Hello beautiful people!
Today’s post is a bit different from my regular offering, I’m sharing with you my little adventure to Christ the Light of Hope Orphanage (CLOHO) in Akute, Ogun State, Nigeria. Here, I taught a craft class to over 20 children, from age 2 upwards, on how to make smiley faces and butterflies. It was a bit out of my comfort zone but was totally worth the experience.
So why did I go all the way to Ogun state, you might be asking, when Lagos state has a host of Orphanages to pick from? For those of you who are not familiar with the geography of south-western Nigeria, Ogun state is a neighbouring state north of the border to Lagos state, where I live and work. Well to be fair, I knew Akute was far away but never knew it was in Ogun state! Trust me it was quite an adventure getting there too! The roads were not tarred and worse still it was a very wet day so the dirt roads became mud roads. In addition, we had to navigate the landscape of craters on these mud roads. They waited like land mines waiting to strike the unsuspecting motorist and boy did they inflict damage! One of the cars in our convoy ended up with a dislodged silencer, which meant we had to abandon the car at a roadside mechanic and carry on with the redistributed cargo to the orphanage. It took us close to 2 hours to get there!
Before I go into the details of my craft class I’d like to introduce you to the instigator of this entire adventure. Ladies & gentlemen meet Bolaji Junaid (BJ).
BJ is a colleague of mine at the ad agency where we work. It’s his yearly practice to visit an orphanage to celebrate his birthday and give back to society.
His work with orphanages includes a course on money education called the Junior Achievement More Than Money game. You can find out more about that here http://www.ja-nigeria.org
BJ’s also a crafter and started his craft business in university making handmade notebooks and selling these to earn an extra income. He’s since grown this into a graphic design company called Just Passion Concepts and provides training and employment to young people. He intended to train the older children at the orphanage how to make handmade notebooks so they can also earn an extra income while still in school.
This year BJ asked me to join him in taking the younger children’s craft class. I figured I’ll just do something fun & easy to make. So I headed down to my local art supply shop, the day before, with a very open mind because at that time I had no clue what to teach them! Luckily they had quite a few kid friendly items to choose from. I left with circle & butterfly foam shapes, glitter pipe cleaners, stick on eyes and glitter stars, pom poms, white glue and tube of UHU glue.
Here are the samples I created for the kids to try and copy using the materials.
I dare say the children were very attentive and highly interactive as I demonstrated how to make a smiley face. Immediately I said “Who wants to make a smiley face?” they became super hyper with excitement! screaming “I want purple!…green!…pink!” From that point onwards it was all systems go! Everyone from the teenagers to the little children wanted to take part!
A second table was brought out for the smaller children to work on and they were thoroughly engaging. Asking for help with glue, cutting up pom poms and so on.
They crafted away with great concentration and skill. I was so pleased at how creative they were. And they were so proud to show me their creations.
A few got even more creative and ended up with stars on their heads and pom poms on their noses. It was so cute to see.
We left behind a few donations however there’s still a whole lot more that can be done for this orphanage.
It’s my understanding that the education of these children is the highest priority for the owner of the establishment Mr Atunde. About 1o children in the orphanage are at private universities, but due to lack of funding some have not been able to return to continue their studies. Infrastructure and a means of transportation for the children as well as a host of other things are also desperately needed.
Please support and donate what you can. You can start by visiting their website www.cloho.org or their facebook page www.facebook.com/CLOHO to find out more information about the orphanage. Many thanks in advance!
I hope you guys don’t mind that this didn’t have paper crafts in it but I felt it was important to share my experience and hopefully shed some light on this orphanage and the work they’re doing for these children. I was truly blessed to have been able to dedicate some of my time to spend with them.
Please share, tweet, re-post and spread the word about CLOHO and let’s help give these children a brighter future. Thank you!