COVID-19: Hunger Ravages Inmates in Orphanage Home

Children in an orphanage home in Anambra State are crying out for help, calling on public spirited citizens to come to their rescue as hunger takes its toll on them amid the lockdown, report Precious Ukeje and Alexander Johnson Adejoh.

Fides, on a mission to find out the condition of vulnerable members of society in the period, reports a devastating revelation of helplessness and deprivation faced by children housed in the Divine Mercy Compassionate Home (Orphanage), Amawbia, Wednesday, April 15.

Speaking with reporters during an interaction, the Matron, Reverend Sister, Chizorom Ugwu, disclosed that they had not had visits or handouts from the Church, individuals or corporate bodies, since the beginning of the lockdown.

It will be recalled that the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, in a state-wide broadcast, April 11, ordered a comprehensive lockdown in the state, restricting vehicular movements, including all other forms of movement.

However, Sister Ugwu said that only the wife of the National Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Oye, visited in the period before the lockdown, noting that they relied solely on the charity of people to run the orphanage home.

She noted that some of the bills they took care of included paying medical bills, school fees and others as may be required per time.

Ugwu lamented the ordeal the children were passing through, noting that there were a good number of them who consumed only milk but that the orphanage had run short of milk, having exhausted the last one she bought. She added that most of the children had taken ill in quick succession which again had taken a toll on their finances.

She said most of the children at the time of gathering this report, suffered from measles which had also made them have little for treatment.

The matron further disclosed that it was difficult for them to purchase food items owing to the paucity of funds at the Home.

She also lamented the hitch encountered with operatives of security agencies at the several roadblocks they mounted while taking the children to and from the hospital for treatment.

She added that the children under her care, numbering thirty, were only between creche and primary six, save for one new child who had just been registered at a secondary school in Umuokpu.

Noting that the interest of individuals in catering for the school fees of some of the children would reduce some burden on the management of the orphanage, Ugwu said they needed volunteer teachers to give the children extramural lessons as it would be difficult for her to do that alone with the combination of other responsibilities.

Appreciating the aids and donations they had gotten in previous times from the Awka Catholic Bishop, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor; priests and other individuals, she said that a monthly collection or budget from the Church for orphanage homes in the various dioceses would help them a great deal.

Meanwhile, the Management of Divine Mercy Compassion Home (Orphanage) had restricted visitors from seeing the children since the announcement of the index case of coronavirus in Anambra State and subsequent directives to lock down by the state government.

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