Photograph — Editi Effiong

Sometimes, all that is required is a little will …

On his blog, Editi Effiong describes himself as a “builder, traveller, and storyteller.” Suffice to say, he couldn’t be more apt; Editi is the reason why a widow and her seven children are getting a new lease on life.

During a morning walk around Akwa Ibom’s Golf Resort late last month, Editi discovered a run-down homestead beside its fence. One he describes as “stark, spartan and definitely not belonging on the edge of a world-class resort.”

Upon closer investigation, “the first thing that stood out was the blacked wall, with writing in chalk. I immediately realised children lived in this house,” he narrated on his blog. He got talking with one of the children and realised that although they were smart, they had little to no chance of getting an education.

He also observed that they lacked basic amenities like portable water and electricity even though they lived next to a resort with clean water and 24/7-power supply. At that point, Editi concluded that the lush green grass in the golf resort got more care than the children, and it broke his heart.

"In Nigeria, grass in golf courses get better care than citizens" - Editi Effiong|Medium
“In Nigeria, grass in golf courses get better care than citizens” – Editi Effiong|Medium

He posted a fundraising tweet and got donations worth N2.5 million overnight, this increased to N4 million in 10 days. With the success of the fundraising, Editi and his family went back to Akwa Ibom to pay a proper visit to the family.

“When we arrived, the mother of the children, [Affiong Effiong], had scurried around and gotten us a wooden bench to sit on. She did not seem very composed, however. She was excited to have guests over, curious as well, but there was something strange about her countenance,” Editi narrated.

After about an hour conversation with Affiong, they learned the woman was a widow left with seven children to cater to. All she had going on for her was the land the ramshackle building was on, a petty business of selling local alcoholic drinks that her late husband was known for, and petty farming.

Affiong Effiong with some of her children Credit - Editi Effiong
Affiong Effiong with some of her children
Credit – Editi Effiong

“When we asked what help she would like to get, her answer was simple, a home. She did not care if it was one room, as long as it had walls, and was dry for her children to sleep in.”

Editi explained the initial intent for the money being raised in his first blog post:

  1. Primarily, provide funding for the kids’ education for the next three to five years.
  2. Get a new home for the family for about the same period (within the same area, but better situated).
  3. A fund to ensure stipends for the mother of the kids for a year.
  4. If we can, we should repair the roof of the local school near the resort (or pressure SPG, who ‘own’ the resort to do that as CSR).

However, things have stepped up a notch with donations currently nearing N6 million, coupled with the fact that the family actually own the land they live on. Now the goal is to BUILD a home for them, put the children in school, get them a private tutor, and set up a business for the mother, Affiong Effiong.

Editi expressed gratitude on his blog with an update on the donations received so far; “Thank you, friends from the internet. Through the benevolence of Nigerians from Twitter and Facebook, we currently have a little over N6 million, N5.3 million in hand and about N750,000 in promissory notes.”

Editi has also gotten an offer to provide solar electrification for the family. He would also appreciate it if someone or an organisation could provide free healthcare for a year. Visit Editi Effiong’s blog on Medium to read the full story.

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Editi & Uyai Effiong
Description: #WriterKids

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