UKF conducts quarterly visits to the orphanages we support, the purpose of the visits is to deliver groceries and other supplies needed to ensure well being of the children and staff. The visits also provide a great opportunity to get first hand information on ad hoc needs or problems encountered at these facilities. For instance, during one of our quarterly visits to the Lagos State Motherless Babies Home in 2005, we discovered that nine (9) of the children would not be enrolled in school for the new school session due to lack of funds, we therefore paid the school fees for these children directly to the school.
Festive Period Activities
UKF is conscious of the psychological impact of poor and orphaned children being left out of the massive festive activities during major religious holidays in Nigeria, therefore we strive to extend the love and celebration to them. UKF organizes Christmas parties for the children at the Lagos Motherless Babies Home, the Children Transit Home and the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice. In addition, we sew new clothes for the children at Bab Es Salaam Orphanage during the Eid Fitr (end of Ramadan fasting celebration) and organize a party at their facility during the Eid Kabir holiday.
Children Transit Home (CTH) Rehabilitation Project
This facility has been the most challenging of all the orphanages we have taken up. CTH is a state owned institution, which houses orphaned children between the ages of 3 and 10 who are awaiting adoption. The facility has suffered extreme neglect with poor sanitary and living conditions. However, in less than one year, UKF has provided an overhead water tank with an inbuilt water purifier to supply clean and portable water, installed ceiling fans in bedrooms and offices, continuously provided a monthly supply of charcoal for cooking as we found this to be a more cost effective measure than the use of gas, deepened existing water well, evacuated and reconstructed soak away pit/ repaired waste water lines, repaired portable water network – taps, pipes, elbows etc and repaired/re-installed faulty pumping machine.
United for Kids Foundation Education Project (UKFEP) at the CTH
As UKF became more involved with CTH, we discovered the apparent lack of investment in the children’s education. The orphans seemed to acquire no formal education while awaiting adoption, the older children who were not adopted were sent off to learn vocational skills and sent into the ‘World’ when they reached 18 years of age, this situation definitely placed these children at a disadvantage. In 2006, a Christian church in Lagos employed five teachers to provide some formal education for the children. UKF supported this effort and renovated two kindergarten classrooms, provided classroom furniture (desks, chairs, curtains, trash cans and carpets), educational materials (text and note books, white boards, learning aids and other supplies) to aid conducive learning atmosphere.
Ikeja General Hospital (IGH) Monthly Visits
One of the most rewarding activities to UKF members is the monthly visit to the Ikeja General Hospital Children’s wards. The visit which begins at 9am on the third Saturday of every month aims to bring succor to families who suffer the dual misfortune of sickness and poverty. UKF provides various supplies including diapers and formulas (for infants), chocolate beverage, milk, tissue paper, bathing soaps, drinks/juice and biscuits for older patients. The patients’ needs are overwhelming but impossible to neglect, therefore our monthly spending on groceries at IGH has increased from NGN15,000 ($115) in 2002 to NGN100,000 ($769) in 2006.
In addition to the supply of groceries, UKF donates cash to parents of patients who are unable to afford much needed prescription drugs and medical procedures required to restore their health.
Patients Pre/Post-Recovery Support/Assistance
During our monthly visits to IGH, we endeavor to look beyond the immediate needs of the patients and strive to, within our means provide financial and other support needed by the patients and their families to live more comfortably while undergoing treatment and upon their discharge. During one of our visits in 2004, we met Deborah, a 6 year old amputee living with her grand parents in a village in Ibafo Ogun State. UKF paid for Deborah’s prosthesis at Igbobi hospital, visited the family in Ogun State upon her discharge and have been investing in food, school fees and other needs to ensure that Deborah and her family live more comfortably.
In 2005, we met Ariyo, a 10 year old Urology patient who, together with his mother had been in physical and emotional pains since he got hit in the rear by a car in 2004. Ariyo requires surgery, which cannot be performed in Nigeria, UKF has invested in Ariyo’s well being by paying for medication and school fees. We have also procured international passports for Ariyo and his mother and linked them with Urologists in the UK and USA to ensure that he gets the treatment required.
Hearts of Gold (HOG) Children’s Hospice
HOG is one of the most brilliant ideas we have encountered since 2002. It is a privately owned hospice catering for orphaned children with medical challenges such as Cerebral palsy, Hydrocephalus and HIV/AIDS. UKF’s focus has shifted from providing groceries and supplies to assisting the hospice with payment of staff salaries and completing its critical building expansion, UKF has donated building materials and cash worth over NGN500,000 towards this expansion project. We were extremely honored and humbled to be presented with a Humanitarian award at the Hospice’s award ceremony in MUSON Center, Lagos on October 2006