In 2012, I was in Nigeria for my yearly family visit. During this visit, I became familiar with the orphanages known as Motherless Babies Homes. I learned it was a common practice for individuals to visit the homes to celebrate their birthdays with the orphaned children. During these visits, the children received monetary donations, food items, clothing, and other items from the celebrant. Local residents donated a few items to the orphanages sporadically. Instantly, my heart went out to these children and I felt a need to make my own contribution. I began making inquiries about the orphanages near my village and the sort of items the children needed. While shopping for the requested items, I remember thinking if the quantity I purchased would be sufficient for all the children at the orphanage.
Upon my arrival, the staff open-heartedly welcomed me. The first thing I noticed was the need for a “face lift” for the building and the lack of space for the children to play. After delivering the donations, I saw the infant children in the small room they ate and slept. Despite having enough adults to care for the infants, the room wasn’t in good enough condition to nurture the infants. The room had cracked floors, chipping paint on the walls, and multiple babies sharing one crib. As I held a baby, I thought, “How can this child be left alone in this world without a mother or a father?” These children lacked the basic necessities to thrive: love, security, and support.
After a few visits to different homes, the idea of “CAR” began to take shape. I wanted to do more and I knew it was possible with the support of caring individuals. When I returned to the US, I began my mission to make a difference in those children’s lives. I began a drive collecting food, clothes, toys and shoes. I collected these items from local businesses and the parents of children attending my preschool. I was overwhelmed by the support to help the children. I was also able to raise money from family and friends and send the monetary donations to Nigeria. The following summer, I returned to Nigeria and visited several orphanages to distribute the donated items.
As I handed over the items, the staff and children showed so much gratitude and happiness. I felt some sort of fulfillment, but yet, more needed to be done. These children need an environment that allows them to learn and grow during their stay at the orphanage. After visiting the different orphanages, I decided to dedicate myself to ensuring that children under those circumstances had opportunities to reach their full potential. I established the non-profit organization Children Are Royal, together with a team of five professionals, with the belief that no child should be left behind.
Despite the negative depictions of Nigeria, we should remember that every child deserves to be nurtured and guided in the right direction. We see opportunities for these children, which is why CAR exists. We hope you will join us in our mission to support children, not only in Nigeria, but around the world.