“It is joyful and amazing; it is an experience and I am telling people about it,” said Mrs S. Shonaike who took an orphan into her home. She said she had showered the girl, Khadija, with love and care and never regretted giving her a family.
However, unlike Khadija, according to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, there are an estimated 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria that do not receive medical, emotional, social, material and school-related assistance.
Few of these children are in orphanages, religion centres, but several of them roam the streets while others have fallen victim of child abuse hence the need to raise awareness about adoption and care for the orphan and vulnerable children during the World Adoption Day.
Celebrated November 9th, a faith-based children home, Halal Children’s Home, brought to the fore the need to provide care, love and shelter for these children.
The organisation held a walk, which lasted more than 30 minutes within Gwarinpa, Abuja, sharing leaflets and sensitising residents on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children hoping that they would, like Mrs. Shonaike, take some of these children into their homes, out of love and not pity.
“People that are praying to God for children should take them. You don’t know what plans Allah has for you. It could lead to you having your own children. There are amazing rewards that come with it; among them is that if you take an orphan, you will be rewarded in the afterlife,” she said.
Mrs. Shonaike said people should stop considering the opinion of others or culture before fostering, adding that they should not look at the culture of what people will think about them. “Let them know that you are helping somebody. It is all about you and how you feel so, I brought somebody like Khadija, a loving daughter to my home and I am happy she is part of my life today.”
Nollywood veteran actor, Joke Silva also said there was need for people to stop considering what the society would say, adding that Nigerians should learn to do the right thing by fostering children out of love, “the society will catch up,” she said.
The president of One Ummah Organisation and board member of Halal Children’s Home, Mallam Abubakar Sadiq Muhammad, said, fostering a child was not what some people do by bringing children from the village because the parents are poor. He said some people later turn these children into maids.
“That is not fostering. What you do is you build resentment in the mind of the child; you don’t build them to be confident and have that feeling that they can be something in life,” he said, adding that people need to show love to children that are orphans for no fault of theirs.
The Vice President of Halal Children’s Home, Mrs Ramatu Abubakar, said fostering is recognised in Islam as the children would be allowed to retain their identity unlike adoption where the children take the identity of the adopted parents.
She said though the home provides a good environment for the children, they needed families where they would be showered with love.