On Saturday, September 26, children at the Life Changer Less Privileged Home in Festac Town, Lagos, were in a boisterous mood. They sang and prayed for members of the Ajeromi-Ifelodun High School Old Students Association class of 99, (AIHSOSA ’99) who visited the orphanage with gifts worth over N200,000.
Some of the items presented during the visit included bags of rice, beans, garri, noodles, cartons of fruit juice, cartons of biscuits, cornflakes, tissue paper, baby walker and several other items.
Nine-year-old Precious Wealth and Ibukun Wealth, on behalf of the orphans, prayed that God would reward their visitors and preserve them for future assignments to humanity.
In his remarks, chairman of the old students’ association, Mr. Vitalis Bassey, thanked the management of the orphanage for giving them the privilege to visit. He told the children that they could achieve their dreams, including being the governor of a state, if they remained focused.
“This place is a starting point for you. I want to see you on television speaking as CEOs, factory owners or even running organisations like this where you give back to the society. I want to see these and many more about you in future,” he told them.
Bassey said the association, which came into existence in 2012, has charity work as its core mandate: “We want to give back to the society that raised us. We organise this kind of visit once every year. It is always done during the month of June but this year’s own is coming this late due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“We visit orphanages in June and organise symposium in our alma-mater in September. During the symposium, we give books, bags, school uniforms and even award scholarships to students. The scholarships come in form of paying WAEC fees for the lucky students. Some of us are into different vocations; so, we also get some of the students and train them. The criterion for selection is simply to answer questions that we ask. Those who successfully answer our questions are given the scholarship and we have been doing that since 2012,” Bassey stated.
On how they raise funds to execute their projects, he said: “We pay monthly dues, but when we have a project to execute, we tax ourselves so as to raise the needed money for the project. We have over 100 active members. We don’t have any sponsorship or partner,” he added.
Responding, Mary Favour, a staff of the orphanage who represented the manager, Mrs. Queen Umike, thanked AIHSOSA ’99 members for choosing to visit the orphanage out of numerous others in Lagos: “We have more than 27 children here but they can’t come down because of COVID-19. Every child that is here is known to the government. We are registered under government. So, every child here came through the government, and for those that didn’t come through the government, we always go back to notify the government about them for record purposes. This enables the government to carry out proper investigation about the children, to trace their parents and reconcile them or find foster parents for them,” she said.
On the age of children the centre admits, she said: “We take children from zero to 10 years but, right now, we have a 12-year-old. The youngest with us now is nine months old,” she said.