Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you a bridge at the eventide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

The essence of House of Mercy Children’s Home, Lagos (HOM) is beautifully captured in this poem written by poetess Will Allen Dromgoole (1860-1934).

At HOM, we labour under the same belief that it is not about the here and now. The next generation faces a much more daunting task than we have ever faced and someone needs to build a bridge and help them cross to the other side.

We assist needy and vulnerable children to build bridges to a brighter future. Not only do we build bridges to literacy and over barriers of poverty but we also give children the materials they need to build the bridges further down the journey.

As we build bridges over chasms for the next generation, we strive to ensure that the bridges are strong and durable and that many more children are able to cross over. 

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all the young people fleeing the harsh realities of life in their home countries (high youth unemployment, poverty, conflicts and wars) and also to those who have perished in deserts or drowned at sea in an attempt to find a better life.

Bunmi Awoyinfa

House of Mercy Children’s Home, Lagos (HOM) is actively involved in various charitable activities for street children, child beggars, child scavengers, children in crisis and other needy and vulnerable children. Convention on the Rights of the Child
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Founded in October 2006, HOM started off by assisting homeless boys and girls living under the Adeniji Adele bridge in Lagos.  The children were provided with free meals, clothing, emergency medical care and drug counselling.

HOM began to cater for child scavengers at the Igando garbage dumpsite in Lagos. The children were provided with free meals and first aid services. HOM also began to cater for child beggars at the beggars’ camp in the Ebute-Metta area in Lagos. A regular mobile school was established for the children. They were also provided with free meals, clothes and first aid services.

HOM commenced a project to “Bring Education to the Doorsteps” of unschooled child beggars by conducting literacy classes for 200 child beggars, 55 percent of whom were girls, at the beggars’ camp. The non-formal education programme made education available and accessible to children withheld from school because they had to beg to provide income for their disabled or impoverished parents. The children were divided into 3 classes: kindergarten, primary, and school drop outs.

HOM initiated a school sponsorship programme for disadvantaged children, in particular girls, whose families could not afford to send them to school. A considerable number of child beggars attending the literacy classes were channelled into the mainstream educational system through the school sponsorship programme.

In March 2011, HOM set up a home for homeless street boys in order to rescue and rehabilitate street children living under flyover bridges, motor parks and on the beaches in Lagos.

In January 2013, HOM established a home for girls at-risk.

HOM extended the reach of its services to child beggars in Ibadan, Oyo State by providing free nutritious meals, clothing, shoes, diapers and educational assistance. 

HOM distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets to needy and vulnerable children in Lagos State and Oyo State along with the appropriate training and use of the nets.

HOM launched a Children’s Library on International Literacy Day.

Outreach programme for children at Radev Early Education Centre, Leper Colony, Iberekodo, Abeokuta in Ogun State.

Publication of a video entitled ‘Stop Child Abuse‘ in English and French aimed at protecting children from childhood sexual abuse including incest, physical abuse and neglect; combating the various forms of injustice, violence and deprivation inflicted upon so many children in different settings (home, school, community, religious institutions, humanitarian crises etc.); and changing mindsets and social norms that tolerate violence against children. Toll Free Rescue Lines for child abuse and domestic violence reporting and information on how to report suspected child abuse and neglect are available on our website.

Launch of our « Africa, Wake Up! » campaign against poverty and injustice in English and French. Our video titled « Africa, Wake Up! » is available in our Video Gallery and also on YouTube.

Publication of a video on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, showcasing the ground-breaking work being done by some of our partners in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Launch of our « Africa, Wake Up! » campaign against poverty and injustice in Portuguese.

Outreach programme with fun activities and donations of food items, hygiene kits, clothes, children’s shoes and school supplies to poor and disadvantaged children on Children’s Day, May 27, 2019.

Launch of our « Africans United for Peace » campaign in response to the overwhelming Refugee/IDP crisis in Africa.

Publication of a video on International Mother Language Day, February 21, 2020, advocating for the right of African children (out-of-school children, children from nomadic communities, children from linguistic, ethnic, or cultural minorities, refugees and displaced children, former child soldiers and other marginalised children particularly in the rural areas) who have been excluded from educational opportunities to education in their mother tongue.

Ogun State Outreach: Distribution of baby care items, food items, toiletries, hygiene kits and ankara fabrics to vulnerable children, destitute families, the elderly and disabled persons in Ogun State.

Publication of a video on Child Hygiene and Sanitation in English, French and Portuguese on World Water Day, March 22, 2020.

Publication of a video featuring a comprehensive compilation of Mental Health and Wellness Resources in English, French and Portuguese for Children, Youth and Adults.

Publication of a video on International Workers’ Day, May 1, 2020, featuring resources in English, French and Portuguese focused on providing solutions to youth unemployment in Africa and related challenges.

Publication of a video on Africa Day, May 25, 2020, featuring books by African authors, academics, experts and practitioners in English, French and Portuguese addressing the root causes of the challenges faced by the African continent and its people and providing practical solutions to each of the challenges.

COVID-19 Relief: Distribution of washable and reusable cloth face masks, hygiene kits, shoes, clothing and food items to vulnerable children and destitute families.

Publication of a video on the Day of the African Child, June 16, 2020, aimed at raising awareness about the important role that adults and communities play in supporting children and youth, especially those who are facing adverse circumstances.

Publication of a video titled Justice and Reparations as a sequel to our videos on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Arab-led slavery of Africans and our Africa, Wake Up campaign against poverty and injustice. The Justice and Reparations video features resources in English, French and Portuguese by African, African-American, Afro-Brazilian, Guyanese, Martiniquan, Barbadian, Trinidadian, Afro-Iraqi historians, researchers, experts and writers advocating for justice and reparations for victims of the Arab-led slavery of Africans, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the Herero and Nama genocide in Namibia, the genocide in the Congo Free State, conquest, carnage, apartheid and colonialism. #LestWeForget

World Food Day Outreach on October 16, 2020: Distribution of food items to residents of the Old People’s Home and poor and vulnerable children and destitute families. A playlist of our food distribution activities on World Food Day is available on our YouTube channel.

Publication of a video on Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security, October 30, 2020 featuring books by African authors, academics, experts and practitioners in English and French focused on providing practical solutions to meeting the food security needs of all Africans.

Infection Prevention and Control: Publication of a video to raise awareness about the importance of hand-washing with soap and water as one of the most effective and affordable health interventions.

Launch of our African Renaissance initiative.

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021
HOM contributed to ongoing efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to children and families in crisis in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Ebola affected nations, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Northeast region of Nigeria in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.