In 2008, Azeez Aina (age 7) and Bilikisu (age 5) lost their father in a motor vehicle accident in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to his death, the father’s income provided the girls with housing, schooling, and health care. Since his death, their mother has had difficulty caring for both girls and her 2 year old son. Without her husband or support from relatives or in-laws, she could no longer afford to provide the same level of care for the children. Aina stopped attending school because her mother could no longer pay for the tuition.
After her husband’s funeral, Aina and Bilikisu’s mother relocated to Ilaje community to find more affordable housing. There, she found a one-room house for herself and three children as well as a menial job cooking and cleaning for a street food vendor. She has worked long 12-hour days between 6 AM and 6 PM. Although she was able to bring her 2 year old son to work, her young daughters were left alone at home until she returned from work to care for and feed them.
Thanks to the support of a group of Christians in the Los Angeles, California area, Hands at Work has been partnering with the Eagle Foundation CBO to provide basic health care services, education, and a daily hot meal to orphans and vulnerable children in Ilaje. Aina and Bilikisu’s mother learned about Eagle Foundation CBO from another woman who cares for the most vulnerable children in Ilaje community. She brought the two girls to the school to see if they could receive basic education there.
The two girls were taken in by the community school in February 2011 and are happy and thriving in their new school environment. Aina is in Basic 1 and Bilikisu is in Kindergarten 2. Since joining the school, the children have received uniforms and writing materials as part of their education. They also receive basic health care including a de-worming program in May 2011 given to all the children in the community school. They no longer have to wait for their mother to come home from work each day to be fed as each child is given one meal per day at the community school. In addition to providing education and meeting basic physical needs, a care worker from Eagle Foundation CBO also provides support and stability to the family. The care worker is establishing a nurturing and trusting relationship with the children by helping with homework assignments and making home visits while their mother is away at work.
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