By Vivian Onyebukwa, Lagos
The United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) in collaboration with Joan Agha Foundation has marked this year’s International Day of Charity with a visit to Love Orphanage home in Magodo, Lagos.
The International Day of Charity, which is marked every 5th of September, was established by the United Nations with the objective of sensitising and mobilising people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to offer humanitarian assistance, through volunteering and philanthropic activities.
September 5 was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.
UNAN is a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). It is a Non-Governmental Organisation that was established in 1959 by Babs Fafunnwa, former Minister of Education. It works to improve the relationship between people in member countries and the United Nations, develop public understanding of the UN and its operations, and promote the UN’s overall aims.
Speaking at the even, Joan Agha, the Association’s President, who was represented by the Secretary General of UNAN Remi Olutimo emphasised that the organisation is dedicated to the goals of the International Day of Charity.
He focused on the benefits of charity and how it may help bridge the divide between Nigerians of all ethnic backgrounds.
Olutimo remarked that generosity is an expression of love that all Nigerians speak in the same language, regardless of religion, creed, or ethnicity.
He asked Nigerians and Non-Profit Organisations to draw inspiration from Mother Theresa’s life and times in order to continue to make a good difference in the lives of the less fortunate.
On why the organisation decided to choose Love Orphanage Home for the charity, the UNAN Secretary General explained: ‘We decided to choose this place because it is central. Normally, on that day you can choose to observe any place to observe with the UN. This place was chosen because it looks more central.’
He added that they chose orphanage at random each year to visit and celebrate the day together, saying that orphanages are unique in that, they provide a safe haven for society’s most vulnerable individuals.
He appealed to those who wish to adopt children to ensure they do that for the right reason. ‘To adopt, you must first ensure that you are adopting for the correct reasons and that you are prepared to adopt, keeping in mind what the children have been through before being placed in orphanages. They require a lot of affection and are ready to raise them as a new family,’ he stated.
Also speaking, the former Secretary General of UNAN, Ganiyu Owolabi, appealed to the government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of orphanage homes in the society, adding that such aid would enable them run the homes effectively.
In keeping with this, UNAN Nigeria commemorated the day by donating various food items to the “Love Orphanage Home” in Magodo, Lagos. The items include beverages, rice, pasta, biscuits, yam, some bags of rice, groundnut oil, to mention a few.
Receiving the items on behalf of the Founder and President of “The Real Woman Foundation”, Nike Adeyemi, a social worker and Manager In-Charge of the home, Toke Onosanya, expressed gratitude to the organisation. ‘With all the things you brought, it will go a long way in taking care of the children. We can’t take you for granted,’ she stated.
She acknowledged that people come in and make donations, which has helped a lot, but appealed for more donations from good spirited individuals and companies to the orphanage.
‘Support with school fees through sponsorship. We need a bus, pool car to take the children to the hospital or school, others,’ she appealed.