It was a great time for some orphans in Aniocha South and Aniocha North local government areas of Delta State recently, as a group blessed them with several educational tools.
The Odita Sunday Charity (TOSC) Foundation recently put smiles on their faces as it provided them with tools to go back to school after the coronavirus lockdown.
TOSC Foundation provided the children with schoolbags, exercise books, mathematical sets, pens, textbooks, and Bibles, among other educational materials. It was the fifth edition of the foundation’s back-to-school outreach. The foundation was founded by Mr. Sunday Odita, a journalist with the Guardian Newspapers.
Master Ikechukwu, from Idimuje Unor, who spoke at the event in Onicha-Ugbo, said: “I am an orphan. I have been hearing of Odita Foundation for over three years, but I had never benefitted. I was shocked about three weeks ago when someone told me that the foundation was compiling names of orphans to be given free schoolbags, books, mathematical sets, biros, textbooks and other school tools. I thought that it was possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic and I refused to put down my name.
“But when Odita Foundation came, the children who were waiting for the occasion started dancing and praising God that Odita had arrived. I quickly rushed down to the venue. I was given some items, but not as many as my friends who registered. Next year, I will be the first to register.”
Joy Nwokodi has been enjoying the philanthropy of TOSC Foundation for five years.
She said: “I no longer crack my brain or worry myself on how my brother’s kids will go back to school. My brother left the kids behind, but through Odita Foundation, I don’t suffer to send them back to school. I was looking for a Bible, but today, I have been given one. Odita said an Assistant Commissioner of Police who is a pastor donated the Bible. May God bless the policeman.”
Chairperson of the Delta State House of Assembly Commission, Mrs. Ada Kachikwu, admonished the children to use the gifts from the foundation well.
“It is not about collecting gift items, but will you use them judiciously? You have collected novels, Bibles, textbooks, etc. I advise that you don’t keep them in the bags. Books are meant to be read. Read them. Second, you don’t need to wait for your teachers to force you to read. You must read, as the secret of passing examination is constant reading. If you read, you will pass your examination.,” Mrs. Kachikwu, a lawyer, said.
She warned them not to join illegal cults, even as she charged parents to be close to their children, noting that both boys and girls were being abused on a daily basis.
“Fathers, uncles, aunties, teachers, pastors and relatives engage in sex abuse. So, once anyone touches you where you are not supposed to be touched, report to the appropriate authorities. I am also available to take up the fight,” she told the children.
Peoples Democratic Party leader in Onicha-Ugbo, Mr. Laurence Izegbu, who lauded the project, said he was surprised that Odita was able to reach out to the less privileged even after the COVID-19 lockdown, He called on well-meaning Nigerians and the government to key into the project and support the foundation with materials and other logistics.
He advised the children to use the school material judiciously, as they have been fully equipped to go back to school.
Founder of TOSC, Mr. Odita, said the 2020 edition of the back-to-school outreach for orphans and less privileged was a huge success: “Dozens of schoolbags, exercise books, mathematical sets, dictionaries, calculators, Bibles, nose masks, face shields, etc, were distributed to orphans and less privileged in my community, irrespective of tribe. Children from all tribes in the country living in my community benefitted. Giving is living. Humanity is the reason for our existence; let’s add value to the earth. This is the fifth edition. Many of you gathered here in Onicha-Ugbo to witness the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions and you are witnessing the 2020 edition.
“So, we are appreciative and grateful to God for making it possible for us to keep the faith with this laudable project, which is aimed at helping the less privileged, especially orphans, in our society.
“The back-to-school project was strategically planned to take place after the COVID-19 lockdown at a time when primary and secondary schools are about to resume for a new academic year. It is a period parents are under pressure to pay school fees and buy all the necessary books and materials for their children. It is in this light that the TOSC Foundation has chosen to assist the less privileged in our communities.
“In the last four years, no fewer than 400 less privileged students and pupils from various communities in Delta North benefitted from the project. I must sincerely state that I am not driven by any political and monetary gain, but by passion to be my brother’s keeper, through the onerous task of trying to give a helping hand. We don’t receive any form of grant from the government or any donor agency. The organisation depends solely on personal efforts and assistance of a few kind-hearted friends.”