In some parts of the world, people are suffering from poverty made worse by the pandemic.
That’s the case in Nigeria where Foxboro resident Adeola Olafikun hails from. A Foxboro Rotarian, she enlisted the help of the organization along with residents, to help.
Olafikun said when the stay-at-home home order was issues in Nigeria due to the coronavirus pandemic, the reality of hunger hit hard because most people who earn their daily living from selling their products or worked for private small-scale businesses weren’t earning income.
In one case, she saw thousands rushing to get food from a single van carrying donated items.
Olafikun was devastated, seeing people defying social-distancing requirements all because they want to get something to eat and feed their family.
“I hate to see people, especially children and the elderly, go hungry for days just because they cannot afford to put food on their table,” Olafikun said.
She says she is privileged to live in the U.S. where food is available if needed at food banks and free meals are provided to school children.
But those opportunities don’t exist in Nigeria.
According to Olafikun, 80 percent of the Nigerian population is living in absolute poverty, living on less than a dollar per day and the government doesn’t have any social welfare system.
She said unemployment, bad governance, corruption, fund embezzlement and the diversion of funds into non-developmental projects contribute to the poverty rate.
“Hunger is killing people more than coronavirus here,” said her mother Jumoke Adesola, who lives in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The circumstances led Olafikun to form the JIREH Foundation. JIREH means “provider” in Hebrew.
She was able to raise $1,500 from family members in America and Canada. The fund was sent to her mother in Nigeria and fed around 1,500 people for about one week with beans, rice, garri (cassava flakes), noodles, tomato paste, condiments, and some face masks distributed to the elderly, widows and widowers, single mothers, and vulnerable children first.
Following her leadership, the Foxboro Rotary Club made an additional $500 donation towards the project and with $600 from anonymous donors, the $1,100 total donation was sent through Foxboro Rotary to Ondo, Nigerian Rotary club.
Food was distributed to three states — Ondo, Ekiti, and Ogun — as a result of the donations, feeding 2,000 individuals for about a week.
According to Adedoyin Tajudeen Agbede, the president of Rotary Club of Ondo Nigeria, the major beneficiaries are teachers of private schools and others who have not received a salary since the start of the lockdown on March 30.
“Feeding has become near impossible for a lot of them and this donation was timely especially for those who are also breadwinners of the family,” Agbede said.
“As you have fed people and provided for our needs, the Lord will provide for yours too in Jesus’s name. May the donors never go hungry,” one of the recipients expressed captured by a video from Ondo Rotary Club member when she received the food.
Olafikun said she was was fulfilled to see the joy in recipients’ faces through pictures and videos.
“Knowing people will get something to eat that night made me happy. ‘I wish I can do more’ that’s what I said to myself.”
For more information, contact Adeola Olafikun via email firstname.lastname@example.org.