By Josephine Agbonkhese
Last weekend, when most young professionals resident in Lagos were resting from the usual hustling and bustling of the city, some benevolent others placed premium on having a sacrificial weekend. These were members of the Rotary Club of Victoria Island, and their choice venue was the Okobaba Destitute Home at Ebute-Metta in Lagos— a community of lepers, visually-impaired and physically-challenged persons.
The event kept the Rotarians at the community for about five hours. But to the destitute, that seemed a lifetime as they conspicuously beamed with joy. The presence of cheerful-looking men and women visiting them with relief materials, ranging from clothing items to food, drinks and confectionaries could not have been an everyday affair.
Speaking on the occasion, President, Rotary Club of Victoria Island, Mr.Ime Udoma, who led the team received by the Sarki of the home, said the event tagged Bridge of Care was inspired by the need to ameliorate the plights of the less privileged.
“It could have been me living in this place. In Rotary, we believe nobody has done anything spectacular to merit who they are; it is all by the grace of God. That was why we chose to share some wonderful moments with these people,” he said. Explaining that giving alms to destitute persons does not mean encouraging idleness, Ime noted that even Jesus advised on the need to care for the poor as they would always exist in every society.
He recalled that the club had in the past carried out the Bridge of Care project at the Lagos Island Secretariat where everyone was welcomed to participate. The real target- less privileged- however did not seem to fully benefit from those exercises, hence the decision to bring the project closer to them. Ime disclosed that the club had a 10-year plan which involves building a vocational centre for the less privileged. For a start, it has got three plots of land valued at six million naira.
“That land is actually a donation by a community head at Ibeju-Lekki who has seen our good work in his community. We usually carry-out our Family Health Week in that area. We have also equipped their schools. Before my tenure ends in June this year, we are also going to set up a good library in that community,” Ime said. However commending the Lagos State government for providing a central place for destitute persons to live in, he stressed the need to consider setting up a vocational centre in the home, through which inmates can also be empowered.
To encourage the young Rotarians in the spirit of service, the outing was graced by some past presidents of the club. Amongst them were Mr. Festus Obayiuwana, Mrs Bola Nakpodia, Professor Ibironke Akinsete, and Chief Shade Thomas-Fahm who doubled as the Project Chairman, as well as Adeyinka Adedeji, the club’s Service Project Officer.