Wednesday 10 February 2016

Lending a helping hand this lenten season

Almost daily one is greeted with the news of persons made to flee their homes and their comfort zones to either become internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their countries or refugees in another's. Most remarkable among them are mothers with young children, pregnant mums and young girls whose exposure to sexual exploitation increased as a result of their displacement.

The number of IDPs in Nigeria is currently placed somewhere near one million. That is one million human beings. Helpless, almost hopeless and left to survive in camps most often not suitable for habitation. Left to feed and cloth on whatever the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) or any other agency and public-spirited individuals provide. They struggle to survive despite the harsh environment they find themselves in. If they had better options they definitely would not be in those camps. These people are homeless in their own country .

Daily on the international front we are accosted by Syrians fleeing their homes and country for survival. They face untold hardships and threats. Many die while trying to flee. Countless more are trapped in their country unable to afford the high fee to be smuggled out in boats. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports millions of such people and solicit donations  from public-spirited individuals to assist in caring for them.

These displaced and fleeing people are exposed to the elements and are most often not prepared to face them. Food, shelter and clothing suddenly becomes needs that depend on others to be met. Mothers watch their children gradually get malnourished and their daughters face increasing threats of sexual violence. They are helpless. They would never had chosen this option if they had better ones. And with each passing day, they wonder when and if they will ever return to their homes, if their lives would ever be normal again.

 While we as individuals may not be able to do anything to stop the terrorism in North-eastern Nigeria or other parts of Africa or even the war in Syria, we can contribute our little quota to ensure that the victims get at least one balanced meal each day, that the children don't freeze in the chilling winter cold as their parents smuggle them away to safety, that one more parent can see his/her child smile even in the face of difficulties.

We can imagine it better if we picture ourselves in the shoes of the various individuals and families facing war and terrorism. We can choose to relax and pretend we do not care, or we could lend a helping hand by visiting the websites of the various reputable agencies that cater for displaced persons and refugees and donating even if it is one dollar to their cause. You could also organize a group and gather food materials, clothing and cash gifts and send across to one of the IDPs in Nigeria. Even your used cloth can ensure one more person gets protected from the chilling cold.

Let us all look inwards and find out what it is we can sacrifice to contribute to making the life of at least one displaced person comfortable while we all pray the mindless killings and loss of lives comes to an end.

Everyone deserves to live in safety. Everyone deserves to be comfortable. Every child deserves to grow in a healthy and safe environment. Let us all work towards making life safe and comfortable for kids everywhere in the world.


  1. You are really doing very well

  2. Thank you Chidimma for this piece. It breaks my heart whenever I see the suffering and deaths brought about by human's inhumanity to man. Let us hope humans, good humans will help alleviate the sufferings of other humans.

    1. Yeah! The world is full of so much suffering. We all need to play our parts in alleviating it.

    2. Yeah! The world is full of so much suffering. We all need to play our parts in alleviating it.