Nothing is too small to help those in need – Udemgba
After a recent outing at the Trauma Centre, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, initiator and convener of 1k Miracle Group, a charity organisation, Chile Frank-Udemgba told The Guardian that nothing is too small to contribute in alleviating the plight of the poor and the sick in our society. She told ENIOLA DANIEL that helping to bear the burden of others helps in strengthening the bonds of humanity.
What informed the birth of 1K Miracle Group and what purpose does the group serve in the society?
As a way of keeping fit I engage in aerobics, and while I jog at the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, I see a lot of bad cases, including where people are unable to pay for drugs, or to procure blood for transfusion and things like that.
When I come across these cases, I always wanted to help them, but could not because I was limited in some ways. That notwithstanding, I decided to have a conversation with a friend, Mr. Joseph Edgar, who gave me the idea of gathering money to help a group. I also informed him that I could as well gather a group of friends together and get them to donate N1, 000 each. Since getting N1, 000 from 10 people translates to N10, 000, I reasoned that this would go to a certain extent in helping even if it was one person. In fact, it would definitely make more impact than my N1, 000. So, that is how I and Edgar, my friend, started the group, which now has over 400 in our Whatsapp group. These members of 1K Miracle Group that we started, have been able to make a donation of almost N10m since we started out in December 2017.
In some cases, some of them donate more than N1, 000, but one thing is certain, and that is the fact that we have come to realise that donating N1, 000 every month will not cost us so much difficulty as pulling out N20, 000 or N50, 000. That N1, 000 we consider as lunch money, but at the end of the month, there is a feeling among members that they are doing something great.
Nobody prays for, or plans financially for the kind of accidents that people encounter. It is only when these kind of things happen that we realise that not many people have money kept somewhere that can be used to tackle such emergencies. As “miracle workers” (as we address ourselves) we are fully aware of this when we encounter people that are involved in fire outbreaks, accident and other such unfortunate happenings.
In this context, what does miracle mean to your group?
Miracle is unplanned, undeserved, unexpected, and cannot be rationalised. So, if a miracle happens to me, it’s not because I deserve it; not because I work for it, and not because you said that I am supposed to get it, it just happens.
If a person brings out a N100, 000 to help you at the point of your need, and this person is not expecting anything in return from you, and this is one person that you don’t know from Adam, I think that is the best miracle that you can give to someone that is really in need.
The other day, we met three people that had fire accidents in the market- one of them sells yam, another sells bread and the other person prepares tea for a living. If you imagine their daily or monthly income, it is safe to say that giving these people N50, 000 each to add to what they need to pay for their medication is a miracle. When they are fully treated and discharged, they would walk out of the hospital with a lot of memories and thoughts that there are still good people out there that show love without wanting anything back, and that is the basis of God’s love. That is loving without expecting anything in return.
Your group was recently at the Trauma Centre, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, where donations were made to some of the patients. How did that go?
It went well and we gave out a total N940, 000
The bulk of patients that benefitted from your group’s kind gesture were indigents. What can the government do to help this class of people?
The reason why people in hospitals see 1K Miracle Group as a miracle is because the government has failed us as a people. If the government was doing the right thing for the people, someone should be able to go to the hospital and get free treatment, and that would not be a miracle. But because many people go to the hospitals but do not get treated, and they do not even have money to buy drugs (which should actually be free if we had a working government), that is why the little things that we do constitute a miracle to many.
So, it is the government that has failed us, it’s unfortunate the people that have the money; people that are in control, instead of using their power for the good of the masses prefer to use it to oppress them. We can only pray that things would change by God’s grace. While waiting, we need to do the little that we can do to help the situation.
We are happy to be the change agent within our little environment, and we are happy to be used by God to salvage hopeless situations in some people’s lives.
So, if all of us choose to be the agents of change, perhaps one day, the people that have the power and the finances can key into this kind of vision and use their powers to be a blessing to the people. It is very important for people, especially those in positions of authority to first of all understand what life means to them because the health of the people must be key if you must have a virile and productive society.
You could not control your emotions at some point during the visit to the trauma centre. How touching were those sights?
When I visit hospitals, there are some cases that break me down, especially when I come to the conclusion that many people are suffering more across the country and the world at large.
However, what actually got me shattered during our last outing was the sad news that one of the patients that we helped before could not make it, and that was why I broke down. This is in addition to the fact that we saw a lot of bad cases; so many people that are forced to lie down on the hospital bed for weeks or months.
For some people, the dream to achieve everything they want in life stops the moment they find themselves here watching people groan.
For how long can your group sustain this gesture?
We are very hopeful that 1K Miracle Group can grow beyond where we are and beyond the 400 members, which we have across the country and the world. At the moment, we have members in America, Jamaica, Canada, and London. We hope to grow the membership strength to about 1, 000 or even one million. What is important is that as much as possible, people should become agents of change, we can have 1K Miracle Group in different places and locations, but most important thing for us is to create a movement where people realise that we need each other to be better.
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