A former foster carer is being hailed as Nigeria’s ‘Mother Theresa’.
For twenty three years Lydia Ina looked after children in Manchester.
Now the Fallowfield great-grandmother has dedicated her life to helping the poor and needy in Africa.
Lydia, of Garswood Road, has just returned from last mission to Nigeria where she overseen further development work at our rescue centre. The centre now supports 15 children, aged 2 to 15. and supports a further 8 with our community carers
Her Manchester based charity, the Gapolunya Foundation provides street children with food shelter and access to education - and trains carers to look after them for when they leave the home and return to their communities.
In the five years since she founded the charity she has also recruited doctors to provide free health testing and drugs to 10,000 villagers.
And on her most recent visit she travelled through communities wracked by conflict to provide and mosquito nets to 300 pregnant mums, support subsistence farming projects, and provide financial and educational support to poor children, using her own money, and money raised by kindhearted Mancunians.
The work is having such an impact Lydia has been compared to ‘Mother Theresa’ in local television broadcasts.
Devout Catholic Lydia was inspired to found the charity after visiting Cross River state in south-eastern Nigeria and meeting children exiled by their families after being accused of ‘witchcraft’.
“When I arrived I started to look for these ‘witchcraft’ children, and I found about fifty of them,so I asked the government if they can give me a
home where I can start looking after them but the government refused.
“So I stayed with them to look after them.
“As I travelled I met other children, not ‘witch children’ but orphans with nowhere to go and no food, so I started a centre to help them. The most important thing is to send them to school, to make sure they achieve an education that is the key to life and their security.
“Since they have been at the centre the children have improved so much. Children are my life - I looked after children 23 years as a foster carer, brought up six children, and I will work until I drop with children.”
A building programme is currently expanding the capacity of the orphanage and upgrading the building.
A bore hole has been installed to provide fresh clean water to our centre. In time, this will be developed into a small enterprise to provide some funding to cover its running costs.