By O’star Eze
Every child deserves functional education for his/her holistic empowerment. This has always been the mind that ruled the initiator and Director of Okolo Cajetan Foundation for the orphans and less privileged. And this was the drive that kept the foundation pushing for the proper educational emancipation of all the children in orphanage homes in the state.
A survey of these homes by the foundation had revealed that more than a two-third of young people in orphanage homes, both government and private owned in the state were not beneficiaries of formal basic education. Most of the children were home schooled.
Cogent reasons were given by matrons of these homes for their inability to enroll these kids in school. One of the matrons (name withheld) complained that some of the kids were children of suspects on trial or convicts and would not be spending much time in the orphanage. “They could be withdrawn from the home at anytime and so we do not bother enrolling them,” she said.
And so the excuses continued, but Okolo Cajetan Foundation was not convinced that any reason could be reasonable enough to keep any kid away from school where he or she could have that invaluable curricular and extracurricular experience which they need to integrate properly as functional members of their society.
*Enter Hon Mrs Ndidi Mezue*
Since her assumption of office as the commissioner for social welfare, children and women affairs, Hon. Lady Ndidi Mezue has put a human and humane face to the ministry. Sincerity of purpose cannot be feigned and the activities of the ministry in this dispensation has continued to prove that indeed Lady Mezue at the helm of affairs is a round peg in a round hole. And so, it was a natural phenomenon for two institutions headed by two individuals that have one thing in common; unbridled passion for children’s and vulnerables’ welfare, to become partners in progress in a matter of weeks from their first meeting to the commissioner. Cajetan Okolo Foundation for the Orphans and Less Privileged and the Anambra State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. Documentations were made and the foundation drew the attention of the commissioner to enroll the children. Lady Mezue’s administration to the ministry to the next level with respect to attention to the less privileged which includes the ongoing renovations she is doing at the Model community children’s orphanage home.
*And the orphans go to school*
The Ministry jumped at the idea and the good news is that the first batch of these children have been successfully enrolled in a standard school and they now get taken to and fro their school with a school bus donated to the home by the Anambra state government through the ministry. The foundation, through the instrumentality of their many partners, have been doing their bit in giving a new life and new hope to these special kids to support the efforts of the state government through the ministry.
When Okolo Cajetan Foundation for the Orphans and Less Privileged started computer classes for its pilot orphanage in 2017; government- owned Model community children’s Orphanage home, Awka, the children were excited, though there were those among them that were still too young to appreciate it. When the foundation started conducting monthly birthday parties and other celebrations once every month since March 2018, the joy of all the children knew no bound, and they excitedly anticipated the monthly jive. The foundation also initiated and attracted a priest that celebrates Sunday Mass/Services for them every Sunday and also donated a set of musical instruments with respect to that.
Now that the children have all been given the Almighty possibility open cheque to aspire and be as great as they wish to be vis-a-vis formal education, only God can quantify the complete fulfilment and abundant Life they now experience. With this latest development, one can confidently say that Anambra State loves and truly cares for the little children regardless of their status. We want to appreciate the Executive Governor of Anambra State and the wife, Chief Dr. Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano and Chief (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano.
Picture 1: Hon Mezue seeing the fully equipped orpans off as they leave for school with the ministry’s bus
Picture: Engr Cajetan Okolo and other members of Cajetan Okolo foundation pose with the children after donation another set of books to them