Many of our sisters are engaged in Pastoral/Social work in Nigeria.
They work in activities such as:
- Visitation of the poor and needy in their own homes takes place daily
- Projects to help destitute women to start small trading (in fruit, vegetables, dressmaking etc.) in order to support their families
- Work with victims of Human Trafficking. Sisters are working with organisations attempting to combat this problem
- Prison visitation
- Youth Ministry
- Development of Small Christian Communities in the parishes in which we are involved
- Providing meals-on-wheels for elderly and sick
- Training young mothers in domestic skills
- Adult literacy classes
- Centre for physically-challenged children
Sisters in the communities of Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Festac, Kiri-Kiri engage in these activities from the convent or parish base.
We have two centres (each of which was built with the help of funding from Irish Aid) for Development & Skill training: -
1. Mary Aikenhead Centre for Women & Youth Development, Okpara Inland
One sister runs this centre. It provides meals-on-wheels, 5 days weekly to elderly and sick who have no one to care for them, as well as training young mothers in domestic skills and youth work. Poor, indigent mothers are encouraged and given the necessary help to start a business and save some money. At first their small profits are saved by the sister and when this money has ‘grown’ it is ploughed back into the small ‘business’. A farm (with 2000 hens and an artificial lake for fish) is maintained to help finance the work.
This Centre has also received funding from Misean Cara, (Link http://www.miseancara.ie ) in a project called ‘Operation Sanitation’ to help provided much needed latrines for the local people.
2. St. Anne’s Centre for Women & Youth Development, Satellite Town, Lagos
This centre was opened in May 2005 and it is a training centre for women and young people, to enable them to have some means of livelihood. At present we run dressmaking and adult literacy classes. We hope to begin bead-making classes in the future. There are 53 students attending adult literacy classes and 40 students attending the two-year dressmaking course. Two groups have already completed the two year course.
3. Centre for Physically Handicapped Children: Compassion Centre, Port Harcourt
This is a residential orthopaedic facility for approximately 35 children suffering from post-polio and other orthopaedic deformities. These children receive surgery and physiotherapy, to enable them to walk. They also attend the adjoining school (run by our sisters), Sancta Maria Primary School.
In Compassion Centre the total care of each child is important and so we commit ourselves to strive for excellence in meeting the holistic needs of each one in a caring and healing environment; in which the essential contribution of each member of staff is valued. We encourage the children to be independent, to have a good sense of their self-worth, self-respect, and to be able to cope with them- selves and others. To achieve this, our activities include the teaching of daily living skills.
Each year approximately 24 children and young adults are admitted to the Centre for orthopaedic surgery and physiotherapy only. They spend 2 – 3 months in the Centre and then return to their own homes. Often these people have been identified by our sisters in our other communities, especially Okpara |Inland and Ozoro as needing surgery.
Compassion Centre receives no regular financial aid from the government. Nigerians are very conscious of their obligation to assist the handicapped, and so the Centre is maintained from donations.