Educate and Train 100 Disadvantaged Children

by Fair Life Africa Foundation
Educate and Train 100 Disadvantaged Children
Chioma at University
Chioma at University

A couple of years ago, Ufuoma interviewed Chioma after her graduation from secondary school, just before COVID-19 struck.  Today, she caught up with the ambitious and driven young lady, who recently commenced her university studies after a brief period of waiting.

Below are highlights of their chat on WhatsApp.

Ufuoma: Hi Chioma. How are you today?
Chioma: I’m well.  Thank you ma.
Ufuoma: Where are you studying?
Chioma: Lagos State University.
Ufuoma: You mentioned you did a test today on Constitutional Law.  Is that what you're studying?
Chioma: I’m going to have to get to at least 300 level before I can specialize in a particular area. But for now, I study 5 courses in law.
Ufuoma: Do you know what you'd like to specialise in? And why?
Chioma: Yes. Corporate law. It is because I know my strengths lies there, and the fact that I enjoy it is an added bonus!
Ufuoma:  Okay... Last time we chatted, you'd just graduated High School. Which year was that?
Chioma: Yes. It was in 2019.
Ufuoma: Two years ago... It's been long. What has happened since?
Chioma: After secondary school I tried to get into the university immediately, but sadly, it didn’t happen.
But I had the opportunity to intern at Loyal Bonus Company. It is a retail company. It was honestly the best experience. Especially because it was my first time working. I stayed with them for 6 months. And then COVID came Stayed home for a while before I got into school in May this year.
Ufuoma: How come you were not able to get into university right away?
Chioma: I was not given admission. Even when I was told that my grades were good for both JAMB and WAEC/NECO results.
Ufuoma: Which schools did you apply to? Did you finally get your school of choice?
Chioma: I applied to the University of Lagos the first year. And then to Lagos State University, which I am in right now through a diploma program. There’s an 18 months diploma program that transits me straight to 200 level.
Ufuoma: Okay, so, how is university life? What do you love about it, and what do you hate? Or not love so much?
Chioma: I have never been this much responsible for myself, and now I know that I can handle it. Also, I thought it would take time and me trying to find my place because people always say it’s completely different from secondary school. Yes, it’s not similar, but I love my course and the school’s law faculty is also great. But what I don’t necessarily like is adapting to the new environment. And staying away from home. But I guess I’ll get used to that.
Ufuoma: Have you made friends?
Chioma: Quite a few.
Ufuoma: How are you guarding against rolling with the wrong crowd?
Chioma: My personality is doing that for me already I guess. I’m not exactly the stay after school to hang kind of person. I also have a close friend in school but a different department. She’s at 200 level. She has honestly been a big help. She also tries to protect what she calls my ‘freshers spirit’.
Ufuoma: Nice! Thank God. So, what encouragement can you give to your peers who are still waiting on admission?
Chioma: To prepare for school with set goals and aim. Cause it helps to remind yourself why you’re studying hard in the first place, and that way nothing can easily sway you. And also I know how impatient it could get if you don’t get in early. But the time you have in between shouldn’t be wasted cause it’s definitely part of the whole journey . And if you do get in early, be prepared mentally. It helps!
Ufuoma: Awesome! So, COVID has really wrecked havoc on our world, but for some people, doors opened, or at least, they saw potential, and they seized opportunities. What would you say you gained from living through COVID-19? Any lessons learned?

Chioma: Yes. To always try and make light out of bad situations instead of focusing on how bad or upsetting.
Ufuoma: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Chioma: You’re welcome ma. And I honestly cannot begin to thank you for making me part of FLA. Everyday I’m grateful! God bless you ma.

*****

Chioma is one of the lucky ones who gained admission into university early.  As you can see from our chat, she has a good head on her shoulders, and she is eager to make the most of the opportunities Shiv Lila Polymers has given her through their sponsorship. We are very proud of her and continue to wish her success in her academics. We know she will be among those to take Nigeria to the next level in years to come.

Thanks for being a part of her success story by supporting us to keep impacting her life and those of other children in need in our country.

Happy Chioma
Happy Chioma
Young Chioma, in 2014 when we met
Young Chioma, in 2014 when we met

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Emeke presents the cheque to Naomi and her mom.
Emeke presents the cheque to Naomi and her mom.

Last year, we wrote about a tragedy that occurred at Ajegunle, at the notorious Dustbin Estate, where one of our kids resided.  This was published on our blog and Instagram page, as we sought to raise some immediate relief for many of the families affected.  Over 100 families were affected, based on info sourced from a local NGO working in that community.  With their collaboration, and donations raised from the campaign, we were able to provide immediate relief to 55 of the affected families.

However, in the long term, they still faced the challenge of rebuilding, finding a new home, and getting their lives back on track.  Naomi and her mother were among those affected.  They had to move in with some friends, who were kind enough to accommodate them for many months, while Naomi's mom went in search of somewhere new.  However, affordable rent was hard to come by for the family.

A year later, we decided to reach out again to our friends to ask for their support to raise enough money for Naomi and her mom to pay two years' rent in a new place they'd found.  In a few days, we raised the N300k we sought and presented the cheque to Naomi and her mother this week.  They were so excited, singing and praying for us.  We really appreciate everyone who decided to bring funds or tell their friends to contribute to assist this lovely family with their rent.

Now, Naomi has a new home and another reason to smile and be hopeful!

In other news, Naomi's in her final year in school and doing very well!  We are super excited at what the future holds for her.

Home sweet home for Naomi and her mom
Home sweet home for Naomi and her mom

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Precious during our Valentine's Brunch 2020
Precious during our Valentine's Brunch 2020

This week, Ufuoma had a chat with ten-year old Precious, the newest member of the FLA Kids, who just got a sponsor late last year.  She has now resumed school, and we are in the process of settling fees.  We thought it would be good to hear from her about how her year, 2020, was.  We had a chat over WhatsApp.  It is slightly edited to make it easier to read.

Fair Life Africa: How are you today, Precious?
Precious: I am fine thank you
Fair Life Africa: What did you learn at school today?
Precious: I learned mathematics and English with computer studies ma
Fair Life Africa: Cool! How is your school protecting you from COVID-19?
Precious: I go to school with nose mask and hand sanitizer, then school will provide us with water and soap for us
Fair Life Africa: Are you doing social distancing?
Precious: Yes we do sit two persons a seat school desk and table
Fair Life Africa: Great! Good to know you're observing good practice. It may feel strange and difficult, but we all have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Do you still remember what it was like before COVID?
Precious: Yes it was fun then, we use to sit 3 persons per seat. And do our usual outdoor sports but it's no longer the same
Fair Life Africa: I remember when we all came together to celebrate Valentine's Day last February! You wore a pretty dress, do you remember?
Precious: Yes I remembered and I was so happy that day, am grateful thanks so much ma
Fair Life Africa: We all sat close and took lovely pictures without masks... It was a really fun day.  You are welcome!
Precious: Yes yes I remember I even told my mom about it and I was overjoyed for days
Fair Life Africa: So, how did COVID-19 affect you and your family last year?
Precious: Ma it was a sad period as my Dad lost his job and mum was very sick, but my prayers then was for God to give us daily bread and God answered my prayers when mom told me that you called us to come to FLA office and I was surprised when she came with a lot of food. That food items she came back with revived us a lot. Am very grateful
Fair Life Africa: Oh, we are glad we could help! SAGE Foundation made it possible, so we appreciate their support. It was a hard time for many people. We wish we could have done more

But something wonderful happened in November... How did you feel when you learnt that you now have a sponsor to help with your school fees?
Precious: I was so happy when mom told me I dance for joy

Fair Life Africa: And on your birthday too!  I saw the pictures :) 
 You wore your yellow dress
Precious: I was so happy for suprised cake and it was my first time of cutting cake on my birthday
Fair Life Africa: Oh, wow! You looked happy and gorgeous!
Precious: I was so happy. Am very grateful. May God bless my sponsor. And bless you abundantly
Fair Life Africa: And you know, you're just a couple of months older than FLA! We turned 10 this month.  Thanks for the lovely video you did to celebrate us! 

Do you remember your first Christmas with FLA?
Precious: Yes i was given provisions to take care of me, and I felt very loved. It was a fun filled time
Fair Life Africa: I think it was 2018, the Christmas we sewed asoebi...and you took hampers home...
Precious: Yesssssss
Precious: Last xmas was filled with gift, And Chicken and other things
Fair Life Africa: Unfortunately, with COVID-19, we couldn't throw a party... but you got special gift from Bloom Story

Precious: Yessss. Am so happy cos all the happy moments are coming back
Fair Life Africa: So, how did you feel about being an FLA Kid in 2020?
Precious: I feel honored and Happy
Fair Life Africa: What do you hope for in 2021?
Precious: I hope that it will be better and Covid will be blown away
Fair Life Africa: From your mouth to God's ears!
Precious: And We will gather together again at FLA to celebrate
Fair Life Africa: Amen!!!
Precious: Amen
Fair Life Africa: Thank you for your time today. Please continue to do well in school, be obedient at home, and stay safe :)

Precious: Thanks so much ma I will make you proud
Fair Life Africa: Hugs!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...  Here are a few thousand more depicting Precious' 2020 with FLA.  Do check out our blog to read more about what we have been up to.  Thanks so much for your faithful support.

Precious on her birthday, November 2020
Precious on her birthday, November 2020
Cutting her birthday cake at school
Cutting her birthday cake at school
Precious collecting her xmas gift from Bloom Story
Precious collecting her xmas gift from Bloom Story
Receiving Christmas provisions from FLA
Receiving Christmas provisions from FLA
COVID-19 palliatives donated by SAGE Foundation
COVID-19 palliatives donated by SAGE Foundation

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A beneficiary of the COVID-19 Relief programme
A beneficiary of the COVID-19 Relief programme

This will be the shortest report we've ever delivered, and it's just to say we're still standing, and we're still working.  These past few months have been slow and quite uneventful, as we've been trying to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Consequently, we didn't hold our annual Summer Programme with our kids this year.  Thankfully, our sacrifice hasn't been in vain, because the stats are down enough for our government to feel optimistic about reopening schools this month!

Even still, we are being cautious.  Parents are assessing and taking their own risks with getting their children back into schools, while schools are making every effort to appear safe and ready to handle the risks of reoppening.  We are grateful to our child sponsors, many of which have been faithful with their contributions, despite the turbulence of this time, so that we are able to settle school fees for our children, and get them back to school and adhering to safety regulations.  We've been collating their bills for this purpose.

In other news, we were happy to partner with SAGE Foundation in June to provide palliatives to 125 families.  Together with JaceSoft Digital Solutions, we organised a two-day programme to distribute essential supplies and food provisions to families in need at Jakande, Lekki, where we are based. Our social workers referred to the list of 100 families we assembled last year to benefit from our Secret Santa Christmas and contacted them to inform them of this initiative. We also invited the families of the children enrolled in our Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative to make up the list of beneficiaries.  We wrote more about this on our blog.

As we all adjust to this new normal, redefining ourselves and reshaping our world, we wish you peace and joy.  May your changed circumstances only build your character and stregthen your spirit, and may you never relent in doing good!  God bless you much!

Provisions were spaced out to minimise contact
Provisions were spaced out to minimise contact
Teamwork makes the work fun
Teamwork makes the work fun

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Sponsor Akindele joined the FLA Kids at Valentine
Sponsor Akindele joined the FLA Kids at Valentine

I didn't want to do it... That is, base our report on the pandemic that has swept the world!  Surely, that's what everyone is wrting and talking about.  But the truth is, it has become our reality.

Before Coronavirus, we knew we had problems in the world, especially in my country, Nigeria!  But with Coronavirus, all the issues became magnified in the way they made responding to or thriving through the crisis difficult.  As a charity, we knew that poverty was a HUGE problem in our country, and it's one of the things we are tackling through our initiative.  But suddenly, with the entrance of Coronavirus and the compulsory lockdown, it seemed like the poverty we had been 'managing' was what would actually kill us before the Coronavirus we were all so afraid of!

While other citizens could boast about the support they got from their governments, we could not even dream of it.  The rich managed to take care themselves well by stocking up, but how could someone who lives on everything he makes each day stock up?!  How could someone who relies on his monthly income to live and provide for his family, and extended family even, stock up when he probably no longer has a job?  How could the homeless practice social distancing, when they don't even have their own place to sleep?  It didn't take long for the rich to begin to fear for the crime that would result from such imbalance and negligence of government.

Seriously, the issues are too abundant to talk about.  But something happened that brought it a little closer to home for us at Fair Life Africa Foundation.  A fire broke out in an already impoverished neighbourhood, where several of our children reside.  Fortunately, only one of our kids' homes was affected, but hers was one of 100 families whose homes were destroyed by the fire at "Dustbin estate", Ajegunle, where she lived with her mother.  How do you respond to such a crisis, in our state of enforced lockdown brought about by the pandemic?

Fortunately, another organisation, which had referred Naomi to us, were based at Ajegunle, and were on ground to provide assistance to those affected.  They were also able to confirm some statistics for us, and the real state of affairs.  Through our liason and partnership, we were able to raise funds to support 15 of the families affected, including our very own Naomi.  We wrote a post on our blog, which we circulated to raise awareness.  Our support addressed their immediate needs for food, medicine, and clothing, but they had to make do with squatting with friends or at Churches and available spaces nearby.  We really wish we could have done more, but we are happy to have been able to do anything at all.

This Valentine period, before the virus came to Nigeria, we organised a special brunch for our children, which we held at Foodies Restaurant, Lekki on the 16th of February. We invited their sponsors to join us and were happy that several honoured our invitation.  The children really enjoyed it, as it was a nice change from the other brunches and parties we organised at our centre.  We also wrote about this on our blog.

We really hope that the time will soon come when we can gather happily together again, without face masks, to enjoy our humanity and freedom.  But even more than this, we look forward to the day that 'charity' work will no longer be necessary, because poverty and disease will be no more...  Can we dream a little?

Until then, thanks so much for joining us in our efforts to make a difference in our world! 

A nice, new experience for our kids!
A nice, new experience for our kids!
Sponsor Yewande with her sponsored child
Sponsor Yewande with her sponsored child
Group shot!
Group shot!
Dustin Estate burned to the ground
Dustin Estate burned to the ground

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Organization Information

Fair Life Africa Foundation

Location: Lekki, Lagos - Nigeria
Website:
Project Leader:
Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon
Lekki, Lagos Nigeria
$5,739 raised of $90,000 goal
 
177 donations
$84,261 to go
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