The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) strives to make an impact on the lives of those who the world forgets. Working in partnership with local organizations in both the public and private sector COFI works to eradicate poverty. The many different NGOs that makeup COFI not only works to counter the effects of poverty but to build a sustainable future. Chris Oyakhilome has said: “Remain the helper and the giver.” He elaborates by reminding us that helping others is a gift.
The Global Effects of COVID-19 on the children
The COVID-19 crisis has a potentially far-reaching, long-term negative impact on children around the world. More than 1.5 billion students are out of school. Stresses on families, particularly those living under quarantines and lock-downs, are increasing the incidence of domestic violence. As the global death toll from COVID-19 increases, large numbers of children will be orphaned and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Effects of COVID-19 could reverse progress made on children’s rights in Nigeria.
COVID-19 will impact most marginalised children from low-income families if actionable measures are not put in place and adequately funded. The poorest and vulnerable households will bear the brunt, destroying the hopes of a generation of children. There is major concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could turn into a serious child rights crisis in Nigeria, as hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable children could be exposed to a dangerous mix of extreme poverty, malnutrition and hunger as a result of the virus. The socioeconomic impact of the pandemic will push many poor households to turn to desperate measures just to survive. Children could face increased risk of child labour or sexual exploitation or of child marriage, as families struggle to feed their families. It is important that children and other marginalized groups are not excluded in Covid-19 response activities. They should be safe and consulted on proper education and protection measures.
Every person deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare services. Healthcare services in impoverished communities are generally considered to be poor and insufficient. Medical facilities struggle to deliver essential health services due to inadequate service providers and shortages of supplies. Millions of children are detained in the justice system, immigration detention, or confined in orphanages and other institutions. In many such facilities, children are held in close proximity to other children, with limited access to water and sanitation, which can facilitate the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Access to basic medical services is also often poor or lacking in these settings, putting children’s health at greater risk if they fall ill.
In many communities, there is limited infrastructure and access to medical care, information, and services. Every year millions of young children die from diseases that can be prevented by early medical checkups. Unfortunately, this is mostly inaccessible for indigent children. The Volunteer Medical Corps (VMC), founded in 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria, is a global Christian medical outreach organization that provides humanitarian assistance in the form of medical care, relief assistance and long-term healthcare networks to communities in need. The initiatives of the Volunteer Medical Corps and its partner organizations are dedicated to providing these communities with adequate healthcare services and manpower development to aid local health workers.
Financial hardship prevents many from seeking healthcare services when they are most needed. The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International works to enhance the quality and availability of healthcare services in the communities that need it the most. COFI supports initiatives that break down the barriers to proper healthcare in order to ensure the delivery of adequate healthcare services, quality healthcare management and improved patient care to build strong, healthy communities.
For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education, or falling further behind their peers. More than 91 percent of the world’s students are out of school, due to school closures in at least 188 countries. The crisis has exposed vast disparities in countries’ emergency preparedness, internet access for children, and availability of learning materials. Although much focus has turned to online learning platforms, many public schools are not set up to use them or do not have the technology and equipment to provide online teaching. Nearly half of the world has no internet access. For the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International, the promotion of quality education and skill acquisition among children and youth ensures that they become vital to the development of their communities and nations. To support academic achievement, the foundation works to fund research activities in key areas of learning. Children need consistent encouragement and loving care to promote healthy development. Children who have access to early educational opportunities live happier and healthier lives, have higher levels of literacy, and participate more in society. COFI seeks to help vulnerable children achieve their full potential by supporting their educational, spiritual and social needs.