The Candlelight Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to fighting hunger and providing free meals weekly for the vulnerable in Lagos, will hold what it tagged ‘Football Over Hunger; and a ‘Walk Against Hunger’ later this month and early next month respectively.
During the event, the group will also seek donations to save lives. The event is supported by Providus Bank, FBN Mortgages, and Indomie Noodles among others.
The events are part of broader humanitarian projects that include the ‘Football Over Hunger’ match between some initiatives of the non-governmental organisation to raise funds to sustain the cause and also seek support from government.
Commenting on this year’s projects, executive director of the Candlelight Foundation, Uzoamaka Okeke, said: “We are working on two projects at the moment. The ‘Football Over Hunger’ match and our annual ‘Walk Against Hunger.’ The football match is between two organisations in the Fintech industry: FINT and Pagatech. It will hold on April 19.
“It is a novelty match to raise funds for our cause as well as a team-bonding opportunity for each organisation and an opportunity to be part of a great cause. The walk against hunger will be held on May 4 this year.
“It is another great opportunity to raise awareness of the hunger emergency in our country and bring the public together to fight it.”
Highlighting the focus of the NGO, Okeke said: “The beneficiaries of our projects are always the less advantaged in our society. We provide free meals and adult education to the needy as well as get young kids off the street and put them back in school.”
Okeke explained that there have been many accomplishments since inception of Candlelight Foundation. “We have been able to provide over 50,000 meals to the needy and give people jobs. Our adult education classes currently have more than 50 men and women in attendance. We have been able to educate on hygiene, and given over 100 men free haircuts and shaves.
“We give out clothing and shoes regularly. Our centre in Surulere, Lagos, has shower facilities where people bathe for free. They also come and wash their clothes for free without fear of theft. We have been able to provide a non-judgemental place where they can come and talk, rest their weary legs, and take shelter from the sun and rain. We have provided a place where they can receive hope.”
Asked what the NGO aims to achieve in the long run by setting up a non-profit soup kitchen, Okeke explained: “Unless you have a heart of stone, just step outside your home and you will see the need. We started it because there was a need for it. Our aim is to affect the thinking capacity of every Nigerian by providing the basic nutrition one needs to be effective in society.
“A hungry man cannot apply for a job or sit for an interview. A hungry man will eventually become a nuisance when he has so much potential inside of him.”
“There are so many NGOs out there doing great things. The Candlelight has found itself catering mostly but not exclusively to the less advantaged men in our society. These men are both socially and biblically head of household, but with little or no tools to function properly in that role, one can only wonder what kind of role model such a man is to his wife and kids.”
She also opened up on the challenges of running a non-profit soup kitchen in Nigeria: “One of the major challenges to fundraising is the awareness of who we are and what we do. We are trying to get the word out and let people know we exist and that they could possibly save a life with just N200.
“It costs only N200 to feed one person and give them hope that tomorrow could be better. I think the economy also has a role in the challenges to fundraising. It was quite a tight year in 2018. Somehow, I just believe this year would be much better. I am moved by the plight of the poor and I want to care for as many as I can reach. Anyone can follow us on @thecandlelightng on Instagram and Facebook. Our website is HYPERLINK “http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thecandlelightng.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGN9gyFd3nMRp91st0_BY98TLucCQ” \t “_blank” www.thecandlelightng.com
“It is not an easy road. There is quite some backlash, but it is a road I have chosen and must see through. It is not to prove anything to anyone but because it is a noble cause; a cause I would gladly champion.”