Did you know that Nigeria has approximately 17million orphans and vulnerable children, which is considered to be one of the highest in the world?
Out of the above number, it is estimated that Akwa Ibom State alone has approximately 500,000 orphans, destitute and vulnerable children, which a greater number of them roam the streets begging for alms.
However, taking cognizance of what is recorded in the Bible Book of James Chapter 1, verse 27, which says: “ Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world”, a couple said it was time to put into practice the word of God.
On Tuesday, 15th of January, 2008, Bishop and Mrs Evans Thompson Udoekaisong, of 6 Court Road, Ikpa Town, Esit Eket LGA, Akwa Ibom State, founded an abode for the poor and carefully named it after the Bible portion which gave them the impetus; James 1:27.
Asked what made them ventured into this very expensive business, Bishop Udoekaisong said; “Our work began when we saw the heart-breaking plight of street children, abandoned and abused; we saw the need to give them a home and refuge so we began to receive these children into our home. Many, who were sick and abused, gradually got their health restored.”
James 1:27 Orphanage is a non-governmental orphans home approved by the Akwa Ibom State Government. The Orphanage has a vision to help take orphans, abused and abandoned children off the streets through rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration.
That’s not all, in order to reduce the cost of education; the couple had opened a Nursery/Primary School to educate the children and other people in the area.
The dream and vision of the founders James 1:27 Orphanage is to provide for the material and spiritual needs of orphans widows and the vulnerable. They are also very active in human rights, socio-economic, human development as well as gender and child rights activism.
In the meantime, the founders of the orphanage say they are grateful, not because of millions they have in their banks, the reason being that over these years, God has used them to remove the stigma attached to the “orphan status” by creating a leverage has promoted equality amongst the over 75 orphans and their peers all over the world.
But, how do the over 75 children survive, especially, with the current poor economic situation in the country? The founders again answered: “It’s hard! We rely on donations from groups and individuals. While we remain grateful for these gestures, they do not however come close to meeting our needs in feeding the children and school provisions”.
According to them, the home is currently having a serious economic challenge. Despite the fact that they show appreciation to government, organisations and individuals for their visits, which the Proprietor, Bishop Udoekaisong, said, “it’s going a long way to sustain the inmates”, he enumerates pressing needs of the orphanage which include:
*FOOD, CLOTHING, MEDICAL CARE & EDUCATION SUPPORT.
Others are: FUNDS FOR GENERAL HOME MAINTENANCE, VEHICLES, GENERATORS, BOREHOLE, COOKING & EATING UTENSILS AS WELL AS COMPUTERS, SEWING/WEAVING MACHINES & DRIERS TO FURNISH THEIR SKILLS ACQUISITION CENTRE.
The couple, Bishop and Mrs Evans Udoekaisong appealed to organizations, groups and individuals to visit and assist the home and its Skills Acquisation Centre, which is located at 6 Court Road, Ikpa Town, Esit Eket LGA, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
For those who could not make it to the place but wish to assist with cash, the proprietor gave a Wema Bank Account Number: 0225100655 payable in the name of Bishop Evans T. Udoekaisong.
The home can also be reached on phone number 0902-380-0642, while the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And why should you help the orphans of James 1:27 0rphanage? These are some of the reasons “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done” Proverbs 19:17.
Again, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, says: 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” [a] 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
By Henshaw NYONG, Uyo.