Hands Australia supporting Ago Okota community in Nigeria

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Lynn Chotowetz travelled to Ago Okota in October 2011. He wrote: “As we walked AgoOkota’s streets in the morning, we passed a woman frying fish in a pot of oil over a wood fire. There was a young girl (about 13) working with the woman; the girl had a baby tied onto her back. We talked to them, and I asked why the girl wasn’t in school. Very simply the woman explained that this girl had been sold to her by the girls’ parents, a very poor family living in a distant rural village. “She doesn’t go to school,” the woman said, “she works.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation: Its 154 million people make up almost a quarter of the total population of Africa. Although Nigeria is one of the world’s top oil producers, more than 99 million of its people live on less than US$1 per day. Many rural regions are completely undeveloped; the enormous and over crowded cities are home to some of the worst slums in the world. More than 8 million children have been orphaned in the country. The society is strongly divided across tribal and religious lines.

Hands at Work (Australia) is committed to supporting the Ago Okota community, in Lagos. They currently have about 12 care workers and 3 teachers, unpaid volunteers who are committed to serving their community. At the beginning of the year, they had 100 children enrolled in their school, which was a canvas tarp propped up over rows of benches along a sidewalk gutter! Bur earlier this year, the area flooded worse than ever and the water pushed them permanently out of that space. Phillip Durojaiye, the head of this Service Centre, lobbied the community’s leaders, who eventually gave in and helped them set up another school on an abandoned, garbage-filled and water-flooded plot. This time the school consists of rows of benches on wooden planks over the top of the water. Phillip says he’s happy about the new space but he wasn’t happy at all that they had to reduce the number of students to80 because the wooden planks were sinking under the weight of all 100 kids!

Children at the community school receive one nutritious hot meal daily which includes rice, beans, bread, fish and vegetables. They receive supportive home visits by community care workers as well as de-worming medication to treat worms.

This community needs our partnership to continue providing care and support to these children. Just $15 per month will enable Hands at Work to provide basic healthcare, education and food security for one child. Help us as we seek to raise funds to support 100 children in the Ago Okota community. Help us bring hope to Ago Okota.