From Aderonke Bello, Abuja
Chabad Aid, Abuja, in collaboration with EMI Systems and Mesika Brothers Foundation, brought light and cheer to the lives of vulnerable children in Lagos and Abuja in February.
The outreach, under the aegis of Chabad House, a Jewish cultural centre run by Rabbi Israel Usan and his wife Haya, was extended to children in schools in both cities, in Lugbe and Aja areas, respectively.
Usan, with funding from Eyal Mesika, an Israeli businessman and founder of high-profile private security firm EMI and Mesika Brothers Foundation, invited two major Israeli artists to entertain the kids, distributing food, drinks and spreading a message of hope and happiness.
The humanitarians, based out of Abuja, are part of Nigeria’s small expat Israeli/Jewish community, who have for years engaged in much charity work in and around the nation’s capital – including setting up orphanages, distributing free eyewear and founding training and development programs for teens and youth in conjunction with local and foreign partners.
Speaking about their work, coordinator Rabbi Usan said, “The first project we did was for special needs children,” saying Chabad Aid wants “to provide humanitarian aid not only for the moment but for the future.”
The dual events came in the month of Adar, the 12th month of the Hebrew Calendar, a month, Israel says, of deep happiness leading up to Purim, a high Jewish holiday.
The Rabbi’s message to young Nigerians is that they believe in themselves. “You can build a world [for yourselves],” he said. “but Nigerians need to believe in themselves, and me and my wife we believe in Nigeria very strongly.”