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Help from Olivia&Nicole Care Initiative



Help from Olivia&Nicole Care Initiative

…visits less privileged children


Olivia and Nicole, daughters of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, recently embarked on a reachout to some less privileged children residing in Jikoko village in Mpape. REGINA OTOKPA and CYNTHIA OKEKE were there


Jikoko, a hilly community after the main Mpape town, is not a place philanthropists visit very often. Although poor and hungry for assistance from any quarter, the one thing they have in abundance is children. INSIDE ABUJA checks revealed that cases of early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and lack of family planning were some of the reasons for the teeming population of children in rural communities such as Jikoko.


Not minding their age, the young daughters of a former Governor of Abia state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, have taken a bold step to reach out to orphanages and children living in such communities in their own way. Driven by an intense passion to make an impact in the lives of poor and vulnerable children in society, Olivia and Nicole Kalu, flagged off the Olivia & Nicole Care Foundation, interacting and feeding all the children at Jikoko village.


Surrounded by over 600 children, within the ages of one to 15, both girls with the support of their mum and other family members, expressed love and care in a manner worthy of emulation by those blessed with the wherewithal in society. According to Olivia, her exposure by her parents to the sufferings of orphans at a tender age, reawakened a desire to put a smile and rekindle their hope if a better tomorrow.


“My earliest memories I have with my parents was when they spoke to me and showed me what it meant to have privilege and responsibilities. I remember being taken by my mother to orphanages at a young age and her explaining to me why the people I met there matter, why no society can be healthy unless we take other people seriously.


“From my father, he has always told me to keep hope alive, even in our darkest moments. If things are going badly we should keep our trust in God. “The purpose of this event today is to feed and interact with the children, and most importantly, to let you know that we care. The survival of the orphans and poor widows entirely rely on us the privileged ones. There’s a lot we can do,” she said.


The manager, City of Orphanage and Poor Widows Foundation, Jikoko, Marcus Friday, noted that the major challenge confronting orphans and children in the village, was inability to achieve education due to financial constraint. “The major challenge I encounter in caring for the kids is raising funds to pay their school fees although, the manager pay some of their school fees, but, not all.


Some teenagers who left years ago often come back to the orphanage home to solicit money to meet their basic needs and pay their school fees but, there’s no money to give them,” he lamented. Friday, who revealed that the children leave the orphanage at the age of 15 to start fending for themselves at unknown locations said: “We need support from UNICEF and other philanthropists out there to give hope to this vulnerable children.” One of the orphans, Favour, who spoke to INSIDE ABUJA, disclosed that the orphanage home was in dire need of repair.


“The roof drops water whenever it rains. The walls are dividing because they are weak. The windows and doors are damaged. People have been visiting, donating all sorts of things but, none has put revamping of the building into consideration.”


Though excited about the visit to the village, a cabinet member of Jikoko traditional council, Mr. Nuhu Dogo, however, urged government and well meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the residents by providing good road and empowerment opportunities to make life more meaningful.


Mrs Kalu assured the orphanage of her support through LINCare Foundation and Olivia & Nicole Care Initiative to ensure the house was suitably renovated and also ensure the widows were empowered through various skills acquisition to enable them fend for themselves.


However, some of the residents could not hide their apparent disappointment and dashed hopes. They said they had stormed out in their numbers expecting to  get some form of empowerment or job opportunities to alleviate their poor living conditions.


Speaking in spattered pidgin, Madam Osharey, told INSIDE ABUJA thus: “I thought they were coming to give us loans to start a business. What do we need food for? After few minutes, my children will forget they ate this rice and chicken but they can help us to do things that will enable us buy this rice and chicken for our children.” When asked what she would do with the money, she explained she would go into plantain and banana business to assist her husband, who works as a security guard in Mpape.


On her part, Justina Idoho said that she had rushed out to the venue of the event alongside two of her siblings and friends, hoping they would find an empowerment programme to assist them eke out a living. Justina said, that since there are no jobs in town, the residents of the village had expected more than food packs. “When we heard some people were coming, we all rushed out thinking it is something we can get jobs from, or an empowerment of done sort to make money from,”she said.

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