By SAM EYOBOKA & OLAYINKA LATONA
AT the Holy Family Home for the Elderly, Mushin in Lagos owned by the Catholic Arch-diocese of Lagos, Sister-in-charge of the home for the past five years, Rev. Mother Antonia Adebowale said a Pentecostal church, House on the Rock Church, came to the home to celebrate with the inmates and “it was a beautiful gathering because the elders were treated to the full-ness. They took them out and they had a good time.”
For next year, “we will have a get together here to thank the Lord for His mercy and goodness over the house. Most im-portantly, I would have loved to take the elders out that day but we don’t have a bus that can convey them.”
The reverend mother stated that doctors and physiotherapists come in regularly to check and treat our elderly ones from time to time; that is why you can see them looking healthy and fine, adding “our major concern and challenge is that we are not mobile and this pose a great challenge for us when we are to go out either for sight seeing or when invited for an occasion.
“During the Christmas period,” she continued, “I had the intention of taking them out to see the beauty of Lagos in the night, especially those wonderful decorations at night but I could not because I don’t want to charter a Danfo or Molue to convey them. You can imagine the manner of driving of most of these commercial drivers because these are people who are really old.
“We have Sienna bus but it is not enough, because we have other elderly ones outside these hostels who are staying with their famil-ies. What we need is a 14-16 seater bus,” she stated.
Giving should not be limited to Christmas season only —Mrs. Felicia Martins; CEO of So Said Charity Home
The last Yuletide season was a unique one at So Said Charity Home in Okota, Lagos and this was made possible with the help of huge turnout of Nigerians who found time to visit the home with various gift items. Besides, the children were invited for parties, anniversaries amongst others by various organ-izations including the Lions Club in Ikeja and Mountain of Fire And Miracle Ministries.
Caregivers show sympathy
Despite unpleasant economic conditions in the country, lots of Nigerian caregivers still showed lots of sympathy for the needy in the society. “We had special prayer sessions for the home because it was the grace of God that has sus-tained us for the past 13 years,” said the CEO of the Home, Mrs. Felicia Martins, adding “our teams are particu-larly happy that despite all these challenges in the country, people still find time to visit and bless us.
“I am appealing to all Nigerians to make caring and giving a lifestyle instead of limiting such gesture to Christmas periods. For example the home had difficulty in having balanced diets months before Christmas period, but during the celebrat-ion we had a lot of foods in our stock all because of the Christmas cele-bration,” she stated.
According to her, the number of children in the home is above 50, out of which 12 are special children.
So Said Charity Home also engaged in reach-out to the mentally handicapped and desti-tutes; “we care and show them love that those who are mentally challenged or vulnerable should not be seen as people hav-ing the worse problems God cannot solve.”
She therefore appealed to Nigerians not to stop in giving and caring for orphans and vulnerable children in the society.
“We hope to expand the scope of our work in 2013. It is our desire that most of our challenges will be meet this year so that we can spread to different parts of the country with our various programmes,” she stat-ed, adding that the home still has the challenge of paying school fees for the children.
She maintained that the Lagos State Govern-ment donated 15 plots of land to the home at Ganyingbo Village, Bad-agry Lagos which needs to be built in addition to paying workers’ salary, medical care and others.
We secure our future by helping the needy -Pastor Helen Oritsejafor
At the Eagle Hand Orphanage, Warri, Delta State, the programme manager of the Eagle Hand International Foundation, owners of the orphanage, Mrs. Okeoghene Sylvia Okugbe said the 17 children had a great time during the Christmas as the parent church; Word of Life Bible Church treated them to a Christ-mas party where they ate and drank to their fill.
Asked the greatest challenges facing the home, the care taker of the children aged bet-ween two months and 13 years said nearly all the children are in school and re-echoed Mama Helen Oritsejafor’s charge during the Christmas party that Nigerians should learn to incorporate mother-less children into the bigger society by educating them.
Mama Oritsejafor had enjoined Nigerians to reach out to under-privileged children across the length and breadth of the country because by so doing “we are securing our own future and the future of the nation as a whole.”
Mrs. Okugbe, how-ever, appealed to the public to rally round the children by donating food items, beddings, books and such other items that will make life worthwhile for the child-ren, adding “we are committed to taking very good care of them and the church and other public spirited individ-uals are contributing immensely for the up-keep.”
She urged people to always show compassion to the less privileged in the society.