Candlelight Foundation to hold ‘Walk Against Hunger’ to save lives


Hundreds of desperate and starving persons in Lagos have come to depend on the non-governmental organisation, The Candlelight Foundation, for free meals weekly to reduce hunger and boost nutrition in the face of harsh economic realities in which many families are unsure of their next meal.

The NGO, despite recording a steady increase in the number of its dependents as a non-profit soup kitchen, has forged on in its commitment to bringing succour to destitute Nigerians.

In line with its mandate, The Candlelight Foundation has finalized plans to organise a ‘Walk Against Hunger’ and will seek donations to save lives. The kind gesture established by the Candlelight Foundation is supported by Providus Bank, FBN Mortgages, Indomie Noodles among others.

The events are part of broader humanitarian projects that include the “Football Over Hunger” match between Fintech companies that are Pagatech and Fint and “Walk Against Hunger” and other initiatives of the NGO to raise funds and sustain the cause and get government’s backing.

Commenting on this year’s projects, the Executive Director of the Candlelight Foundation, Uzoamaka Okeke, said: “We are working on two projects at the moment. The Football over Hunger match and our annual Walk Against Hunger. The football match is between two organisations in the Fintech industry: FINT and Pagatech on 19th of April.

“It is a novelty match to raise funds for our cause as well as a team-bonding opportunity for each organisation and an opportunity to be part of a great cause. The walk against hunger will be held on May 4th this year and will congregate at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

“It is another great opportunity to raise awareness of the hunger emergency in our country and band the public together to fight it.”

Highlighting the focus of the NGO, Okeke stressed that, “The beneficiaries of our projects are always the less advantaged in our society. We provide free meals and adult education to the needy as well as get young kids off the street and put them back in school.”

On the achievement of the Foundation since inception, Okeke explained that there are many accomplishments: “We have been able to provide over 50,000 meals to the needy and give people jobs. Our adult education classes currently have more than 50 men and women in attendance. We have been able to educate on hygiene, and given over 100 men free haircuts and shaves.

“We give out clothes and shoes regularly. Our centre in Surulere, Lagos, has shower facilities where they bathe for free. They also come and wash their clothes for free without fear of theft. We have been able to provide a non-judgemental place where they can come and talk, rest weary legs, take shelter from the sun and rain; we have provided a place where they can receive hope.”

Asked what the Candlelight aims to achieve at the long run by setting up a non-profit soup kitchen, Okeke stated that: “Unless you have a heart of stone, just step outside your home and you will see the need. We started it because there was a need for it. Our aim is to affect the thinking capacity of every Nigerian by providing the basic nutrition one needs to be effective in society.

“A hungry man cannot apply for a job nor sit for an interview. A hungry man will eventually become a nuisance when he has so much potential inside of him.”

She also disclosed the factors that have made the NGO unique and outstanding. “There are so many NGOs out there doing great things. The Candlelight has found itself catering mostly but not exclusively to the less advantaged men in our society. These men are both socially and biblically head of household, but with little or no tools to function properly in that role, one can only wonder what kind of role model such a man is to his wife and kids.”

The Candlelight director also opened up on the challenges of running a non-profit soup kitchen in Nigeria: “One of the major challenges to fundraising is the awareness of who we are and what we do. We are trying to get the word out and let people know we exist and that they could possibly save a life with just N200.

“It costs only N200 to feed one person and give them hope that tomorrow could be better. I think the economy also has a role in the challenges to fundraising. It was quite a tight year in 2018. Somehow, I just believe this year would be much better. I am moved by the plight of the poor and I want to care for as many as I can reach.

“It is not an easy road. There is quite some backlash, but it is a road I have chosen and must see through, not to prove anything to anyone but because it is a noble cause; a cause I would gladly champion.”

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