Early last year, I wrote a list of things I would like to be involved in. I made sure they were realistic and I could do them without much fuss.
Today, it feels good to tick another activity off my bucket list and I must say that this will not be the last time I will be involved.
On my bucket list, I had written ‘Visit an Orphanage’ and I knew I wanted to do this before the year runs out. Infact, while decluttering months ago, I had put together some outfits I would like to giveaway so visiting a less privileged home was etched in my mind.
I honestly did not know how to go about this visit but I knew i wanted to go with a group of people who shared the same ideas about reaching out. I wanted the visit to be meaningful and not just convening a bunch of people to tag along.
The perfect opportunity presented itself when a long time friend wanted to re-launch her Non Governmental Organisation that focuses on the Girl Child. A maiden outreach was set for December and I was totally sold when she talked to me about her ideas. I instantly knew I wanted to be part of this dream.
Other like minds joined her and we all set out to the Correctional Centre/Welfare Home for Girls in Idi Araba, Lagos on the 23rd of December 2017.
What is a Correctional Centre?
Generally, a correctional centre is a place where young people are kept for a short period of time. This short period is usually for rehabilitation or protection from danger.
The place we visited is maintained by the Lagos State Government and they are responsible for ensuring the girls get basic education and can learn skills.
Girls in this facility are those who beyond parental control, those who have been abused physically and sexually or those who left home and have nowhere to go. The facility doubles as a Welfare home which means that whoever is enrolled here for whatever reason is catered to.
I will intentionally avoid the part where people liken correctional centres to a prison/jail. This place was nothing close to it.
We arrived the Correctional Center early on the 23rd of December 2017 and we later got to find out that different charity groups/ NGO’s show up to visit the girls daily. We were the first to arrive so that was a good start.
We came bearing yellow goody bags that contained basic toiletries for girls, writing materials, biscuits and drinks. We also had a lovely yellow smiley cake to share with the girls and gifts for those that were outstanding.
After they all sat down in the hall (which also looks like a dining room), The care givers introduced us to about 78 girls and sternly warned us against taking pictures or videos of the girls. This was their rule and we had to comply.
The girls were really excited to see our team. For a visual representation, they all had their hair cut low, wore the regular check uniforms in different colours, had the best smiles and gave us their full attention.
We started with an opening prayer by one of the girls, they all introduced themselves and we organised a Bible quiz anchored by a team member.
I was amazed at how much Knowledge most of the girls have about the Bible. At this point, we had to congratulate the care givers for a job well done. I love that they knew basic Bible stories.
We all played some games, thought them new songs and listened to a thirty minutes pep talk by the head on HERS Initiative. I caught some of the girls behaving badly and gave them a little talk about mindfulness.
We got to have one-on-one interaction with the girls when we shared out questionnaires. At this point, I realised not all of them could read and write. Reading out the questions, listening to their answers and helping them fill their questionnaire got me close to tears. I had to brace up so as not to break down in front of these lovely girls who found us admirable.
Most of the girls wanted a “sponsor’ to come take them out of the correctional centre, some wanted motherly love, some wanted good education, a lot of them want to be medical doctors, nurses and tailors. It was just so emotional listening to their aspirations and knowing that they might not have the immediate resources to build their dreams.
The delay in resources is where members of the public come in. There are a lot of welfare homes, orphanages etc that need assistance from people who are privileged to help. These homes may not have enough supplies for all the kids and this will definitely stall the progress of each child.
With an inflow of adequate resources, a good number of children can get education at the same time. Apparently, no assistance is too small so if you ever feel touched to help the less privileged, do not hesitate.
Our meeting ended with a prayer by one of the girls after we had given out the goody bags and shared the cake. We took pictures with only the care givers and promised to visit at a later date.
The beauty in giving is when you see genuine appreciation from the person receiving. The girls loved their gifts and clearly wanted us to still stay.
However, we had to live because at this time, another team had come to see the girls.
I Pushed myself this year.
I am totally awed I could be a part of this outreach. This is something I have never done before and really out of my comfort zone.
After the visit at the correctional centre, we reached out to girls hawking and doing menail jobs on the street.
Guys, take out time to reach out to those who are less privileged. I cannot over emphasis this.
I met girls of about 11 to 14 years who help their parents by hawking food and other items on the street. These girls are usually abused by the people who patronise them and my heart just goes out to every child/girl child who is in such situation. No child should ever go through a situation like that.
I also met a lady who is 25 but does not have basic education. Her only wish is to get educated. We shared words of encouragement with every girl child we reached out to and it was the most amazing feeling ever. We also gave them goody bags as well.
I said earlier that this will not be the last time I will participate in this type of outreach. It is no longer just a bucketlist item but something that must be done as many times as possible.
There is a short video below detailing how the visit went.
Share you thoughts
Have you ever visited a less privileged home?
How do you reach out to the less privileged?
I will love to read from you