By Stephen Adeleye
An NGO, HEAL for Africa Initiative, on Saturday cleaned a street, fed over 300 children and distributed foodstuffs to 100 women in Lokoja to mark this year’s Christmas celebration.
Highlights of the event were body painting, music and dance, dancing competition among the children and refreshments among others.
Dr Kelechi Okoro, the NGO Founder, told newsmen at the distribution centre in Lokongoma market, that the organisation was extending their hands of love to slum dwellers, tagged: “Heal the Slums” to celebrate Christmas.
Okoro said that the NGO was focusing on empowering people living in slums, girls and women enlightenment in Africa, in the areas of health, hygiene, education, advocacy and livelihood, among others.
“We are committed to giving better livelihood to African communities, and this is the fourth of such outreaches in Kogi state towards alleviating the suffering of the people living in the slums.
“The first outreach was at Paparanda Square during 2017 Christmas, 2nd and 3rd editions at Adankolo and Madabo communities on Valentine and Sallah Day respectively, and the 4th one, today at Lokongoma community.
“We have provided free food for over 300 children, foodstuffs for 100 women, such as rice, noodles, tomatoes, salt and other ingredients.
“The ‘Heal the slums project’ is also an avenue to interact with community leaders to find out their needs in terms of basic amenities and devising a means of meeting those needs.” Okoro said.
In addition, she thanked the Kogi state Government for being very supportive while commending volunteers and donors including the social media partners, that have contributed immensely to support the outreach.
She furthermore expressed special appreciation to the co-founders Dr. Chukwudi Analo and Dr. Sweetness Ojia, as well as other board members who worked tirelessly to make sure their projects were birthed to life.
“We are hoping that in 2019, we hope to have more funding, sponsors, partners, and volunteers across Nigeria, that would take up this initiative and implement them in their various communities,” she said.
The Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG), Dr Afolashade Ayoade, who flagged off the distribution of items, commended the NGO for reaching out to the less privileged people at the grassroots.
Ayoade urged other groups, wealthy individuals and organisations to emulate such kindness by showing love and care for the poor in the society.
“I want people to know that God bless you to be a blessing to others, and not for your families and friends alone. We must extend our blessing to others,” Ayoade advised.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Abibat Yinusa, appreciated the NGO for the gesture and for having the slum dwellers at heart, and prayed that God would bless them.
Joy Ogbonna, one of the children who was fed, thanked the NGO for giving them free food and for playing music for them to dance and be happy.Share this on WhatsApp