A New Phase of Mission: Kids of Tomorrow Expand Lifesaving Interventions
UNICEF estimates that there are over 153 million orphans across the world. Orphans are often the most vulnerable members of society, lacking anyone to advocate for their safety and healthy development. Kids of Tomorrow Foundation was founded in 2019 with the mission of providing care to orphans in Eastern Nigeria.
Delivering aid to the most vulnerable
Nigeria’s Cross River and Taraba States have experienced an influx in refugees, including orphans, from the violence in neighboring Cameroon in recent years. Seeing the great need for support, Kids of Tomorrow targeted their interventions in these regions. You can read more about the exodus caused by the ongoing civil conflict in Cameroon, as well as the response of another CMMB partner here.
The group traveled to Nigeria in 2019 to establish an orphanage to provide shelter and care for vulnerable children. However, on this inaugural trip, they discovered that the community at large had a massive unmet need for medical care due to additional people arriving and relying on an already overburdened system. The population is overall very poor and there are virtually no options for regular care that they can afford.
Expanding care to meet community needs
Tekum Pentecoster, founder of Kids of Tomorrow, began to plan how her group could improve the health of this population. She reached out to medical professionals in the United States to convey the huge need that her and her team had witnessed. Concurrently, she worked with community members back in Cross River and Taraba to see what local resources they could leverage for this new focus of work.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused significant delays for beginning to provide healthcare for the community. However, it also gave the Kids of Tomorrow Foundation more time to marshal resources to support their work. This included applying to CMMB to receive donated medicines and medical supplies to bring with them on their mission trip. After reviewing their needs and trip plans, CMMB provided a donation containing a variety of medications for management of chronic diseases as well as treatment for acute conditions such as infections.
Kids of Tomorrow planned their mission carefully. In the weeks leading up to the trip, they had local leaders notify surrounding communities of their impending arrival using local radio, word of mouth, and town criers (people employed to make announcements in villages). Most of the villagers are farm workers, so the team started seeing patients at the crack of dawn and stayed late into the evening to ensure ample opportunity for patients to plan their visit around their work schedules.
As they saw patients, the medical professionals on the team reported numerous cases of chronic conditions that had become life-threatening solely from a lack of detection. People complaining of persistent headaches presented with life threateningly high blood pressure from hypertension. Similarly, many patients had unknowingly been suffering from diabetes for years. Thanks in part to CMMB donations, the team was able to start these patients on therapeutics, giving them control of their health.
Witnessing an impact
The team also reported being blown away by the gratitude of the community members they served. Most had never received high quality care that they didn’t have to pay for. Numerous people returned after their appointments, believing that they had forgotten to pay for the medicines they were prescribed. When they were informed that all care was completely free of charge, some patients asked to stay late and sweep the clinic floor as means of expressing their gratitude.
There is now a small clinic with local health providers regularly seeing patients with support from Kids of Tomorrow. The Foundation is currently constructing a larger health facility in the area that can provide more advanced care. CMMB looks forward to continuing to participate in these efforts to help the vulnerable to live healthier lives.