By Bose Adebayo and Ekeke Ifeoma
Every child deserves a home and love;he or she must have a sense of belonging in the society or family. When this is absent in a childâ€™s life, there is every tendency for him or her to take to the street.
Eight-year-old Ifeoluwa Sandra was abandoned some years back but was lucky to beÂ rescued by a good Samaritan who took her to the SOS Childrenâ€™s Village, Isolo, a place for abandoned children.
Ifeoluwa was four days old when she was abandoned at Mosafejo in Ajegunle and almost died before she was found and taken to the orphanage. Today, she is a primary one student at the SOS village. Her sponsor lives abroad but visits her annually in respond to her needs.
She like a host of other students in the village was filled with enthusiasm when Vanguard Metro visited the orphanage recently.
Indeed she was all smiles as she clung to the National Director of the orphanage, Dr. Shambhavi Gopalkrishna who was playing host to one of the sponsors of the orphanage, a team from the Nigerian Bottling Company, who visited the orphanage recentlyÂ to present a cheque of N1.4 million. â€œWe are so delighted to host this beautiful team from one ofÂ our partner in progress.
They have donated a building to the orphanage in time past and we are happy to host them once again as they present the cheque to the orphanage. The centre is a voluntary organisation but we thank God for some individuals and corporate organisations who have been assisting us. The village consists of 12 family houses with mothers and aunties.
This particular village in Isolo is the oldest and was founded in 1917. We have 108 children, with about 78 youths who were formerly in Isolo but when they are between the ages of 14 and16, they move to the family houses. We have three kindergartens but there is a particular mother for each house,â€ she noted.
Presenting the cheque at House 3 of the Childrenâ€™s Village, Public Affairs Manager of the Nigerian Bottling Company, Mr Akin Osinowo urged individuals and corporate organisations to come to the aid of the orphanage.
According to him,Â the cheque was donated towards the building of another family house at the Isolo SOS Childrenâ€™s Village. â€œWe try to encourage our employees who are interested in social responsibilities like this to get involved. This is part of their duties and responsibilities to come and meet with the children like a volunteer. I will be part of them very soon,â€ he said.
A mother at House 3, Mrs. Ibijoke Falae expressed appreciation at the event and also called on corporate organisations to embrace charity as part of their calling. â€œWe are delighted today and we wish every Nigerian and corporate organisation could emulate the kind gesture of this company. They should come out en masse to support the good works going on here. SOS Village will make good use of the donation such that they would be happy with the result any time they decideÂ to come to the orphanage.Â I am happy to be a part of the orphanage and to contribute my own quota to equip these children,â€ she said.
In a chat with Vanguard Metro, Dr.Gopalkrishna said no sane mother would like to abandon her child. â€œIt is not a good feeling for a mother to abandon her child but sometimes you have to understand the circumstance. I think it is important to understand that part because every mother has the responsibility to take care of her child,â€ she stated.
All the houses in SOS Childrenâ€™s Village have their own Aunties. The Village provides a home for about 85,000 orphaned, abandoned and destitute children in a family environment in not less than 132 countries. It was founded by Dr Hermann Gmeiner in Imst, Austria in 1949. The first SOS Childrenâ€™s Village in Nigeria was built at Isolo, Lagos State, in 1970.