To commemorate World Humanitarian Day 2022, SOP Initiative, a 17-year-old Non-Profit Christian Youth group based in Lagos, Nigeria, honored the volunteers, professionals, and crisis-affected individuals who provided immediate health care, shelter, food, protection, water, and other essential services this year.
In keeping with this year’s UN theme, #ItTakesAVillage, the group polled community members who were helpful during the COVID-19 period. Nominations were made within and outside of various communities in Lagos, and the stories that were published were chosen after verification.
Here are ten stories of people who demonstrated to their communities that it takes a village to help those in need.
01. Ajewole Abiola, the Emergency Responder
The Hope for the Hungry Foundation’s founder ran a food bank and provided relief three to four days per week, feeding over 1400 people.
The devastation caused by the pandemic was heartbreaking. However, that determination and commitment to help came with it. This determination paved the way for “The Hunger Project.” But I couldn’t do everything by myself. My family provided me with the necessary motivation and support.Ajewole Abiola
I started distributing food twice a week to 50-60 people, and the supply lasted two to three months during the lockdown. We did not simply distribute food. We also distributed nose masks to children in our community to slow the spread of the pandemic, and this effort helped to avert hunger in our community while also allowing other residents to live to tell the story of how they overcame the Covid-19 season.
02. Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya, the Health Worker
The COVID 19 recovery and convalescent plasma donation clinic, which involved over 163 donors and 1266 outpatients and inpatients, was coordinated by the consultant hematologist and blood transfusion specialist.
I wanted to save lives by supplying antibodies derived from previously infected people’s plasma for diseases with no known cure. Following up with patients during their recovery stages, I believed, would help to understand the full circle of the infection and break the existing stigma while reducing the incidence of further health complications, particularly mental health complications.Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaiya
The isolation centers’ outpatients and inpatients were reviewed, and 163 people volunteered to donate plasma for the convalescent plasma trial. Our interactions with these remarkable survivors resulted in the publication of three papers/researches in international journals.
03. Babatunde Adenuga, the Fundraiser
The young professional launched an online fundraiser to feed 70 families.
The immediate impact of Nigeria’s COVID-19 lockdown on people’s health and livelihoods prompted a fundraising campaign in which I asked like-minded people on social media to support me in order to help people in need, such as the elderly who couldn’t afford drugs, single mothers who couldn’t go to work but are in need, men who couldn’t feed families, and so on.Babatunde Adenuga
These are some of the people I communicated with through phone calls, private messages, and online. I gathered like-minded individuals to contribute financially because I couldn’t meet these responsibilities on my own. Then, without discrimination, we did our due diligence on all of the beneficiaries and provided relief to approximately 70 of them during the pandemic in April 2020.
04. Yemisi Filade, the Emergency Responder
The owner of “Name ‘It’ Catering and Events” in Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, baked bread and distributed it to underprivileged families in five different neighborhoods.
I was at home and realized that people could go hungry, especially those on daily wages, and that there would be no way to feed them, so I went ahead and made bread from our small bakery to feed those around me. I was able to cover and care for residents from five different neighborhoods.Yemisi Filade
I was moved to make my small contribution because I realized that many people would have lost their means of income if they had stayed at home with no income due to movement restrictions and job closures. They still needed to be fed, so I stepped in.
05. Deacon Olamitoyosi Omope, the Fundraiser
Over a one-week period, the CEO of Touching Life Foundation (TLF), an NGO dedicated to empowering widows and orphans, provided palliative care to approximately 1000 people in Ado-Ekiti.
After discovering in the Bible and Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven Life, that one of God’s purposes for me was to be a blessing magnet to my generation and a light to my world, I became involved in charity work. I was even more encouraged after reading Bill Clinton’s book ‘Giving,’ which emphasized the importance of mobilizing others to help your immediate community. When the COVID-19 period presented us with an opportunity to do so through our organization, Touching Life Foundation, I reasoned that in order to live like Matthew 5.16, I needed to participate in what we call community service or Corporate social responsibility (CSR) (TLF).Deacon Olamitoyosi Omope
06. Aigbepue Margaret, the Emergency Responder
The Life Coach coordinated emergency relief efforts that impacted 209 people.
When I was sick in bed in the final weeks of the lockdown, the only thing that made me feel better was thinking about what I could do for others, because the majority of my previous outreaches had happened after a major breakdown. This is how I recover, heal, progress, and find meaning in my life. I simply picked up some co-patients’ bills a few days before I was discharged from the hospital as part of my outreach efforts. You feel indescribable joy when others are happy because of you. It’s indescribable!Aigbepue Margaret
It was pure bliss for me to see those new mothers sing in their native tongue as they prepared to leave the hospital after months of being unable to pay their bills. “Even if I don’t recover from this illness, I will have lived a fulfilled life,” I told myself at the time.
07. Oluwaseun Adesanya, the Fundraiser
Over 1000 people in the community received palliative care from the young professional.
Knowing that God could have used anyone else, but being used by God to touch many lives is a great privilege for me, and I thank God for allowing me to do so, especially during the pandemic period.Oluwaseun Adesanya
Providing palliative care in my community during the pandemic required a team effort with wonderful people around me, including the leadership and members of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Hope Centre. This act has resulted in the church’s ongoing effort to open a Kitchen Church during the youth service, where we feed over 1,000 people monthly with the assistance of the church’s leadership and members.
08. Alex Meseko, the Health Worker
On a daily basis, he provided healthcare services to approximately 120 people in the community through his healthcare business.
Alek Pharmacy’s mission is to “add value to life through excellent and professional services.” For us, it’s not just about making money; it’s about adding value to the lives of the people we meet on a daily basis as a service to God and humanity.Alex Meseko
So, for us at Alek Pharmacy, the COVID-19 pandemic era represented yet another opportunity to serve humanity, by making ourselves and services available throughout the heat and risks of the lockdown, and doing everything we can within ethical guidelines to ensure that people receive the best basic health care services possible. We are grateful that our host communities recognized it as a fight for humanity on the verge of failure. Our pharmacy’s daily foot traffic ranged from 105 to 120 people. Every day, including Sunday, we were open.
09. Mrs. Rachael Idowu Ojo, the Emergency Responder
Over 30,000 free nose masks were distributed by the community leader.
The need to prevent the spread of the deadly disease among family members, particularly those who may be unaware they are infected, inspired me to launch a free nose mask distribution program to families in my immediate and extended community. We distributed nose masks to between 300 and 600 people three times a week for over six months.
It is not news that Covid-19 is a highly contagious pandemic. As a result, anyone who comes into contact with infected people becomes infected, and the infection cycle continues. Worse, one may be a carrier of the virus without realizing it, increasing the likelihood of the deadly virus spreading among the asymptomatic population.Mrs. Rachael Idowu Ojo
10. Olufunmi Edna Adesokan, the Counsellor
Over 150 people diagnosed with Covid-19 were given free natural remedy consultations by the Nutrition and Fitness Coach in order to help them recover faster.
The impact of the pandemic was becoming more personal; you’d know someone whose family had been affected, resulting in a death. As a result, I investigated the trend as well as the research and announcements of the health ministry.
Then I began giving free consultations to people, approximately 150 of them, to make them aware that living a healthy lifestyle was one of the most effective ways to combat it. Many people, particularly those with health issues, began to prioritize fitness at this point.
My greatest passion became assisting people within my reach to stay healthy. It was easy to persuade people to adopt a healthy lifestyle because we all wanted to live, and I believe that food is medicine and medicine is food.Olufunmi Edna Adesokan
Other individuals and organizations recognized by their communities for their contributions to hunger relief, health and well-being promotion, poverty alleviation, and job creation during the COVID-19 pandemic include Ayodeji Alayande, Hon. Omoniyi Olulade, Compassionate Heart World Mission, Kazeem Nosiru, Omolara Dende, Dr. Emem Udofia, Richard Eze, Engr. Seyi Makinde, David Christian Center, Mama Monie, Adewale Aniyera, Lola Mayo, Pastor Olaoluwa Ojo and Lady Ladoja Otedola.