13 years of resilience, FLAF providing quality education, vocational training for less privileged

In her 13 years of untiring passion to provide succour for the less privileged in the society, Fair Life Africa (FLAF) has shown resilience in its several charitable initiatives to reposition and give a brighter future to the less privileged, supporting them to complete their education, while others that preferred vocational training were not denied.

Ufuoma Emerhor is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fair Life Africa Foundation, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Lagos.

Speaking to the media during their Valentine Luncheon, Ufuoma said: “I have to thank God for coming through every year. Sometimes it is like it would not work out, but when you want to give up, God will just show up. For instance, during the COVID-19, I saw it as an occasion to say I’m tired, but during that period, our sponsors were committed and they were telling us they want to sponsor more children, I was stirred up again by the passion of others. Also, I have had my trustees holding me and the support has been unbelievable, and they are telling their friends what we are doing. Again, my children, who are receiving these sponsorship have been doing well in schools, progressing in their studies, and they have been behaving well, giving me reasons to be proud. Those things help me stay motivated.”

Discussing major challenges in these 13 years of operating in the NGO space, she said: “I feel there is so much government can do to help those who run charity organizations. I feel that government doesn’t recognize the sacrifice we make, and they don’t make it easy for us to report or be accountable, even though I know there are people who are doing charity for personal gain and abuse the system. They make it difficult for the rest of us. But for the most part, anyone who is running a charity, most at times, start it from their pocket before you can ask someone to sacrifice from their pocket. To help us do more, I feel there should be allowances and support from different ministries to ensure that our work is seamless and more impactful.”

In addition, the Chairman of Fair Life Africa Foundation, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, OON, said: “It was her passion to set up this foundation because she believes it is a calling for her to be able to assist the under privileged. It has not been easy, but she has been persistent. Our child sponsorship programme, Disadvantage to Advantage, keeps children off the streets. We receive referrals from schools and individuals, interview the children and their families, and then find sponsors for them. So, you can sponsor a child through school, and people have been quite excited about the initiative. Many of those we started with have gone on to university; others are working and are considering sponsoring others.

“Today, it has expanded. Fair Life Africa has three different initiatives now. The Big Brother Initiative offers sponsorship to students who are already in the university but are struggling to continue. This is in response to a need we identified working with children who have passed from the D2A Initiative.”

The founder of Haven for the Nigerian Child, Mrs. Yemisi Wada, said: “I’m happy that Fair Life Africa is doing this. Ufuoma actually started with street children when she first came from the UK. And she taught us who are already on the job how to use social media to garner attention to the plight of the children. Like I said in my speech, a lot of people see them as area boys rather than abused children or from homes where they are neglected and they have come to the street to look for a way of living.”

According to Yemisi, “We have to be careful. I want well-meaning Nigerians to do something because we can’t turn back on these children, and we can’t always look to government because even us, we are self-governing, giving ourselves light, water, not to talk of social services. So, if we help these less fortunate children, we are not only doing it for them, but to secure our children’s future too.”

Furthermore, the Proprietress of Pinefield Schools, Lekki, Mrs Barbara Morayosola Fadipe said, “I met Ufuoma ten years ago, when she came and told me what she was doing, and I was very impressed because she was quite young, and I saw quite an amazing thing for a lady to take sponsoring children from less privileged homes. And I looked at myself and said, what can I do? So, in working with them for this long, 10 years, it has been an amazing transformation to see the children that we have sponsored over these years. We started with four brothers, and we started when the eldest was in SSI and the last two were in Primary school. One of them told me he designed all the four shirts the four brothers are wearing. They have gone through College and University. The last one is about to resume in the University this session. So, this is what Fair Life Africa has been doing, and I commend them.”

Chioma is sponsored by Shiv Lila Polymers Ltd, through Fair Life Africa Foundation.

Speaking to the media, she said: “I came to Fair Life Africa when I was in Junior Secondary School. Along the way, my family had difficulties to carry out our family responsibilities because my parents lost their jobs, then Fair Life Africa came to my school, Master Molders International School, looking for the less privileged kids to help. So, they found me and picked me in 2014. Since then, Fair Life Africa has not left me. Now, I’m in my second year in LASU. I see it as my family, and a lot of my fellow sponsored kiddies will see it as their family as well.”

The Valentine Luncheon was sponsored by SunTrust Oil Ltd and many generous supporters donated and bought tickets to fund the event.

Special recognition goes to Hon. Samuel Mariere, Chairman of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prince Austin Enajemo-Isire, and Mr. Oluwagbenga Bamimore, who were all in attendance.

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