It’s an orphanage, but anybody who visits the beautiful complex of about four big structures will agree it’s more than an orphanage. It’s a residential haven with a touch of class. It breathes excellence.
Located right behind Diamond Estate, off LASU-Iba road, Lagos, Ayoola Foundation Orphanage is not the kind of orphanage that people are used to.
A future generation with first-class training
The place does not carry a beggarly look. As a matter of fact, the Managing Director of Ayoola Foods, Mr Segun Olaye who built the orphanage as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility says the centre will not go cap in hand begging for funds and resources.
Instead, he expressed the wish that as God blesses his organisation, he will continue to pour money into the centre to give hope to orphans and build a future generation of people with first-class training.
“Those who want to be blessed and who have resources to support the work are welcome. But we won’t go asking for help as the Lord lives” he said with a note of confidence in God who makes all good things abound for His children.
A place with 24/7 electricity
But then, the home is already in its own world. The ambience is not only alluring, it actually conveys the picture of the house of princes and princesses.
To start with, the children who eventually make it to the orphanage will enjoy light 24/7. The facilities are already there. Mr Olaye told guests while touring the complex on January 31 that there was no PHCN presence in that community while the orphanage was under construction.
He bought a transformer, poles and other electrical infrastructure to secure PHCN’s presence in the community. So both the community and the orphanage now have access to PHCN light.
Beyond that, the orphanage has a solar-powered system to augment PHCN. And then, it has a generating set capable of powering the entire complex.
Many dimensions of the orphanage
The complex has many dimensions, the residence, a school, a sick bay, a recreation centre and a whole lot of other facilities.
The orphans and destitute children are not going to miss anything young people enjoy in the home of an average rich man in Nigeria.
Olaye says the commissioned complex is just the first phase of the orphanage. “We are still going to build another facility to meet the educational and social needs of the children as they grow.
“Our vision is to take care of abandoned children from age 2 and train them till the point they are able to stand on their own, offering them free education along the line.”
Genesis of the vision
Recalling how he came about the orphanage, he said, “When I bought the land, I was given express instruction that the area the land is located is strictly residential and that no industry will be allowed.
“I was not thinking of the orphanage. Initially, I was thinking of staff quarters for workers in Ayoola Foods. But as I was meditating one day, it occurred to me to establish an orphanage. It’s a fallout out of a desire to give back to society and a continuation of our philanthropic gestures as an organisation.”
When it was clear that was what God wanted him to do, he did not waste time. He began the work in earnest and the Lord enabled him to put up the place in less than two years.
Today, the orphanage complex is ready for use. Already the necessary approvals from the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs have been secured. They have come to inspect the facilities. The place will begin operation in a matter of days.
Ministry of Home Affairs
The Home Manager, Mrs Lolade Oduwole told Church Times that orphanages in Lagos are now being supervised by the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs.
“It is the ministry that will give us children. Since we are registered with them, they will bring the children. We pray they will answer us on time so we can begin operation in earnest.”
Oduwole who had worked with Ayoola Foods in time past before she moved to other concerns says Ayoola Foundation started by giving scholarships to disadvantaged students many years back.
“But it turned out that some of those who benefitted from the scheme are from comfortable homes. They deprived those who were really poor of getting the support,” she notes
The orphanage will however forestall such situations because in this case, the foundation will start with training children right from when they are as little as 2 years and train them to the point they are able to stand on their own”
The project will succeed
Oduwole who has some experience in training kids, says the project will succeed with God on her side. “I love my boss’s passion. I love what motivates him.
“He is a different person. My days working with him in Ayoola Foods are unforgettable. I worked with two other organisations after I left Ayoola Foods. But I could not cope. I discovered that the places I worked were far different from where I was coming from.
“Mr Olaye is a different human being. He is a disciplined man. This kind of project deserves all the support.” she stated.
The home according to Oduwole will start with ten kids. She expressed the hope that they will get kids indeed from the Ministry of Home Affairs. “And not grown-up children that would have formed their character. Because the vision is to mould them from the early stage.”
At the inauguration ceremony, Pastor Clement Apo of the Redeemed Christian Church of God coordinated a prayer session while inaugurating the centre.
He noted that what Mr Olaye had done with the orphanage is to save a future generation and preserve destinies.
Some of the guests shared their thoughts on the project. They praised Olaye’s commitment to the welfare of the common man and his philanthropic gestures over the years.