*Don’t just give us money, let us make money to be strong
*As Steady Run PH rounds off maiden outing
By Olajide Fashikun, Port Harcourt
Deborah Edward, a 16 year old SSS II girl, the first member of the children home in Port Harcourt wants to be a Paediatrician if circumstances will permit her but her hope is high because she has the focus to overcome the limiting chances ahead of her. This is part of the outcome of the activities by the Steady Run PH programme to round off their four-day event when they visited one of the children home in the city to show solidarity.
Speaking, the bespectacled Deborah who is an orphan said, “most of us in this home are from neighbouring communities whose parents either died of HIV/AIDS or were abandoned. Here has been made into a home of choice where we get the comfy setting of a good home and upbringing.”
Speaking on behalf of the visitors, Habbiba Igbafe said, “these are a token of our love to you. We bring these gifts and little cash to support you and tell you that we shall be your friends as a habit.”
In her own charge to the children, Chief Mary Onyali said, “the sky is not a limit. I look forward to each of you becoming a success story tomorrow. Keep working hard and life will reward you. Your current circumstances is not different from where we came out from. I was from a very poor home with only my mother looking after us but with hardwork and prayers, we are appreciative to God, we broke the ranks.”
“Take the story of Mutava Musyimi (born 1952) who is a Kenyan politician. He belongs to the Party of National Unity and was elected to represent the Gachoka Constituency in the National Assembly of Kenya since the Kenyan parliamentary election in 2007. He grew up from a Christian Children home like you. Today, he is a leader in his country’s politics. You can be like him or even better than him.”
The story of Koko Bassey: In response, Koko Bassey, the founder of the home told the guests “I am from Cross Rivers state. This call was from God when I finished the NYSC and was waiting for a job. I am the 11th of 12 children from my father. I was asking myself how come this is what God has chosen for me.
“My dad had without knowing prepared me for this. He is used to having children that are not biologically his in the house. When I told him, he prayed for me and challenged me to go ahead. Like a joke, the following day I got a call from Port Harcourt for a job. I was to work with pregnant women who are HIV positive. So did my journey started.
We started from a one-bedroom, graduated to a two-bedroom and eventually at 10 to where we are now. So long as the child is vulnerable we take them in and do our best to make them live a stable, good life propping them to have the highest ambitions in life.
“We have strived hard not to reduce standard especially with the excrutiating recession. We also deleted the use of stigmatising values of ‘orphanage’ or ‘motherless babies home’ rather we have a children home. The children attend regular school, go to church in the neighbourhood. We give them the very best we can. They are fully integrated into the community.
Children here have tall dreams to be the very best in life. This is our 10th anniversary. We want to start a poultry. School fees are getting the more expensive, charities are dwindling and we don’t want to depend on donor funds again we want to establish regenerative ventures that can help us stand on our own.”
“We want to be able to buy the kind of clothes they need, build up their nutrition, boost their immunity and make them to be able to look great for the future ahead of them.
Ambition of the children: Each of the children were made to state what is their ambition in life. Eunice, a 16 year old girl said, “I have written my WAEC and passed. I am waiting to write JAMB and it is my ambition to be an Opthalmologist. If God permits, I want to go outside Nigeria to study.
Whereas, Rejoice, a 7 year old girl said, I want to be a dancer. My favourite is Davido. After the visit, Davido’s music was played and to everyone’s chagrin, she mimicked Davido’s mannerisms so well that prompted people to shower her with cash gifts. Tell Davido, I want to meet him.”
Arinze, 11 years wants to be a pilot. Rose 9 years wants to be a doctor. Ejiro 9 years wants to be a pastor. Patience 11 years old wants to be a teacher. Elisha 5 years old wants to be an electrical engineer and David, a 10 year old wants to be a professional footballer.
Greatman, a 9 year old wants to be a doctor. Andrew a 4 year old wants to ‘fly planes’ whereas, Divine wants to be a lawyer. Angela 11 year old wants to be a nurse and Deborah 13 wants to be a fashion designer.