It isn’t very often that we come across someone who completely dedicates their life to the cause of saving abused and abandoned children. This can be said of one woman and she is called Reverend Christina Bamidele George.
After years in the banking industry, she resigned in 1985 and moved into small time business with her husband. In 1990, she gave her life to God and felt that her own mission was to look after the less privileged in society. Since that day she dedicated her life to champion the cause of abused, abandoned and orphaned children.
Reverend George runs the “Little Saints Orphanage”, and since its inception it has rehabilitated hundreds of children including babies. The orphanage has also provided new families for some of the children via adoption. With no major sources of funding, the orphanage has survived on the generosity of donors, patrons and dedicated volunteers.
She recently made a documentary titled “Cry for mercy” chronicling the stories of abandoned children in Lagos. The documentary starts of telling the story of a homeless and helpless mother, who stabbed her baby and left her in a plastic bag by a canal. The baby was rescued and treated, however there have been others before her who weren’t so lucky.
I caught up with the awe inspiring Reverend George to find out more about her mission to save the world one abandoned child at a time
What made you decide that helping and saving abandoned children would be your calling?
I have always loved children. I tend to empathize with them a lot. Children are very vulnerable, trusting and innocent.
I love to help and defend them. God has maximized this gift in me by giving me the vision of the orphanage. I made the decision when I began a closer and personal relationship with God. I became conscious of my spirituality and this led me to decide to render this humanitarian service to God, because children are God’s heritage.
What was your biggest challenge when you opened the Little Saint’s Orphanage?
The biggest challenge was coping with the huge number of children that were being brought by the police. As soon as the police knew about the high standard of the orphanage most abandoned babies around Lagos were brought to us and we could not turn any back, so the expenditure was very high and space was limited. Thank God that from one small dormitory we have expanded to four fully functional homes today.
What is the story behind the first child you brought into the orphanage?
We do not know the family background of the child because she was abandoned in a polythene bag by a canal. The police woman simply brought her to us just the way she was found. It was heart breaking. We thought she had some deformity because of the despicable way she was abandoned only to discover that she was a perfect beautiful baby. She was adopted two years later.
How do you deal with the death of children?
Initially we wept a lot but the rate of mortality in our home has been extremely low because some hospitals have been very kind to our little saints. Out of over one thousand babies we’ve lost eight. When we lost a baby with AIDS recently we still felt very sad but we continue to put our trust in God.
I would like to see them have the best education. I want to see more recreational facilities and high standard medical centers or hospitals for children. I would like to see all children in loving families especially when there are no birth parents.
What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful that God is in my life and that I have discovered my purpose.
We know that you are also trying to push fostering. How do you think this is going to benefit abandoned and abused children and their proposed foster families?
Fostering will make it possible for older children who are above 3yrs to have the support and love of a family. Orphanages and children homes are meant to be temporary homes for children. Fostering in the long run will reduce the number of children living on the streets.
For someone who has run an orphanage for so long, how do you deal with the difficult ones?
Most children are tender hearted and receptive to love. It takes only a few weeks for them to change from being aggressive, abusive and rude to being polite, loving and eager to please. We have very effective methods of reformation. A lot of extra-curricular activities, mentoring and spiritual impartation, a good blend of discipline and love does a lot to change the behaviour of the children from negative to positive.
If you had anything to say to people who are considering adoption, what would you tell them?
I would love to say to them “Thank you for opening your heart and home to a child” It takes a good heart to love a child who is not a biological child. The best gift to give to God is to bring up a child to love God and walk in his ways. Adoption should be seen as an enviable act of love. I admire adopters, society should applaud and appreciate them.
What keeps you going on so strong?
God, my family, the support of patrons and the love of our Little Saints. I also make sure I eat right, I don’t indulge in junk food. I take my vitamins daily.
What is your inspiration and what is the greatest lesson that you have learnt
My inspiration is the word of God. I listen to a lot of inspirational speakers, men and women of God. The greatest lesson is, fulfilment, blessings and joy comes from giving. To really live is to live for others and in loving others we prove we love God.
If you had a chance to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I wish I had been more conscious of my spirituality earlier in life. I would have loved to have a closer relationship with God in my youth. I believe I would have made better decisions concerning some specific areas in my life. Still, I am grateful for everything so far. I am fulfilled and blessed.
If you want to help in anyway through donations of cash or kind, check out the link below