By Eniola Daniel
Committed to embarking on sustainable socio-economic initiatives and programmes that would lead to the empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized members of the society and ensure the fulfillment of the right of all humans to live in security, dignity and peace in Nigeria, Bruder Hilfe is a charity organization located in Nigeria and Germany. It is dedicated to improving the social, economic, health and education of women, children and young adults in poor rural and poor urban communities.
The efforts of the organization are geared towards sustainable empowerment programmes, inclusive community projects, infrastructure projects, trainings, and partnership with others which create opportunities women and youths can effectively access. Bruder Hilfe was registered in Nigeria in 2017 as a non-profit organization.
The organization works on promoting rights to qualitative education through human rights-based approach to development. Bruder Hilfe through community sensitization, mobilization, capacity building, scholarships and project modelling with specific emphasis on basic education is working and will continue to work in the education sector in different parts of Nigeria.
Executive Director, Bruder Hilfe Social Development Initiative, Mary Oluwabamigbe Bruder says: “We are committed to working on sustainable ways of improving the terms of participation in society, particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights. We are working on promoting rights of women and children with specific emphasis on gender equity and gender sensitivity. We do these through empowerment like disbursement of seed grant to boost local businesses of women, renovation and provision of educational materials for children in educationally disadvantaged regions, aiming to improve livelihoods of families in rural communities. We are moved and are guided by a sense of godliness manifested in showing love and concern for our neighbours especially the disadvantaged and lowly ones as we love and value ourselves which God Himself exemplified. We see ourselves as a group of people with helping hands to lift up the downtrodden from their lowly positions.”
To be part of a people with the mind of extending hands of love and devoted service to make the society a better and more equitable one, the organization is determined to be steadfast, thorough, consistent in its activities, planning, and implementation and in abiding with values and principles that shape their work.
According to Mary Oluwabamigbe Bruder, the organization is open in its conduct, in making decision and interaction with people regardless of status and condition. “We are responsible and accountable for our actions as an organization. We owe it as stewards to be accountable to God and to people He surrounds us with,” she emphasizes.
Bruder said the government was frustrating her efforts and making it difficult to bring materials donated to her charity organization by foreign partners into the country. According to her, despite efforts at reaching out to the less-privileged in the country, unfriendly policies remain a big issue. Bruder disclosed this, during the presentation of health, educational and mobility support for the less privileged in Isolo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State. She said the programme was one of the ways of ensuring a more equitable and inclusive society everyone can be proud of. “This year we have listed some states as part of our intervention in Nigeria and Lagos State is one of the nine states on our list. We started in Kosofe then we proceeded to Gbagada, before visiting Bariga and now Oshodi-Isolo, so we brought the programme here in an expanded project.
We donated to two primary schools, three health centres, mobility carts to persons living with disability and we attended to 30 pregnant women and gave them clothes, diapers and other supplies in partnership with the first lady of the local government, Jumoke Olasoju. We also donated to the elderly. Our next port of call in Lagos is Badagry and it’s going to be bigger than this. We are looking towards reaching 500 persons in seven states including Osun, Anambra, Ondo, Sokoto and Ogun this year. I have been doing intervention programmes in Nigeria because international donors believe in me and they are ready to give me things worth millions of dollars, but I have challenges. I can’t push out what I have in my warehouse. I have spent my life savings on these programmes. I get several donations but bringing things into Nigeria is challenging. I have to ship, pay customs, logistics; sometimes I don’t have the money to distribute. When I don’t have money, I will lock up my warehouse and leave the country. I am still looking for that well-to-do Nigerian that will support me because I have asked donors not to give us anything for now because I can’t afford clearing and the logistics. So, the only state that has taken care of our logistics is Katsina State. If we are doing this, reaching out to the poor, then, why is the Nigerian government and the Humanitarian Ministry not keying in? The Nigerian government is frustrating efforts in reaching to the less privileged in the society; they don’t respond to our leaders so, it’s a big challenge, but I hope private organizations will key into this and partner with us.”
Chairman, Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Otunba Adebayo Olasoju, said: “The residents are used to this, so Bruder Hilfe came to partner with us because of our contributions. “We are doing training in skill acquisitions, and those with disabilities want to work and be productive, and the first thing we did was their orientation. We told them that nobody can do it for them better than themselves.”