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)...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Happy Children's Day in Ipaja!

Last Wednesday, 27 May 2009, Ipaja Community Link (ICL), celebrated National Children's Day in Nigeria by throwing a party for over 60 children living in and around Ipaja. The children, many of whom attend ICL's orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programme, took part in dancing and singing competitions, fashion parades and drama. The children, along with the Baale of Baruwa, the head teacher of a nearby school, parents and staff and volunteers of ICL, came together to focus on enjoying a day dedicated to them and to celebrate being children.

Several of the children from ICL's OVC programme presented a drama around the issues of HIV and AIDS from information that they have learnt during the Saturday Club. According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 1.8 million children in Nigeria orphaned by AIDS. But this is still just a fraction of the number of children whose lives have been radically altered by the impact of HIV and AIDS on their families and communities. ICL is working hard to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, to educate children around the issue and to empower them to care for and educate other young people in the Ipaja community. Lucy and Segun, ICL's Community Care Workers, along with several of ICL's youth volunteers, run the Saturday OVC programme by providing an opportunity for children to socialise outside of school and their homes, receive some additional lessons around literacy and numeracy, and also some nutritional support. During the Children's Day celebration, the children received food, prepared by trainees on ICL's skills acquisition training programme, drinks donated by staff and gifts and prizes donated by supporters in the UK.

However, as with much of the work of ICL, there is so much more that could be done to increase the scope and impact of the OVC programme. ICL is working on developing a sustainable partnership with the Rotary Club of Gowon Estate, Ipaja, to support the growing number of orphans and vulnerable children in the community through the international development organisation HOPE Worldwide. ICL currently has funding to support just 20 OVC's, but Lucy and Segun are regularly identifying more OVCs in the community and, with the assistance of Rotary and additional funders, ICL could support many more children who need our support. We are particularly focussed on the need to deliver school assistant grants, especially for uniforms, transport, books, stationary, and to support the families of OVCs with nutritional support, education, and the provision of essential items such as mosquito nets and drugs. For more information or to pledge financial support to our programme for the most vulnerable children in the community, please contact Yomi, the Coordinator of ICL, on icl@difn.org.uk, or visit the work of ICL when you are in Lagos.

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