Foundation raises family’s hope, gives succour to the homeless
For the Emmanuel family, the saying that the Lord usually meets despairing human beings at their point of greatest need has been truly and practically demonstrated. They have also come to experience first-hand that in such situations, it is fellow human beings that are used as tools to bring about such fulfilment.
In their case, the Emmanuels found succour in the bosom of Hope Rising Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) under the auspices of Mrs. Titilayo Abaniwonda-Lawal, when they became homeless and without any source of livelihood. The outfit specialises in providing solace to the needy.
Going down memory lane to narrate their ordeal, Peter Emmanuel said: “In November 2016, the Lagos State government demolished our area in Ajah without giving us a prior notice, as we were told the land matter was in court. Because of the suddenness, we couldn’t take anything with us. We succeeded in taking only the generating set alongside the children.
“The development affected our house and even my wife’s shop, where she was selling foodstuffs. To compound the problem, three days after the demolition, my wife gave birth to a set of twins. Since we were homeless, we started sleeping in our church at Ikate, Elegushi.
“Unfortunately, the twins started falling sick, and since we had no means of livelihood, my wife started begging. The money realised was used to treat the twins, as well as take care of our needs.”Such was their predicament, when fortunes suddenly smiled on the family and their lives changed so much that they are sure things will never be the same for them.
One day while begging, Mrs. Blessing Emmanuel met Mrs. Hekmot Alakija, who is the Director of programmes, Hope Rising Foundation.She recalled: “I used to go begging at the National Stadium. One day, I met Mrs. Hekmot Alakija, who invited me to a programme. She asked me why I was begging with my twins. She also took my phone number. Two months later, I got a call from her. I never thought or hoped she was ever going to call. At that time, we had moved to Oko Baba in Ebute Metta, where we were living in a small wooden room.
“She came over to our place with a lot of food items. She also spent a lot of money on us and promised us accommodation. Later, her visits became very frequent, and she had something new for us each time she came. My children and I were very happy on account of all this.”But this was just the beginning of good things for the Emmanuels, as Mrs. Hekmot again paid them a visit on September 15, 2017 and informed them they were moving into a proper house.
“On that day, she came with a bus and said we were moving into a house,” explained Mrs. Emmanuel. “To our pleasant surprise and delight, we found a well-furnished apartment that was to be our new home. My children were enrolled in a school, and all our expenses were taken care of. Hope Rising Foundation has banished poverty from our family and lives forever. I am truly grateful to them.”
Recently, Mr. Emmanuel was also presented with a tricycle to enable him to earn a living and take care of his family.The tricycle, which was donated to the foundation by the chairman and CEO of Autobahn Technique Ltd., Mr. Peter Alban Okonkwo, was presented to the elated family by Mrs. Hekmot Alakija.
Representing the president and founder, Mrs. Titilayo Abaniwonda-Lawal, Alakija explained how she met Blessing Emmanuel and got to know the Emmanuel family. She said: “In 2016, we organised a programme to celebrate with the vulnerable and orphaned. We identified some families with special challenges and decided to take up their cases. Unfortunately, however, only the Emmanuel family picked their call, when we reached out; others were not reachable. They told us their story and we did our investigations and confirmed before we proceeded to help.
“Mrs. Abaniwonda-Lawal would send money to me every month and tell me to give them foodstuffs. We started looking for accommodation for the family, as that was their major problem, and after much search, we were able to get one at Ikola in Ipaja on the outskirts of Lagos. We also arranged the admission for, and got school kits for the four older children.”
As they say, it is better to teach a man how to fish than give him fish. The team also decided to do something tangible for the head of Emmanuel family.So, it was the bid to empower the man of the house that informed the donation of the tricycle (Keke Napep).
An elated Peter Emmanuel, who is from Ebonyi State, said he felt blessed and fulfilled, having been empowered to work and earn a living. “Words are not enough to express my appreciation and happiness. I can’t really quantify how grateful I am. Every one that has heard my story finds it hard to believe,” he told The Guardian.
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