The Story of APATUKU Community
Apatuku is one of the small villages within Lagelu Local Government Area. Apatuku is a scattered village that consists mainly of peasant farmers and traders. There is no commercial activity, fluctuating network service, and no general oversight of the government to provide basic essential amenities like roads, water, electricity and industrialisation. Apatuku community faces many challenges, specifically terrible road conditions, lack of clean water, and there is an extremely limited awareness of the importance of education because parents stop children from attending school to care for their siblings or to farm.
Children currently supported: 70
Number of Care Workers: 14
Coordinator Name: MAMA Taiwo
Distance from Lagos Local Office: 140 km
Basic Services Started: 2009
In 2009, Pastor David from Apatuku, and a group of local Christian volunteers sought to provide a better future for young children in their village. They formed a Community Based Organisation and today, 70 children receive a hot meal once a day at the Care Point. With the help of Hands at Work, the 70 children are attending government schools in the area and uniforms, school fees and stations/notebooks are provided to those in need.
The Apatuku CBO faces many challenges, including a small number of Care Workers who are able to provide holistic care for the children. The priority has been upon casting the vision of caring for the most vulnerable to the local churches in Apatuku. The Lagos Service Centre, though located several hours away, provides as much support to Apatuku CBO as possible. They are modelling effective Holy Home Visits to these Care Workers so that children receive not only services at schooland food and education, but also visits to their own homes where their holistic health care needs can be met.
Mama Taiwo, a committed Care Worker in Apatuku, offered her own church as a Care Point in the community. With the support of her church and after a visit from the Hands at Work Service Centre team and Regional Support Team, the new Care Point started in August 2016. Mama Taiwo challenged her church to help equip the new Care Point. They donated materials and their time to build a simple shelter so that cooking could continue, no matter the weather. The Service Centre team have carried out reassessments of all the children in the community, alongside a small but committed group of Care Workers who want to reach the most vulnerable. They now holistically serve children from age 1-18, visiting them in their homes as well as meeting them daily at the new Care Point.
The Service Centre provides ongoing weekly support to Apatuku, despite the physical distance, supported by the Regional Support Team based in South Africa. Members of the RST have visited Nigeria every quarter to ensure the Service Centre and its communities are being well cared for.
Michael* was found by Care Workers who visited his home. He was in a desperate situation when they found him. Michael had been out working in nearby fields and suffered a serious injury to his leg from a grass slasher. He had been abandoned by his mother and left alone in his one-roomed house, unable to move. Michael hadn’t eaten or bathed in days. The Care Workers set about caring physically for Michael that day and continue to support him through consistent visits to his home and through daily support at the Care Point.
The Hands at Work office in Lagos currently supports two Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Apatuku. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.