Talkative four-year-old Excel* radiates the shining light of Christ. Mercy, the coordinator of the Temitope Community Based Organisation, found Excel while doing Holy Home Visits. She quickly realised that Excel, along with his siblings, were amongst the most vulnerable living in Temitope. With no one to help him, he would often run through the community, seemingly alone in a world without food or comfort. When his father died, life became even more difficult for his mother, who spends her days selling fish. Mercy invited Excel and his brother to the Care Point. Excel’s mother knows that her children are in a secure and loving environment that is out of harm’s way and is relieved that she no longer has to carry her burdens alone.
Two years ago, Ruth* was severely malnourished. Her stomach was protruding and she struggled to walk because her small legs could barely carry her body. Upon following her home, they realised that she was living with people who weren’t her own family as her mother had passed away and her father was unable to care for Ruth.
Immediately, Toyin, member of the local Hands at Work team in Lagos and Jackie, African Leader (#Kenya), invited Ruth to the Temitope Care Point where she could be holistically cared for by local #CareWorkers, with support from the local Hands at Work team in Lagos. As Ruth was loved and cared for, her body started healing and growing stronger. It is only from the Christ-like love and support of the Care Workers that Ruth is a healthy and strong six-year-old today.
Care Workers identified five-year-old Jonathan* and his four siblings as amongst the most vulnerable after the death of their father a year ago. Jonathan’s mother was struggling to care for her children and providing the most basic necessities was an immense challenge. The children were often left alone as their mother went to sell bread and tea in the nearby communities. But today, Jonathan is a lively and happy boy, who loves time with his friends at the Care Point.
Four-year-old Orianna is a gentle, jovial and attentive girl who enjoys being read to and playing with the other children at the Temitope Care Point. It is here at the Care Point where she feels most safe and is taught basic kindergarten skills. She loves learning numbers. Although she is young, she has dreams of being a teacher one day. Orianna was identified as one of the most vulnerable children in the community when she was found by the Care Workers from the Temitope Community Based Organisation (CBO) walking along the road alone. They recognised that this was an incredibly vulnerable and dangerous position for a young girl, so they walked with her to her home. At home, they were greeted by her family and learned their story.
Orianna lives with her parents and older siblings in a small, one-roomed home. Her mother sells fish at the local market in an effort to feed her family, however the profit that she earns is not enough to adequately provide for the family. Orianna’s father used to have employment, but due to economic challenges in the area, he is unable to find work; leaving the family to survive on a very small income. The surrounding ocean bay floods the community of Temitope at high tide each day, leaving residual water stagnating around homes resulting in a high mosquito population and increased malaria contraction. Orianna’s family home is not exempt from this and their home regularly floods when it rains, adding another layer of vulnerability.
In 2017, Orianna and her older brothers were brought to the Temitope Care Point where they receive a hot and nutritious meal daily, access to basic education and health care. Orianna and her family are visited on a regular basis by her Care Worker, Mercy who brings support, encouragement and a Christ-like love to the family. Due to the dedication and commitment of the Care Workers, Orianna and her brothers are being cared for and supported which helps her parents who struggle to make ends meet.
Meet Katrina*. Katrina is no stranger to the challenges many children in her community face. In her four short years of life, she knows loss, hunger, rejection, and sickness. It is young lives like Katrina’s that motivate Care Workers in Temitope Community to keep following Christ’s call to care for the most vulnerable. Mr. Alet, a local volunteer Care Worker, together with Toyin from the Hands at Work local office, first met Katrina while they did visits in the community. Toyin and Mr. Alet knew she was one of the most vulnerable – not just from her story, but by her appearance. Katrina has lived through the abandonment of her own father, and tragically, her mother died while giving birth to her, which set baby Katrina on a path of illness. Katrina is often sick, and is quite small for her age. But thankfully, Katrina was not left on her own; her aunt took her in and began caring for her. Though she does all she can to care emotionally for Katrina, she is unable to provide for all Katrina’s physical needs. Mr. Alet recently began caring for Katrina, and when she first started coming to the Care Point she was very weak and required much assistance. But, God has sustained and greatly improved her health through Mr. Alet and the other Care Workers. In just six weeks of attending the Care Point, Katrina is already looking physically much healthier! The Care Point is quickly becoming a place of refuge for Katrina. She sees Care Workers as people to feed her and care for her health, and the Care Point as an opportunity to build friendships with other children. Through the Christ-like love and compassion of Care Workers like Mr. Alet, Katrina is daily being given a sense of belonging and great hope.