For The Love Of Children
Valentine’s Day was birthed on the foundation of love and sacrifice. What better way than to celebrate the day of love with the kids of Peculiar Saints Orphanage and Mend A Life and Home Initiative, orphanages and NGOs who have dedicated their mission to give these children hope. We took these children to the park for a picnic and experienced the true meaning of love.
(For security purposes, their faces have been covered)
Godiya wants to become a musician when she grows up and she sang a song “My Praise’ which she composed. The song is all about her trials; the hope in her eyes reaffirm the lyrics where she says ‘I have lost so much, but one thing I would never lose is my praise’. Separated from her parents when Boko Haram attacked her church in Adamawa State, she ran with a group of people she met and they lived in the forest for a week, with nothing to eat but corn, beans and groundnut. Every place she thought she was safe, Boko Haram attacked. She trekked with her unknown companions to Yola. Connected with her Aunt by a stranger who recognized her, she stayed with her aunt and became an apprentice at a hair salon, until the Boko Haram attacked again and she ran for her life and she lost track of her aunty. With the little money she made from her time as an apprentice, she followed a trailer to Lagos, where she found her way to the sister church she attended in Adamawa (Ekiliziya Yanuwa Nigeria Church). It was there she was connected with the founder of Mend A Life and Home Initiative, who took her and a couple of children in and provided them with education, food and hope.
‘I like school, I cannot forget Big Mummy in my life,” she said. “I haven’t heard about my family for 3 years. If I start to say all the things that Big Mummy has done for me, I cannot mention it. I will try my best and I would pray. Big Mummy said she would help me, I would fast and pray to God to help Big Mummy so she can help me.”
Daniella, David and Daniel
The triplets’ smiles are infectious with their smile and they carry joy and happiness in their eyes. Daniella, being the custodian of her brothers, answers most of the questions. They were abandoned by their father when he found out that his wife had given birth to triplets (who had given given birth to a set of twins). The pain and sadness led to the death of their mother. The triplets have been in various institutions and have finally found their place in the Peculiar Saints Orphanage. “I love my new home,” she said. “I have drinks, money and food’. It hurts me to realize that the basic things we have as kids are what these kids consider a privilege.
David ran home to his father after the second Boko haram attack at his boarding school in Borno state. In the middle of the night, they ran to their village to meet his grandmother and uncle. Boko haram attacked again leading to his father death and David and his family ran to the next village. The next attack separated him from his grandmother and he ran into the forest with his where they attacked again and his uncle was killed. He trekked to Yola and found companions, with whom he walked for three days until they located an IDP camp. There was no food or water so he entered a motor park and helped to load the goods and luggage. He caught a bus to Lagos and was directed to the Lagos branch of his church (Ekiliziya Yanuwa Nigeria Church) where he was also found by the founder of Mend A Life and Home Initiative. “Big Mummy now is my Mum,” he said. “My Mum married another person and has left me. I thank God that Big Mummy has been taking care of me. God would bless her, so I am praying to Nigeria to please help her. Amen”.
So many times we have passed an orphanage, heard about an NGO and the beautiful work they have done but we do not feel the need to help. We feel we don’t have enough to give, but however little, it is just the right dose of what they need. Their stories are part of the many stories of pain, loss, hurt and sadness that many of these children face. They are in different NGO’s, orphanages in Lagos and Nigeria. Some think that all hope is lost but you can make the difference.
Nothing is too small. Isn’t that what this day is all about? Isn’t it the reason why we celebrate this day? Make this day not about your loved one but someone who needs your love. Do this for the love of children.