Marvelous is a beneficiary of our Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative, who is a 200L student of Accounting at Delta State University. He joined us when he was in Junior Secondary School 1, and Shiv Lila Polymers has been faithfully contributing to enable us to sponsor his education, even to this higher level. But we recently met some challenges that helped us see the need to have a special programme for our university students.
In March, the trustees of Fair Life Africa Foundation decided to set-up, along the D2A Initiative, a Big Brother Scholarship specifically for university students, who need additional financial support, to help them focus on their studies and complete it with flying colours. This was to meet the needs of several of our D2A Kids, who have now gained admission into university, particularly for those who stay far from home.
Until earlier this year, Marvelous was quite comfortable, because he had a place of his own, and his education was fully paid for, courtesy of Shiv Lila Polymers. But due to economic crisis in the country, his landlord doubled his rent, so that we were no longer able to cover that expense. In fact, we have spent much more that we have received settling his bills, including paying for his transport to Lagos at times. After a discussion with his sponsors, we realised that it would be necessary for him to get additional support to cover such expenses.
Marvelous found somewhere else to stay, but the rent was still too high. Last week, he had to move out of his accommodation to stay with a friend, who was happy to assist. He said his friend, who is also a student, has been also helping with meeting some other needs for him, and agreed to take him in temporarily while he sat for his exams. We are grateful for this generousity and good favour, but we also have reason to be weary. Sometimes, people have ulterior motives, and even though Marvelous isn't a child anymore, we still feel protective over him.
I called Marvelous today, and we had a brief chat. He sounded well and said he was fine. He said he would really appreciate having a big brother to help him, so that he can focus on his studies without worrying about meeting his essential needs.
The Big Brother Scholarship Initiative supports youths like Marvelous, who are in university, struggling to care for themselves or manage the support they receive from their family. We would like to use this occasion to invite you to become a big brother. With N50,000 a month, you can help someone like Marvelous to complete their studies and achieve their potential. Do check out our Approved Appeals list on our website to see more students and children who you can lend your support to.
Thank you for your donations, which help us to keep doing our best for those less fortunate in our society. May God continue to bless you in all you do. Amen.
In other news, we took our children in primary and secondary school out to brunch on Valentine's Day, as we continued our Valentine's Brunch tradition. It was our first since 2020. We wrote about it on our blog. Do check it out.
Joy is a ten year old girl we met and enrolled into our programme at the tender age of seven, back in 2018. We normally do not take in children younger than nine, but she was fortunate and had an eager sponsor ready to take her under their wing.
Besides that, Joy is a very smart and intelligent child. She is a top pupil in her school. She dreams of becoming an accountant when she grows up. However, because of poverty, her education was at risk. But all that changed when she became the youngest FLA Kid in 2018. She's been a joyful addition to the FLA Kids, and her bestie is Precious, who is just a year older.
This year, instead of hosting a Christmas party, we asked all our kids to send in videos telling us what Christmas means to them and their best Christmas experience. We've been sharing these videos on our social media. But, Joy's video was special in that she was so joyful as she gave us three gbosas! That's like three cheers, but way more exciting. She said that her favourite Christmas was the one we tagged 'A Christmas to Remember' in 2018. It was her first experience with FLA, and we left an impression.
That was the Christmas when the FLA Kids got to host their own party. They were the planners, presenters, and performers. And we invited their friends and family, as well as their sponsors. 50 families left with huge hampers that day. It was the most cited favourite Christmas experience, and we are thinking we would like a repeat of that. This year, we sent all of them money to celebrate Christmas with, as we have many children away at university in different parts of the country.
However, Joy was among ten children we nominated to attend the Bloom Story Christmas Party this year. It is an annual Christmas event organised by Cynthia Obioha and other philanthropic Nigerians. Joy got to do her hair all nice and was given a lovely dress and gorgeous shoes to wear for the party. She looked and felt like a princess! But when it came to dancing... She rocked the stage like a superstar! Joy left with the award for the best dancer.
Check out some pictures from both events. We would like to think we brought colour into Joy's Christmas and life, but honestly, she brought colour to us! Helping these beautiful children is like finding diamonds and cleaning them up nice. We are blessed too. We are so glad we are able to make a difference in their lives and that you're behind us in this vocation. God bless you.
We want to use this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We reached out to one of our sponsored children's guardians for a testimony, and this is what she wrote:
My daughter, Precious, joined FLA Kids in 2018, and since then it has an amazing experience for her and a dream come true for me, cos we were in a difficult situation and it was affecting her at that tender age. Since she joined FLA kids, we always have smile on our faces.
1) Her school fees are paid on time. She's more concentrated on her studies, and she has improved a lot.
2) She is happy cos am happy. She's a happy child.
Since she joined FLA she has gone on different outings. Her first outing was a beautiful experience for her. Mummy Ufuo took them to ShopRite and they were asked to pick what they want. She ended picking some toys she didn't like, even at that she didn't cry cos the joy she felt that lasted for many days. She told me everything bit by bit... She also joined for many other outings before covid set in.
This year children's day was another amazing experience cos I was opportuned to experience their joy. We were taken to Omu resort at Bogije, and it was fun. My daughter has joy that has lasted since then and still ongoing. She will always tell me, "Mommy, I must save money so you and I can go to Omu resort," and I always say, "Amen."
You can imagine the joy, where I haven't been able to take her out or get things for her. FLA has done all for her. How can I forget the BLOOM PARTY, a Christmas gift, a Christmas to remember. I can mention but few.
FLA, thank you so much. That Christmas we ate chicken, even when covid has dealt with many Nigerians. FLA fed us well.
At home Precious is very helpful, so many things she learned in the school she practice at home. She made her own apron that she uses in the at home. I'm happy she attends a good school courtesy of FLA. She recently wrote her common entrance exam, courtesy of FLA. She joined the school for an excursion, courtesy of FLA. Thank you so much.
Recently, my family has had a terrible experience with our landlord. We couldn't remit our rent since it expired in February this year, so by August our Landlord gave us one week to pack. We couldn't do anything, we looked everywhere, no help. I cried out to Mummy Ufuo and she came to our aid through the help of my daughter's sponsor. Our sponsor paid our rent balance #130k, and FLA also gave Daddy Precious money #40k to repair his motor he was using for transportation to sustain the family, which has been at the mechanic since 4 months now. Thank God the work has commenced on the motor now.
I'm very grateful to all the FLA family. Everyone works tirelessly to clean our tears. My daughter's sponsor, whoever you are, wherever you are, distance is not a barrier. God will locate you, God will bless abundantly. My family has been praying for you, and I know my God who answers in secret will reward you openly in Jesus name amen.
May God bless Mummy Ufuo for your love towards the needy. You will live to eat the fruit of your labour, amen. I also thank Uncle Emeke for his unrelenting effort to make sure the kids are doing great. Thank you.
Last September, we reached out to residents of our Gbara community after one of our child sponsors communicated her desire to take another child under her wings (so wonderful!). Five referrals were received and even though three of those children were brilliant and disadvantaged, they didn't meet our age requirement as they were below the age of 9. After conducting our assessment, we discovered Grace's 82% score was thoroughly deserved. Grace was the top student in her class, and though she dreams of being a Medical Doctor in future, her favorite subject is English Language. Grace was adopted into our Disadvantage to Advantage Programme to receive support with her education.
In October 2021, Grace had the opportunity to meet with her sponsor at Foodies, Lekki. It was a time to bond, eat, relax, and talk about future plans. Her sponsor was pleased to meet her and also encouraged her to do better with her academics. In December, Grace had the chance to visit an orphanage with other FLA Kids and enjoy a meal at Sweet Sensations, where we took the children to celebrate. She also took home a hamper we packed for her and her family.
She resumed school in January, and her fees were settled. But on the 26th of January 2022, an eviction notice was served to all tenants where Grace and her family lived. Grace’s dad reached out to inform us about it in February, and we asked them to look for alternative, affordable accommodation in their neighbourhood. Due to the family's financial challenge, when they had finally found somewhere good and affordable, we made an appeal to the public about supporting Grace and her family move into their new home before Children's Day.
Two days after the appeal was made, we reached and surpassed our goal for the family! On Thursday, 28th April, payment was made on their behalf to settle their rent and agency fees, and the family was delighted!
Grace and her family are so grateful for the love showed them in their moment of despair, and we are glad we were able to help. We appreciate every single person who decided to give. When we got the alert of N2,500 from an anonymous donor, we were so warmed and encouraged, because we know that person really wanted to give! And maybe they even needed it, but they chose to part with it, showing compassion for others. We just want you to know we appreciate what you gave and God will multiply it back to you 1000 fold in Jesus' name!
We also want to use this opportunity to appreciate everyone who donates to us through this GlobalGiving platform. Nothing you give is too small, and we do our best to ensure that your donation gets to those who need it. Thank you for your trust and your generosity.
For Christmas, we arranged a hangout with the FLA Kids who have graduated secondary school. Many of them are in higher education, while a few just graduated last year and are awaiting admission. It was the first hangout we've had with the children since the outbreak in early 2020, after our Valentine's Brunch with all the children and their sponsors.
This hangout was much needed, and the children (some are now young adults) shared their stories with us, about life in university, how they've coped with COVID and different life events, getting work experience and doing vocational training, while waiting for admission to university. We also used the opportunity to talk to them about volunteering with us, moving beyond being beneficiaries and helping us to help more children in need. It was a fun, emotional, and inspiring time of reconnection.
Ijeoma, one of our child sponsors, attended to spend time with her sponsored child, Naomi. She, like all the children who just completed their SSCE and WAEC examinations, passed with flying colours. We are so proud of their accomplishments.
After our meal at a notable restaurant in Lekki, Lagos, we made our way to the Twin Waters complex, where we planned to watch a movie. But we missed the last show that would allow them to get home at a reasonable hour, so the children enjoyed playing games at the arcade instead. Afterwards, they did some bowling as we continued to enjoy being together again.
The younger children in our care, who are yet to graduate from secondary school, were invited on an outing to an orphanage later in the week, where one of our children resides. They were each given a bag filled with provisions and snacks, and we enjoyed a lovely meal out too. It was a joyous time, and we hope it won't be too long before we can all come together again.
Thanks so much for your faithful and generous support of our work. We pray that you will have all you need, good health and prosperity, in 2022!
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