The Association of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Women in Lagos recently distributed foodstuff to inmates of several orphanages in Lagos. This, the group said, was to help lessen the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was further gathered that the donations, presented by the president of the association, Mrs. Violet Obiora, along with other executive members of the association, were meant to help the children amid the harsh economic crisis that has immensely affected the welfare of children with special needs.
Obiora stated that, during the first 14 days of the lockdown, which was announced by the Federal Government to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the association gave cash donations to the less-privileged to support the fight against the pandemic. She said it was an extension of the group’s love to residents of orphanages.
Obiora stated that the association had been supporting orphanages and vulnerable persons in different communities in Nigeria for some time, explaining that the donation was a way to identify and show love to the orphans in their various homes.
“Initially, the association thought that within a short time, things would have returned to normal. But the situation persisted and we needed to do more, to bring succour to indigent folks. We became very worried about a likely food shortage for the children in orphanages, so we approached some prominent Ndigbo. These include people like Mr. Chigozie Dniorah, Mr. Edwin Obiorah and members of his family, Mr. Jude Okerafor, and Mr. Oscar Odiegwu and solicited their support in order to reach out to more children in the homes. They obliged us and even became partners with us, supporting the welfare of children with special needs.
“More so, when the association visited, we assured them of our support for their well-being, and that we would always come around to visit them to show them that some of us in this nation still love them and will continue to care for them,” she said.
Obiora added that, since there is a global pandemic that has closed international borders and businesses, a situation that has reduced the number of charitable giving to the homes, the association has decided to embark on such humanitarian interventions regularly.
She stressed that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Women Association had donated to Little Saints Orphanage, Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice, Surulere, as well as homes in Anambra State, among others.
Obiora urged the Lagos State government and other well-meaning Nigerians to include the less privileged, indigent children, and orphans, including kids with special needs, in their budgets and provide some of their needs.
“We feel for these children as they are our brothers and sisters who are not always remembered by other members of society.
“They are kept where we met them today, which is not a fault of theirs. As a society, we should encourage and look after them by showing them a sense of belonging.
In her response, Mrs. Theresa Adedoyin, founder, Heart of Gold Children’s Hospice, Surulere, commended the spirit behind the donation, which she said was the passion to bring smiles to the faces of the needy.
“It is at times like this that you know those who are passionate about meeting the needs of abandoned, orphaned and sick children suffering from a vast range congenital abnormalities.
“What the association has done today shows that their efforts were based on passion and commitment to the plight of the downtrodden. We can only commend them and urge them to continue to identify with the wards in this home.”
The Ndigbo women expressed gratitude to the management of the school for taking good care of the children and providing the children with a very healthy living environment.
“We are happy to be a blessing to them. The managers of the school have shown genuine love and care for the children. The way the home has taken care of the children is heart-warming. The knowledge base of the children, their learning enhancement models are so interesting.
“We cannot but see how to partner with this home and increase the knowledge base of the children in our own little way and support their needs. We are excited. We love what we see. We love the children. So. we will be coming intermittently to ensure that we address their needs.
“They are like any one of us; they need love and we need to show them that we love them. We need to lift up their spirits and emotions by coming around and playing with them and providing their needs.
“When it is also the end of the year, we will party with them, so that they may know that they are not lonely or alone in society,” she added.
The president of the association also condemned the rise in rape incidents and called for stiffer punishment to be meted out to sex offenders. In her view, the reason the menace of rape has not been effectively curtailed over the years was not the absence of relevant laws to bring culprits to book but the weakness of the relevant authorities in the area of implementation and enforcement.