By Isah Hussein
A non-governmental organization, Halal Children’s Home has on Saturday, November 13 called on Nigerian parents to foster orphans and vulnerable children of the society in order to secure a better future for the country.
The call was made at the organization’s annual awareness programme which is held every November with this year’s edition accompanied with a medical health outreach, at the Jabi, FCT NASFAT mosque.
The president of the foundation, Ramatu Abubakar while speaking at the event said the home was founded when she realized that there are so many vulnerable children in the streets and, the need to provide them with the kind of care they deserve.
In addition, she said the idea was borne out her convinction that these children can be productive citizens of Nigeria, with proper upbringing, hence the decision to establish the foster home in 2014, to give these children the quality of life they deserve and reintegrate back into the society.
She said the event is meant to encourage more people to support these children by taking them into their homes.
She disclosed that this year’s edition with the theme: “Fostering; The Sustainable Solution for Orphans and Vuinerable Childrens”, is the fourth of this kind of awareness programme and the biggest so far.
She said” Alhamdulillah , this year alone we have been able to foster four children in our home”
” We have a total of 48 children in our four locations with two in Abuja, one in Lagos and another one in Kaduna, and a total of about 90 children have passed through our home in our 8 years of operation”.
She said some of the challenges facing the foundation is funding as they are basically funded by donations from well-meaning individuals and that they have never received any support from the government, besides the “difficulty of bringing these children to the Levels we want them to be because, the children come into our home from different background some of who have lost their parents and are still heart broken and downcast, so for them , it is difficult to believe they can still do something with their lives”.
She appealed to the general public to be involved. “We can support by fostering this children, taking them in our homes, caring for them and even sponsoring them to make them become productive members of the society because, if we leave them, they will become problem for the society, therefore, we are building our future by building these children.
According to her, the home caters for everyone irrespective of religion. “There’s a plan for every child that comes into the home, in terms of their education and upbringing and we pay special attention to issue of skill development, aside their formal education and this is very important.
“For each child, we have a plan based on the skills set and talents of the individual child and we raise that child to his full potential”.
Mrs Folashade Muyinat Oyekan , a member of the Halal Children’s Home and member of the organising committee, said the essence of the programme is to let people know that in order to adequately care for these orphans and vulnerable children in our society, we need to have a sustainable solution in order to achieve this, and one of such solutions being to foster them and take them into our homes.
She said as a result of the insurgency in the country, there are lots of children who have become orphans and left vulnerable and they have become easy targets for recruitment into insurgency, banditry and other vices that are currently bedeviling the nation.
She also said that one of the purposes of the event is to enlighten the public on how fostering can be done because a lot of people in Nigeria do not believe that it can be done.
She said ” fostering is halal, it is taking care of a child, both his psychological and material needs such as sheltering, feeding, clothing , educating and caring for them so that they grows in an emotionally stable environment/home”
” One does not necessarily need to take a child into their homes if it’s not convenient to do so but anybody who is willing to foster any child can still pay for their education and upkeep, either on monthly or quarterly basis while they stay in the foster home and we send regular progress reports to the individual sponsor”
She said fostering is important to secure a better future for our country because the child you don’t take off the streets today can become extremely vulnerable and dangerous to everyone in the society so. “If you think your child is safe, another child that is unsafe can pose a danger to your own children”.
She appealed for both material and financial sponsorship because the running cost for the home has expanded with the number of children in the homes as a new one was earlier this year established at Life camp in the FCT and one each in Lagos and Kaduna states . “We also need male and female volunteers and mentors for the foster children who can impart life skills to the children”.
Hon. Musa Ahmed Momoh, a former SA to former governor Adams Oshiomole,said what the Halal Foundation is doing is taking the children out of the street which everyone should support in their collective and private capacities as this will not only attract reward from Allah but also, we are going to impart a lot in the child, both spiritually and morally.
He added that as someone who has been in the public sector, ” I feel if I’m giving more opportunity to hold government office like the office of a governor, what I will do is that, the vulnerable children, having been part of the security discussions in the country, I will take the N1billion naira that governors get every month and spend it on security of the child”.
” By taking the child out of the street, we would have secured the child from all norms that will make them derail later in life”.
He urged the current administration of president Buhari to focus more on the plight of these groups of the society because it is from the pool of these vulnerable children that the bandits and insurgents get their recruits.
The Baba Adini of Badagry and Chairman, Hydraform Nigeria Group, Abdulhakeem Huthman Baba in his reactions, expressed delight about the Halal Foundation’s efforts to alleviate the vulnerable children from state of diespair to a state of hope for brighter future.
He said it is a commendable thing for a group of women to come together to address what he called a national problem”.
” Unless you are not living in Nigeria, you would know that indeed there are millions of children of school going age who are hopeless and are roaming the streets, some as almajiri and, it is part of the causes of the security challenges we are facing in the country today”.
A beneficiary of the Halal foster home named Ismail Ridwan, went into the home, an orphan but has now found a new home and family after he was adopted by a concerned Nigerian.
During an interview with Veritynews, he said “I never believed I would have access to education before I was picked up from the street”.
“The treatment we receive from the care givers at the home is even better than what some people who live with their parents get because they treat us like their own children”.
“Infact, they enrol us in private schools to show their love for us, unlike others, who because they pick us from the streets try to differentiate between us and their children by putting us in public schools while their own children attend private schools.
He said he has never really faced any challenge in the home because all their needs are met and the atmosphere there is always filled with love but, there was still the craving for a real family they could call their own.
He said ” I have a family now and am even in a good school. The name of my school is Christian Leadership Academy and I’m in my final year, about to graduate”.
“I have learned baking, sewing, cooking, both local and some intercontinental dishes and l learnt all these while I was still in the home because they bring people to train us in different skills and vocations”.