Suffer the Little Children: Hearts of Gold

June 14 19:54 2016 Print This Article

Surulere Now! visited the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice at Plot 75 Alhaju Masha Rd, Onilegogoro. Founded by Mrs Laja Adedoyin on 2 October 2003, it was first located at Adelabu St before moving to its current premises in November, 2009.


On our initial visit we were surprised to come across a young lady (left) celebrating her birthday with some friends. Mrs Adedoyin confirmed that many people took advantage of such occasions to express their solidarity with her work.


Prince Adedoyin (right) was born with one tumour at the front of his head and another at the back. He also has a cleft lip and palette. He feeds well and is strong but his prognosis is not good.







The hospice currently caters for 67 children in two light and airy dormitories on the first floor. They welcomed us with big smiles which belied the condition some of them had been born with






Baby Dele, who is almost one-year-old, was born without a tongue or hands. His feet are deformed.





Two other children, Funke and Toby (both four years old, pictured below), suffer from cerebral palsy. According to the UK-based National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the condition affects ’body movement, muscle coordination, and balance’. They also suffer ’seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations.’ There is no cure.


Mrs Adedoyin was full of praise for the current Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who she described as ’child-friendly’ and ’disability-friendly’, as was his predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola He has set up a committee to look into establishing special homes for children in need. He also underwrote the medical treatment of one of the few children – 5 altogether – who could benefit from medical intervention in Dubai or India at a cost of N3million, as did Femi Gbajabiamilla.

Mrs Adedoyin pointed out that it would be far cheaper to perform these surgeries at, say, LUTH, but as she also pointed out: ’Nigerian doctors are just as good as doctors anywhere else in the world but they lack the proper facilities,’ and had proved it in foreign climes.

Hearts of Gold, which needs all the help it can get, is fortunate in a UK-based Nigerian pharmacist by the name of Anthony Fatusin, who supplies all the medicines free of charge on a quarterly basis at a cost of between N2 million and N3 million per quarter. Mrs Adedoyin was also full of praise for Fidelity Bank, which built and equipped the physiotherapy clinic, a lifeline for the children. Doubtless other banks will be anxious to follow suit.


Finally, DHL contributed a N1.3 million KVA generator in 2008. According to the then Country Commercial Manager: ’DHL is a socially responsible company that believes that every citizen deserves to live life to its fullest regardless of physical or mental disability.’ He added that, ’Our support of children is total, considering that they are the future of any society and it is for this reason that we believe that children with disabilities should also be supported because there is ability in every disability.’ He concluded by assuring that ’DHL will remain consistent in responding promptly to their needs as and when they arise.’ We have no doubt that they will keep to their promise, although this doesn’t prevent you and me – along with all the good people of Surulere – from doing our part. Better a millstone…

(All photos © Don Barber)

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