondary School?

Chioma: To be honest. A little tense and there's need for perfection. I keep giving myself these talks to help me focus and grow in order to meet my aim.

Ufuoma: You don't feel relieved, happy or excited?

Chioma: I do feel relieved... So relieved!

Ufuoma: Lol!  One down or two down, two to go...?  Do you plan to do a Masters or PHD?  Or just to get a degree?

Chioma: I do plan to do my masters.  I have always!!

Ufuoma: What type of Law do you want to specialise in?

Chioma: Corporate law.

Ufuoma: Why?

Chioma: I find that if I'm really good at it I can make lots of money.  And then I have always been intrigued at the confidence and strategy that one has to bring to be the best!  I'm also very persuasive.

Ufuoma: Cool.  So, do you know Shiv Lila Polymers are your sponsors?

Chioma: I didn't.  I hope they know how grateful I am.

Ufuoma: Okay. If you could meet one of their representatives, what would you like to say to them?

Chioma: I would say that I am highly appreciative.  And I know how much faith they'd put in into helping me and I would like to assure them how I wouldn't joke with the opportunity. I am grateful and I say a big thank you.  They have impacted my life a great deal and I plan on making an impact to the world with their generosity.

Ufuoma: Awesome!  So, our summer programme is coming up next week.  Are you excited?

Chioma: I'm not because I wouldn't be able to attend, ma.  Aunty Ifeoma mentioned it to me but I started an internship job and I wouldn't be able to make it

Ufuoma: Oh no :(  But great about the internship!  Where is that?

Chioma: It's at Lekki Phase 1.  They are a retail company.

Ufuoma: Okay...  Not related to law then...

Chioma: No...  I tried though.  But with my little or no experience partaking that yet, I was advised to engage in anything else I could gain from.

Ufuoma: Okay, cool!  Only a few more questions...  How have you found the FLA Summer Programmes?  Is there a particular year that you felt was most impactful?

Chioma: They have been wonderful.  The year we talked about inequality and how females should be regarded equally as males.  We got to share different views and we felt people connecting.

Ufuoma: That's great.

Chioma: We also had to help with cleaning the environment as a way of giving back.  That made me really happy.

Ufuoma: :) Okay, our theme this year is “Leaders of Tomorrow, Today!”  What do you think of that, and of the activities we've scheduled for the other FLA Kids?

Chioma: I think it's great.  The encouragement and support is just so awesome and they're so lucky.  Wish I could be a part of it too.

Ufuoma: Yeah!  You're one of those who shows a lot of leadership potential.  I was looking forward to your participation.

Chioma: That means so much   Thank you, ma.

Ufuoma: Okay, final question.  What would you like to say to other children who are in situations like your family was when FLA came to assist...?  And to your fellow FLA Kids who have been given this chance at a better life?

Chioma: To the kids in the same situation I was... I would say, " Don't be to quick to let go of those dreams and ambitions.  I promise if you we fight together we'll make it."  And to my fellow FLA kids...  "Let's do this!!!!!  We've always be determined and with this encouragement and love, let's all work hard and become great so we could give back and make every one proud!"

Thank you very much ma.  FLA has done more good than words could say...  I'm so grateful for it all

Ufuoma: Thanks, dear!  And I appreciate this time you've given for our interview tonight.  Good luck with your internship!  Do keep us posted.

Chioma: I will, I promise!  You are highly welcome ma.

***

We are so grateful to everyone who has come alongside us to invest in these leaders of tomorrow!  Thanks for your faithfulness and generosity in giving.  And thanks for all the other ways you have shown your support to our initiative!  Do check out our post about the Summer Programme to see what we've got lined up and how you can assist: CLICK HERE.  God bless you all!

Oh, happy day!!!
Oh, happy day!!!
When we first met Chioma in 2014
When we first met Chioma in 2014
All grown now... Chioma at Christmas 2018!
All grown now... Chioma at Christmas 2018!

Links:


Attachments:
Ramon on Instagram
Ramon on Instagram

Ramon was one of the top five winners of our Talent Search Competition with Ultima Studios, which we did at Christmas, 2015.  We already did an FLA Rising Stars post on him, but we wanted to share an update, by way of an interview with him.  Ramon is now 19 years old, and a student at Lagos State Polytechnic, where he is studying his passion, Arts.  He still has no sponsor, but we've been able to carry him along through the programme, by God's grace and your kind support too!  Thank you so much.

1. How did you hear about Fair Life Africa?

I heard of Fair Life Africa when I went for a drawing competition hosted by the organisation.  Then I heard they help the orphanage children, build them more on their talents and help the community to grow positively.

2. So, how did you find the competition?  Did you think you would win?

Yes, it was good.  It was a long time ago though, back in my secondary school days.  When I went for the competition then, I never believed I would be a winner.  I only prayed and God answered my prayers.  I enjoyed lots of benefits as the winner then...  Fair Life Africa sponsored me in my artistic life.

3.  What sort of support or training did you receive from Fair Life Africa?

They sponsored my visits to lots of art galleries in Lagos.  And that enhanced the level of my art experiences...  That also made me meet lots of professonal artists, who trained me and taught me a lot of things, under the Universal Studios Of Art.  Fair LIfe Africa also provided for me some art materials during my training in Universal Studios Of Art.

4. Great!  What are you doing now?

I'm now an undergraduate of the Lagos State Polytechnic in the department of Arts and Industrial Design.

5. How are you finding/enjoying the course?  What have you learnt so far?

It's been challenging lately, but with God, everything's going well.  My drawing has improved and I now know more things that I didn't know before.  I learnt about water washing in graphics, ankara design on paper, sculpting and more.  I'm also making and sell artworks while I'm studying.

6. How do you now feel about your future?

Well, with God, I believe my future is bright as an artist.

7. Who is or are your role models (artists and non-artists)?

My artist role models are Pablo Picaso and Leonardo Da-vinci.  Then as non-artist, I chose Adekunle Gold as my role model...  His songs inspire me a lot and I wish to sing like him...  He is also an artist actually but just that he's into performing arts.

8. It's Children's Day on the 27th of May.  What would you like to say to the children of Nigeria with dreams like you?

To every child out there, I want to say NEVER SAY NEVER, don't let a little challenge stop your dreams and keep shining.  Don't stop the hustle and don't stop being real.  Surely, there's light at the end of the tunnel, you shall make it with God by you.

We really believe in Ramon and we hope you will support his work by following him on Instagram @bogunberamon.  Thanks for your love and support.

Ramon disguised
Ramon disguised
Recents works by Ramon
Recents works by Ramon
A sketch of a girl by Ramon
A sketch of a girl by Ramon
Sculpting an Artist by Ramon
Sculpting an Artist by Ramon
Shoe sculpture by Ramon
Shoe sculpture by Ramon

Links:

Group picture with Ukenn at Christmas
Group picture with Ukenn at Christmas

Last year, we put in all effort to make it a Christmas to remember for our kids at FLA.  The difference was we started out early, and reached out to our friends inviting them to contribute towards hampers we wanted to give to our children and their families.  And we are so pleased that so many people bought into our vision and supported us to make it a reality!

On the 21st of December, our children left their homes and communities to come together at the FLA Home for some pre-party planning and relaxation at the Piccadilly Hotel and Suites.  After they'd rehearsed, they enjoyed swimming and, later, dinner and ice cream.  They were up bright and early to prepare for the day's activities on the 22nd.  Those who stayed nearby at Ikota came from home, while those living as far as Songo Otta, Ogun State, resided in the home.  They enjoyed a lovely breakfast, before changing into their specially designed outfits for the day.

Each child was given ankara fabric to sew a lovely outfit (asoebi) for the event.  We thought it was a little better than T-Shirts, because the children's individualism and sense of style shown through, and it's something they can wear out at other occassions too.  Their families also attended, as well as 19 children from our waiting list, whom we had invited to come with their families.  We ended up catering to over 200 people, but there was food and drink enough!

The children gave their presentations in songs, dance and drama, and Victor (one of the winners of our Talent Search Competition in 2015) was our MC for the day.  He was totally awesome!  He is really an entertainer.  Two guest artistes, Belmon and Ukenn, also came along to grace the day and sang their hit songs for the children.  Belmon sang "It's Party Time" and Ukenn sang "Turn Up" and a song he is yet to release, "Special Star".  We were priviledged to be the first to hear it.  The children got on stage and danced their hearts out.  Even their mothers got on stage too!

We also used the occassion to present gifts to our graduates (those who have completed secondary schooling and are moving on to University), and gave special presents to our kids with sponsors.  Each of the 46 families in attendance took home a hamper we had packed full of so many lovely food supplies for the Christmas celebration, as well as a whole chicken!  They were all thoroughly grateful for the gifts.

We really want to say thank you to every single person who gave towards the event!  We greatly appreciate our child sponsors, who give faithfully each month or quarter, to ensure that we are able to settle the fees of all our children.  Since the party, we have added four children to those who have sponsors, and we are eager to add more!  Please do consider becoming one of our child sponsors.

Aside this event, we were contacted about ten days before Christmas by Chizoba, who was a patient at a hospital in Egbeda, and had been prevented from leaving for months because of unpaid fees.  Five other women were with her with similar complaints.  One had been there for nine months, and their balances ranged from N50,000 to over N200,000.

We ran a campaign on social media and reached out to a couple of organisations that had partnered with us before.  We were able to raise the money to settle all their fees and get them home in time for Christmas!  GSI Foundation contributed N210,000 to complete the bills!  God bless everyone who trusted us and assisted us in this effort.

But it isn't all good news...  We saved the worst for last, because we just don't know how to say it.  We can hardly believe it is true, considering all the effort and prayers we put into it.  But on the 17th of December, we learnt that Regina, who we had assisted with medical treatment to fight cancer, passed away during a follow up visit to the hospital.  It turned out that they had been wrong and the cancer had already spread.  It was so sudden and heartbreaking.  We visited the family a couple of days later to express our condolences, and also share with them the gifts we had prepared to give them for Christmas, anticipitating that they may no longer participate in our programme.

Regina left behind two children, one of them who is still in receipt of our support.  Her school fees for this term has been settled, and her family are preparing for the funeral.  This child doesn't have a sponsor though, but we are committed to helping her and her family.  If you'd like to know more and how you can support them, please email us at support@fairlifeafrica.org.

We sure hope this didn't dampen your spirits too much.  We are optimistic for a great 2019 and wish you a wonderful one in deed.  Thanks for everything you do and have done to make our work possible.

Hampers for all the families!!!
Hampers for all the families!!!
They had so much fun!
They had so much fun!
The dancing competition was lit!
The dancing competition was lit!
Uzo meets her sponsored child, Ufuoma
Uzo meets her sponsored child, Ufuoma

Links:


Attachments:
Regina at the hospital before surgery
Regina at the hospital before surgery

What is the value of a life?  Can you monetise it?  Often, it takes a catastrophe for us to realise the value of our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.  When your house is burning down, and all the things you spent your life working to accumulate disappear in the smoke, and you rush back in because someone you love is trapped in the flames, you realise that life is priceless, and no amount of money will ever replace it once it is gone.

We get approached by people facing desperate situations a lot, and it is hard for us to help everyone.  We have our programme in place, so that we know those who we can help, and faithfully support them to achieve a better life for themselves.  But it still hurts to say "no" to so many others, who may or may not qualify for our support, but really need help!

Regina would have been one such woman.  But she was in a privileged position because her daughter, Ngozi, is one of the children we have been supporting through our Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative.  We learnt from one of our regular visits to check on the family that Regina was ill and had been undergoing tests and receiving treatment for an ulcer in her left breast.  She needed more money to do some necessary tests, and we gave her that support, praying that the results would come out negative, and she would be clear of cancer.

However, it wasn't the case, and she needed to do surgery urgently, so that the cancerous cells wouldn't spread.  We were in over our heads and didn't have the funds for it.  So, we reached out to another organisation we knew, but they said they couldn't help.  Then God showed up for Regina!

A good samaritan, the man behind GSI Foundation, reached out to us to ask if we knew people in need of financial support with their education or health.  The timing was so wow, and we quickly told him about Regina.  After we sent the documents confirming her diagnosis and the hospital bill for her surgery, GSI Foundation decided to support Regina, through us, and settled her medical bills for the operation.

The surgery was carried out successfully, on Thursday, 4th October and we visited her regularly while at the hospital to know how she was doing.  Regina stayed at the hospital on the Doctor’s advice for 14 days, so she could recuperate well.  She was discharged on Tuesday, 16th October and is currently on appointment to see her Doctor at Lagos University Teaching Hospital every Tuesday for routine checks.

Ngozi and her mom are so happy that we were able to help her mom fight cancer, so that they can continue to thrive and Ngozi can complete her education and excel.  The smiles on their faces after hearing that the surgery was successful and the threat removed was PRICELESS.  We can't bare to think how they would have coped if GSI Foundation hadn't come along to assist.

We are so grateful to everyone who supports our work and gives us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.  Your contribution, however small, is PRICELESS.  God bless you!

PS: We are organising a party for our Kids this Christmas, and posted details about it on our blog!  We'd really love for you to come and invite you to support, however you can.  Check out our latest blog post, THIS CHRISTMAS, GIVE THE GIFT OF EDUCATION.

Christmas Party Flyer
Christmas Party Flyer
Christmas Party Invitation
Christmas Party Invitation

Links:

Hard at work cleaning up Jakande
Hard at work cleaning up Jakande

For Children's Day this year, our kids organised a fundraiser to raise funds to give back to those less fortunate in their communities.  We wrote about this in our last report.  In June, we used the funds raised to get 250 foodstamps via Give Food Stamps Initiative, which we distributed at Ajegunle, a poor community where a lot of our children reside, on Saturday, the 9th of June.  The recipients of the food stamps are able to redeem them for food via local food sellers registered with Give Food Stamps.

We decided to continue with the theme, Blessed to Bless, which was the vision behind our fundraiser, as the kids used their gifts and abilities to raise funds for others, for our Summer Programme this year.  The children are together again, learning and having fun and GIVING BACK too!  They are learning that as long as they are alive, they are in a position to be a blessing to others.  And being blessed by our support, they have more to offer to others, who may be less fortunate.

On Tuesday, 7th of August, we partnered with Africa Clean Up Initiative (ACI) to organise an environmental sanitation exercise with our kids, to clean up the Gbara community.  27 of our children came out to get involved in the exercise, and they were so passionate about it.  Before they left, being equipped with gloves, nose masks, bin liners and other tools, they were given a talk by the Project Director at ACI, about what they do and why.  They learnt about the little things they can do and keep in mind, to ensure that they contribute to making Nigeria a cleaner place to live.  Then they went out, led by the ACI Team and volunteers and cleaned up months of debris surrounding the Jakande community.

Yesterday, the kids were taken on a trip to the Cinema to watch Skyscraper, which they loved!  It was a contrast to the previous day's hard labour!  Earlier in the day, they had received a talk by Mr Nathaniel from the Mental Health Foundation on Depression, seeing as it is an important issue that relates to the children too.  On Monday, Mrs Obioma, an FLA Volunteer, took them on a lesson about Giving Back, teaching them why it is important and the many ways they can make a positive contribution to their society.  Today, they are having more trainings, and tomorrow, they will be visiting a home for the elderly, to see that there are many needs in society, and also to lend a hand too!

The Summer Camp is running til the weekend, when we have a beach outing planned and more talks from our volunteers and mentors on various issues that concern our children.  We are so happy that we can engage the children in these activities, and help them see beyond their own circumstances, to be receptive to others' needs.  It is indeed more blessed to give than to receive, and we don't want our kids to miss out on it by thinking that they are too needy, and not seeing themselves as helpers of others.

Thanks for all your support that keeps us going in this work!  We are looking forward to reporting more on how the children are doing with their academics.  So far, so good!

Distributing Food Stamps at Ajegunle
Distributing Food Stamps at Ajegunle
At the movies, catching some fun!
At the movies, catching some fun!
Mrs Obioma takes the kids on "Giving Back"
Mrs Obioma takes the kids on "Giving Back"
Lekan really enjoyed the movie Skyscraper.
Lekan really enjoyed the movie Skyscraper.
The clean up team about to hit the streets.
The clean up team about to hit the streets.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Fair Life Africa Foundation

Location: Lekki, Lagos - Nigeria
Website:
Project Leader:
Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon
Lekki, Lagos Nigeria
$3,526 raised of $90,000 goal
 
99 donations
$86,474 to go
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