Thank you for visiting the blog for Ipaja Community Link (ICL), a small community-based organisation in Lagos, Nigeria, working towards creating a prosperous, healthy and empowered community in Ipaja.

The main activities of ICL are:
- skills vocational training for women and young people in basic cooking, sewing and bead-making
- youth and community volunteering
- community health education, awareness and support
- community care initiatives

ICL specifically aims to support and empower women, people living with HIV/AIDs, young people, and orphans and vulnerable children.

The following information is representative of the work of ICL and reflects the views of staff, volunteers and those that ICL are working with.

ICL is working hard to make poverty a thing of the past in Ipaja - no one in the community is asking for a handout; they are simply looking for ways to make their lives better, to provide for their families and to secure their future. For more information, please call 0702 969 8523, 0706 155 0665 or 0705 636 9269 (or add +234 if calling from the UK) or email icl@difn.org.uk.

Please read on... (and here's a tip: it might be best if you read from the bottom, for older posts, to the top, for newer posts)...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A busy Friday and Saturday in Ipaja!

Friday 13 March was Red Nose Day in the UK - a day when people come together to raise funds for projects in Africa. As a volunteer from the UK, I decided that I would see what I could do to bring the Red Nose Day spirit to Ipaja. We were recently given N20,000 (£100) towards the work of Ipaja Community Link and therefore along with our youth volunteers, we decided to use this money to buy Red Nose Day gifts for some of the other local NGOs that we work closely with. We bought rice and tinned tomatoes for the elders of Agency for the Aged and donated money to Ipaja Community Health Foundation for immunisations, syringes and other supplies for their twice-weekly mother and baby clinic. All the gifts were received with much surprise and even more gratitude. The remaining money will be used towards our work with children and young people. We are also hoping that more money will come to Ipaja Community Link through Development Impact for Nigeria and our recent fundraising efforts with the Diaspora in the UK, along with friends, family and other contacts.

On Saturday morning, we ran our programme for orphans and vulnerable children in the Ipaja Community Link office. The programme was re-launched last week for children who have lost either one or both of their parents. The children gather to socialise with each other, play games and to also learn - there is time for reading and for literacy and maths lessons run by one of the youth volunteers - and they receive nutritional support at the end of the meeting with food packs to take home. The programme receives N10,000 (£40) per month support from our funding. This money has been instrumental in setting up the support group, however, as the programme expands, this leaves around just N100 (45p) per child per Saturday if there are 25 children attending. Therefore, we are seeking additional funding from within and from outside Nigeria to support this vital work.

On Saturday afternoon, Yomi and I met with the Rotary Club of Gowon Estate, Ipaja, to talk about Ipaja Community Link and how we can work together on some of our projects. I had met with the Rotarian's of Birmingham before I came to Nigeria to seek support for VSO as part of my fundraising, so I was interested in finding out if there was a local Rotary Club which could support Ipaja Community Link. Rotary is a global network of individuals and community volunteers with over 1.2 million Rotarian's worldwide in 168 countries. Rotary International has 4 main areas of emphasis:
1) Literacy and Education
2) Health and Poverty Alleviation
3) Family of Rotary
4) Water Management
The Rotary Club of Gowon Estate have been providing assistance to community development projects in Ipaja since 1994. They are now excited about the prospect of working closely with Ipaja Community Link - a successful organisation on the ground with existing links with other NGOs in the area and fully functioning programmes. As the President Benedict Osilamah Okhumale said, "We can be sure that we're now both paddling in the same direction!" The main object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service and to help the less privileged - together, with Ipaja Community Link, both organisations can now reach more people in Ipaja. We will start with the Baruwa Community Primary School project by working with community leaders to install toilets and a bore-hole and then build our new relationship from there...

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