On Friday 28th December 2019, members of the Heal Tribe cleaned a street, fed over 300 children and distributed foodstuffs to 100 women in Lokoja to mark this year's Christmas celebration. Further highlights of the event were body painting, music and dance, dancing competition among the children and refreshments among others.


Dr Kelechi Okoro, one of the NGO Founders, told newsmen at the distribution center in Lokongoma market, that the organization was extending their hands of love to slum dwellers, tagged: "Heal the Slums" to celebrate Christmas. A project focusing on empowering people living in slums, enlightenment of  girls and women in the areas of health, hygiene, education, advocacy and livelihood among other interventions geared towards driving home the first six (6) sustainable development goals (SDG).


“We are committed to giving better livelihood to African communities, and this is the fourth of such outreaches in Kogi state towards alleviating the suffering of the people living in the slums. The first outreach was at Paparanda Square during 2017 Christmas, 2nd and 3rd editions at Adankolo and Madabo communities on Valentine and Sallah Day respectively, and the 4th one at Lokongoma community today providing food for over 300 children, while 100 women have also received foodstuffs such as rice, noodles, tomato, salt and other ingredients. The Heal The Slums project was also an avenue to interact with community leaders and other stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment around basic amenities and discussing means of meeting those needs." Okoro said.


In addition, she thanked the Kogi state Government for being very supportive while commending volunteers and donors including the social media partners, that have contributed immensely in supporting the various outreach programs. Furthermore, special appreciation to the co-founders Dr. Chukwudi Analo and Dr. Sweetness Ojia as well as other board members who work tirelessly to make sure the projects are birthed to life.

Dr Analo and Dr Ojia highlighted the need to reach out to more people and communities in 2019. Although, the initiative have reached out to almost 2000 persons and 4 communities within its first year, they believe 2019 should see the figures rise to above ten (10) thousand and more states to benefit. Hence, soliciting for more partners, sponsors, funding and volunteers across Nigeria, that would take up this initiative and implement them in their various communities. More so, expanding the reach of the initiative and ultimately the first six (6) SDGs as outlined by the United Nations as these will lead to reducing the everyday societal inequalities orchestrated by poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor health.


The Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG), Dr Afolashade Ayoade, who flagged off the distribution of items, commended the NGO for reaching out to the less privileged people at the grassroots. Ayoade urged other groups, wealthy individuals and organizations to emulate such kindness by showing love and care for the poor in the society.


"I want people to know that God bless you to be a blessing to others, and not for your families and friends alone. We must extend our blessing to others," Ayoade advised.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Abibat Yinusa, appreciated the NGO for the gesture and for having the slum dwellers at heart, and prayed that God would bless them. Joy Ogbonna, one of the children who was fed, thanked the NGO for giving them free food and for playing music for them to dance and be happy.


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