Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday vowed to take the lead in the care of orphans, children with special needs, the elders, the mentally challenged, and other vulnerable groups in the state to give hope and make life meaningful to them.
The Governor, who spoke at the launch of a Social Welfare Integrated Program Initiative (SWIPI) aimed at supporting orphanages, elderly care homes, and others in the areas of addressing their infrastructure, medical, education, nutrition, and training needs, said there is a lot to be done to care for the less privileged in the society and that his government would not give excuses.
He said he was particularly thrilled with the objectives of the SWIPI team in reaching out to the care homes in the state, adding that it was a clarion call on all to join hands with the government to make a positive difference.
“I am actually very thrilled listening to all of the very modest interventions and initiatives that SWIPI stands for and I must thank the initiator and the Grand Patron. There is a lot we can do for the children and vulnerable people out there; there is a lot that is expected of us.
“As a government, we are not going to give excuses and I will personally take the lead and see that we double up our interventions through Ministries of Youth and Social Development, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and other MDAs,” the Governor assured.
Narrating the experience on his way to the venue of the SWIPI launch where he stopped the convoy upon noticing two young girls roaming the street during school hours, the Governor gave the names of the girls as Chindinma Amarachi and Suwebat, 9 and 12 years respectively, vowing to take over the sponsorship of their education.
“Out there, there are several Amarachis and Suwebats who don’t have the opportunity to go to school. We all can make a difference if we choose to and this is why I am indeed happy with this SWIPI project because there is no better thing we can do to mankind than ensuring that we can make life better for our next-door neighbor,” the Governor said.
Speaking earlier after her investiture as the Grand Patron of SWIPI, the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said she was fascinated by the objective of the organization which is principally aimed at helping to tremendously improve the quality and value of care to the less privileged in society.
According to her, “It is commendable that SWIPI is already intervening in delivering a training curriculum for registered caregivers, using world-class facilitators and the feedback has been improved knowledge and delivery of care by the caregivers in all the registered homes and orphanages in the state.
“The organization has also been strong in improving the quality of social welfare administration through the donation of critical equipment and facilities including digital tablets, computers, boreholes, water treatment plants, and toilet facilities, among others to ramp up the care of the vulnerable in the homes.”
She said it was with a deep sense of responsibility and call to service that she accepted the investiture in order to consolidate on the amazing objective to embed best practices in social welfare administration in the overall interest of the vulnerable, especially children, the elderly, and mentally challenged individuals.
The First Lady also called on others to support SWIPI by donating generously; just as she said that addressing the plight of the most vulnerable in society is a collective responsibility that falls on every global citizen.
“I believe that the social welfare system is one of the single most important sectors of society that can deliver a marked improvement in the standard of living of the most vulnerable in our society,” she said.
Besides, she called for deliberate policies and laws to ensure that registered orphanages and elderly care homes adhere to best practices, while efforts are put in place to address the issue of unregistered homes, with the view to ensuring that they are properly regulated.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of SWIPI, Dr. Kolawole Ajayi said the organization consists of 11 professionals from different walks of life who have an incredible love for children and are concerned about the social, economic, health, and welfare of vulnerable children, particularly those in orphanages.
He said SWIPI was concerned about children with some learning disorders abandoned in the orphanages and the less privileged adults in the elderly homes in the state, saying the focus of the project was to address the identified gaps in social welfare practice and administration.
At the event, digital tablets were presented to 14 registered elderly care homes to enhance their operations toward e-learning. They are Rock Garden Home for the Elderly, Jozel Care, Chrisgloria Nursing, Precious Jewels, Winiseph Care Home, Blue Gate Home Care-Healthcare, Centre for Happy Elderly People, Mariam Akintola Senior Citizens Care Home, Old People’s Rehabilitation Centre, The Cathedral Circle Initiative, Primecare Rehabilitation Resources Limited, Old People’s Home, Multibeniose Elderly and Motherly Care, and The Shepherd’s Heaven.