Pastor Chris lives with his wife, Faith, and two small children in the back of his church in Lagos, Nigeria. This is in the Orile community, a huge sprawling slum crisscrossed by murky canals and littered with multifamily slum homes and rubbish everywhere you can see. It is part of Lagos, but it is its own community within the enormous city of 17 million people. There are no government schools, no hospitals in Orile; there are many churches, but none working together to make any impact for the poorest children in the community. Many of the children in Orile are not in school; malaria is at epidemic levels because the canals regularly flood, filling the homes and leaving stagnate, black swamp water standing in the dirty streets and plugged drains. In one entire section of the slum, located between a canal and the railroad tracks, abandoned babies, the products of the scads of sex workers conducting business in the slum, are left to die.
Last year Pastor Chris attended a pastors training series facilitated by Hands at Work’s coordinator in Lagos, Rex. Chris now says he was deeply challenged by Rex’s call to care for the poor and by the example Rex was setting in his own community within Lagos: Ilaje. Immediately Chris and his wife began walking deeper into their community to find the people who were really suffering. And soon they had started a school for almost a hundred of the community’s poorest children, operating with just the funds they and their church had.
Much more needs to be done. The community’s churches must be gathered, challenged, and trained in how to reach the poor. Chris and Faith need to build a multi-church team of leaders and volunteers around themselves. A team of care givers needs to be trained and equipped to identify the poorest kids in the community and assess their most urgent needs, especially the abandoned children of Badia, a very poor section of Lagos.
Nigeria currently holds one third of Africa’s entire population and here 99 million people live on less than a dollar a day. The country faces many unique challenges that churches and individuals can stand against by partnering with leaders like Chris and Faith, who battle constantly to expand into new communities and reach the most vulnerable. Help children like those in Orile by supporting a child, and find out more about Hands at Work in Nigeria. www.handsatwork.org/contribute www.handsatwork.org/nigeria