It's that time of the year again, and we want to be one of the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We can hardly believe how quickly the year has gone by. The Yuletide is, for many, a season to show love. It is a season of giving and sharing with friends, family and everyone around us, and often the time when the needy among us are given attention.
We will be using this time to pay special visits to encourage the boys we have reconciled, while we also support their families with provisions. School session is gradually drawing to a close and the FLA Kids are also writing their first term exams with their mates in schools back at home. Andrew, Peter and Mark have also been registered in schools close to their residences so they could re-sit their WAEC examinations as external candidates, while they also get extra tutorials to perform better this time around. The Home will open as a Day Centre over Christmas, as we receive boys from the streets for assessment and support towards reconciliation. Do read on to learn how you can lend your support this Christmas!
In our October newsletter, we told you about our partnership with Project Alert on Violence Against Women and the Child to Child Network on a crisis intervention for Christine and her kids. We are glad to report to you that Christine and the kids are doing well. Project Alert has waived the second month accommodation fee, and Christine’s family has agreed to provide financial support for her upkeep. In this edition of our newsletter, we bring you updates of our work with some of the boys we have reconciled, as well as our efforts to get more people involved in the practicalities of our work, by hosting a consultation on Mentoring and Befriending.
We are glad for all the support received so far, and say thank you as we remain steadfast in our quest towards ensuring a fairer life for all. Do have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous 2014 in advance. Cheers!
Fair Life Africa is supported by:
A Community of Like Minds
It is true that a load becomes lighter when more hands are involved and the saying that talk is cheap is equally true. It is never enough to wish our problems away. There's never a better way to solve the challenges that beset us than for a community to seek ways to tackle these problems together. The street child phenomenon is a common problem all across the world and even though we sometimes turn a blind eye to it, we cannot underestimate the threat it poses to our society. Maybe not in the present, but certainly in the future.
On Saturday 30th November, the first ever FLA Kids Mentoring and Befriending Consultation was held at the CCC Respite Home. This consultation was our attempt to receive diverse contributions from those expressing interest in the rehabilitation process (through tutoring, mentoring or volunteering), and bring all interested parties together to decide on one strategy that will be embedded in our existing rehabilitation programme going forward.
Ufuoma led the session and informed all present about the aims of the consultation; i.e. finding mentors to boys who have been on the street; linking each child to a friend they can talk to; engaging the public to the rehabilitation of street children; and maximising the support available to - and potential of - the child. She also gave a presentation on mentoring and befriending, stating their differences as well as the criteria and requirements for those who would be actively involved and the benefits for all (children, society and volunteers too).
There was a brief interlude for a tour of the facility and group photo sessions of participants. Light refreshments were served while meaningful contributions were made on developing a strategy in combating the street child problem through an effective collaborative effort. One of the challenges raised was about achieving a balance between academic education and vocational training, and it was settled upon that it needs to be on a child to child basis, and a decision should be reached only upon sufficient counselling and mentoring support for the child.
It was an enlightening session for many, and encouraging for us, who longed for their contributions. We would like to appreciate all our friends who attended, especially our passionate partners at Lafarge FOC (Friends of the Community). God bless you! If you didn't attend, there's still an opportunity to get involved in what we do. Volunteers are still welcome to SIGN UP. You can also download the presentation to learn more HERE.
Day Centre Project
We are pleased to report that after a very long process, and intensive assessment, we have finally obtained a full approval to run our Rehabilitation Home by the Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development!!! This is actually quite an achievement, as we have learnt that we are the FIRST NGO in Lagos to be fully registered with them!
We are now gearing our efforts towards restructuring and raising funds for the next session of boys we would be working with in the next academic session. While the Home is not yet open for accommodating a new set, we will still operate, from December, as a Day Centre, and continue our work in Care and Continuity to address the ongoing challenge of children on the streets and their need for love and nurture.
Children would be invited to visit the Home to rest and play, and also receive counselling and other psychosocial support, before we undergo home tracing to begin the process of reconciliation. Children who are reconciled will be monitored at home, as we continue our assessments and follow up of each child. Depending on their ability and stability of their home, they would be supported with academic scholarship or enrolled in a vocational institute, and qualifying families will also be supported for sustainability.
Ayo and Ifeoma (our Lead Support Worker and Social Worker) are currently on outreach, inviting the boys to our Home from their street hangouts (Oshodi, Mushin etc). We are also looking for volunteers who would be able to work twice weekly as field/support workers, or contribute their quota in the area of mentoring and teaching these boys vocational skills as part of the rehabilitation process. We would also appeal for those lacking time to give financially or donate physical items like used clothing, shoes, toiletries, food, books etc, which we will use for the boys visiting, as well as to spread Christmas cheer to our reconciled boys! Thank you in advance!
Social Care News
It is usually heart cheering to know that our boys are still at home with their families, and doing well in their less cosy environments. We feel proud and encouraged receiving good news about their character transformation and how helpful they have been at home. We followed up on all the boys this month, though we were unable to visit all because of far distances.
Ufuoma, Ayo and Damilola, a volunteer visited Peter at his home and his guardians spoke well about him. Peter was counseled on the need to stay focused on his studies and spend less time on social media, which he as taken to. He was advised to focus on his studies, and count himself privileged to be given another chance to sit his WAEC exams. We had earlier during the year gave financial support to Peter's family to help with his aunty's business, and supported them to get their new two-room accommodation. However, from our recent visit, we learnt that her small business is the only things sustaining their family of ten!
Ifeoma, our Social Worker, also visited Mark who had just rounded up his Computer course with NIIT and is currently studying to re-sit his WAEC examinations next year. Mark's dad has been unemployed for some months now and we had supported his wife's business with a donation of a deep freezer and some provisions. From our recent visit, business has not been thriving as a result of the epileptic power supply in Lagos, and she sometimes needs to buy ice blocks to keep drinks chilled for customers. We are working with both families, and the others on how to overcome these challenges with business and finance.
There are yet other families that we have not mentioned like John and Derek, who need our assistance. However, we are only as capable as the support we receive, and implore your continued assistance so that we can help these struggling families to rebuild their lives together. Thanks for your support, which is going a long way. From us all here... Have a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!