As I look back over the years, I cannot but agree that many things have changed down there in me. For years, I’ve heard love and love and love hurled down at me from the lecterns and pulpits in church. I hurled down some more myself when I had the chance to use lecterns and pulpits. But loving God and loving people did not become a true practical reality till I had the opportunity to work for a team of young professionals who show, daily, a selflessness that is uncharacteristic of the average Nigerian.
The Destiny Trust is more than the regular charitable institution. A social intervention to nudge street and out-of-school children in the right direction and save them from a life of destitution and illiteracy, The Destiny Trust is one of the very few institutions in the country interested in addressing the issue of education and healthy living among less-privileged children who throng the streets daily.
Nigeria has a large number of out-of-school children, about 10.5 million, and a large proportion of these children are on the streets. Their daily enterprise is a bag of survival antics to make some money off motorists on busy highways and fun-seekers on beaches. At the end of the day, they wash off in dirty water, sleep in the barest shacks and the next day brings no hope.
In order to physically and/or mentally escape the destitution, many over the years have resorted to various vices for survival. They emerged as prostitutes, hoodlums, robbers, cons, touts, vandals and the list is endless. The same fate awaits the present crop of out-of-school, street children, a development that puts our society at risk. Law-abiding citizens have a lot to fear and in light of the Boko-Haram menace in the North and incessant kidnappings in the South, I must say 10.5 million children on the streets means we’re sitting on a huge stack of explosives and gun-powder.
The Destiny Trust’s work in this area has been quite a great show of love. Unless members and supporters want to be stagnant for the next 15-20 years, these kids cannot in any way repay them back. Besides, what will be the yardstick for measuring remuneration. Since 2012, the Trust’s activities have been engineered towards quality rehabilitation and education for these children which will have the effect of ensuring they don’t turn out as projected and we can all live in a safe society years from now.
The many projects embarked on – the Kuramo Intervention Project, the Rehabilitation and Learning Centre for education and skills acquisition, the Family Support Scheme, the Education Bridge Initiative, the 1000 Helping Hands campaign and so much more – have helped no less than 200 kids or more over the years. That’s all really laudable, yet all those projects do not in any way meet up to the greatest project in this organisation. The Love Project as I call it, is really the foundation of all the Trust’s activities. It is the breath that gives life to the structure and form of all those other projects.
The Love Project is the reason why the Trust is not interested in just piling up the numbers so as to get the sponsorship of a major corporation (which is actually needed) but is a selfless readiness to go all out for these children and ensure that the rehabilitation effort is sustained for as long as possible. Yes, not for a fixed period of time after which no one cares anymore. I just find that truly amazing.
As a Christian, I have witnessed a love exchange that is a microcosm of the love God has for me. And I want to share that with everyone. There’s no better way to learn love than in interacting with these lovely people and the kids they take care of who respond in various ways to this unfathomable love.
It will take more than one blog post to share all there is, and is to come, about The Love Project, but I will stretch it for as long as I can. I know you will be really touched in your soul by this rare relationship of love.