#Impact365: This home takes in orphans, abandoned and underprivileged children

Located in Lekki, Lagos, Vigilant Heart Charitable Society provides support to abandoned children and also promote child fostering in a society where most families are wary of taking on strangers into their homes. At VHCS, the child comes first.

In an interview with YNaija’s Impact365, we find out more about the organisation.

Please tell us about Vigilant Heart Charitable Society.
VHCS is a non-governmental and not-for-profit registered trust in Nigeria.
Our mission is to create a safe and caring environment for the comprehensive development of orphans, abandoned and needy children as well as work on projects that will protect children against the numerous ills and vicissitudes in the society.
To achieve its aims and objectives VHCS has set up the following goals:
– Welfare and development of orphans and abandoned children;
– Sponsor a child (Health&Educational) Programme;
– Crises Pregnancy Counseling (Abortion Alternatives);
– Mobile Soup Kitchen for the poor and underprivileged children – orphans, destitute,and  abandoned children are served tasty and nutritious meals. It is a paradigm shift in combating social and moral vices among underprivileged children.
When was VHCS established and what inspired the decision to set up the NGO?
VHCS was established in 2007. The Founder, Mrs. Maria I. Osawemen, was inspired to take up this enormous responsibility in 1999 when herself and a friend visited the Majidun Rehabilitation Centre, Ikorodu, Lagos State. For many years, from that time onwards, she visited the Centre every Tuesday, clothed and  catered for  some of the needs of the motherless and abandoned children.
It was in 2007 Mrs. Osawemen decided to establish a Home where orphans, abandoned and underprivileged children would be satisfactorily taken care of by personnel with a culture of excellence, spirit of service and pride in work well done.
You place children in foster homes. What has been the response been like in Nigeria and what are the criteria for picking foster families?
Many Nigerians have embraced adoption but very few opt for fostering. I believe that people who foster children are the ones who really display greater acts of love. For it involves the promotion and development of an abandoned child – the child is not yours, for she might even have living relatives.
Babies are abandoned on Lagos streets almost everyday, do you get involved in all of these cases?
Yes, we are often called upon by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State  and The Nigeria Police to handle cases of abandoned children. The frequent reports  of abandoned babies tend to indicate that something is fundamentally wrong with the family especially the girl child who is driven to abandon her child.
Marriage and family have a critical role to play in child abandonment. Once something goes wrong in the two there are bound to be problems for the child and subsequently the society.
You currently have 30 children in the home, what is your staff strength like and how do you cope?
We have over 30 children in our Home and about 15 staff.
Do you get any support from the government?
Government  does not give financial support but it is appreciative of the work of orphanages in Lagos State and our activities are  supervised.
Any challenges?
We, of course, have challenges. At VHCS, we attach great importance to education of the child. Any nation that wants to build its future successfully must provide appropriate education for the younger generation.
We need sponsorship of our children at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
One other major concern of ours is our building project which has commenced. We at present operate from a rented accommodation and we are confronted with a burdensome rent. Providentially,my husband has bought and donated land (not far from our present location) to VHCS.
What future projects do you have planned?
The new orphanage Home under construction is a two floor building estimated to cost over N105million. At the moment, work is going on in the construction of the first floor columns, beams in readiness for the casting of second floor decking slab. We seek donations in cash or kind.

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