Mrs. Aramide Oikelome was called into the ministry of providing hope to hopeless children in the society which spurred her to establish Bestspring Children &Youth Development Foundation and Goshen Home, that cater for vulnerable and physically challenged children and orphans. In this interview with ESTHER BAKARE, she discloses how God gave her the mandate to heal hurts and cater for orphans
How did you receive the vision?
The vision for the orphanage came in 2014, while I was at a Women Conference in my church then.
It was precisely on 7th June, 2014 and we were having a fasting and praying session. While on my knees to pray, I heard the Lord say to me, ‘Daughter, I want you to set up an orphanage.
It is going to be a choice home where destiny children will be nurtured.
I will cause it to flourish and it shall be a fountain from where many lives will be nourished. Let it be within Akute-Olambe area. I will cause many churches/organisations to adopt the home and sow into it’.
Prior to that time, in December 2002, my husband and I started Bestspring Children and Youth Development Foundation to advocate and cater for orphans, vulnerable and physically-challenged children but we became formally registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2010 as a non-governmental organisation.
Our mandate is to heal hurts and restore hope to vulnerable children and youths.
We have served in this capacity in the last 14 years and have provided humanitarian support to indigent children in areas of education, nutrition and psycho-social support.
What was your reaction to the call?
When the message came, I laughed because I didn’t have a dime.
The NGO we were running had lot of challenges with paying school fees and caring for the vulnerable children under our care.
We couldn’t afford a lot of things at the time, so I didn’t see how I would be able to afford to rent a bungalow or duplex and furnish it as an orphanage.
So, I told the Lord that if truly He is the one leading me in this direction, He should speak to my husband to approve of it.
That was the litmus test and confirmation l needed most.
Of course, I could not tell him immediately because I was almost too sure he would raise objection in view of the financial stress we were already going through with running Bestspring Foundation.
But the very day I told him, he was all out for it and even encouraged me to look for a suitable place to rent.
His words, ‘I perceive that God wants to build us an institution that will outlive us, so there is no need to delay’.
So I went on to search for a place for use. I also sent someone to the Ministry of Social Development, Abeokuta, to make enquires about government’s requirements for us to run an orphanage so we would be guided aright.
We searched and searched but did not find a suitable place. It was in the process that I lost my dad on 3rd August 2014.
I was devastated and forgot all about the project. But exactly six months later, 7th December 2014, a miracle happened that blew my mind.
Someone donated a piece of land to us and said God told him to give it up for an orphanage.
At the Bestspring Partners’ Dinner that month, we were able to raise some money and on 24th January 2015, the foundation of the orphanage was laid and that was when the building project commenced.
It was tough but God proved to us that this was His project.
He used some of the Board members, our friends, family and good hearted people to provide the resources. Like they say, today, the rest is history.
As Christians, what is your take on child adoption? Is it scripturally acceptable for couples to adopt, especially if they are still of child-bearing age?
Well, the Bible says we all are adopted children. Ephesians 1 verse 5 says, ‘Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will’.
Again, Romans 8 verse 15B says, ‘But ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, ‘Abba Father’.
From these, we understand that as Gentiles, we were far away from God and the commonwealth of Israel but we have been brought near and accepted into the kingdom of God through the love of Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross. In the same vein, we are to extend the love of God to others, especially those children that are vulnerable.
They need us; they need our love and care. Adoption should not only be for childless or waiting couples. Even those that are blessed with biological children should also be open to adoption.
Those children in the orphanage homes need to mingle with the society.
They should not be confined to the home, to a life of rejection and isolation. They are not outcasts and should not be treated as such.
What they need most is empathy, love and acceptance and the best way to give this is to adopt them into our lives and homes so they can grow in a happy and healthy environment as other normal children.
Some people adopt children for mischievous reasons. How do you intend to guard against such?
All adoption of children at Goshen Home will have to pass through the Ogun State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
They have the set standard for checks and balances and we intend to follow due process.
So, the government will take those interested in adoption through the various stages of tests and determine who is eligible or not.
What is your advice to government on the menace of baby factories?
It is quite disheartening that the quest for money has today become insatiable, so much so that people have completely thrown caution to the wind.
Today, even professing Christians and Muslims have turned criminals and will do anything just to be rich.
Also, the intense poverty and passion for instant gratification has made many of our youths (especially girls) to become vulnerable.
Hence they are easily deceived and lured into signing up as tools for baby factory business.
What I think government should do to nip this in the bud is to declare a state of emergency on youth empowerment as well as advocacy on girls’ reproductive rights and needs.
These should be sponsored by government at all levels to penetrate schools, communities, families, churches, mosques etc.
Also, there should be increased sensitisation and care for marginalised and out of school girls as well as alternative avenues for education and empowerment.
In addition, government should declare stiffer sanctions on culprits of such heinous acts and improve on security networks to check the practice.
How will you ensure the security of these children, especially now that kidnapping is rampant?
We are situated within an estate, so we will work hand in glove with the security network of the estate.
In addition, we will register with the nearest police station and liaise with them from time to time to partner with us in providing security.
Also, we have employed professionals as staff and we are sure they will give their best to safeguard the children against all harm.
They have also been trained on necessary checks. More importantly, we are a praying people and we trust that God will watch over us and the children and no evil will befall us at Goshen Home.
The land of Goshen in the Bible was a place of peace and plenty, a place of safety and rest from all danger.
That is what God will do for us at Goshen Home and Orphanage.
How do you source for funds?
We depend absolutely on God. He sends people to help us and provides for the children.
In our capacity as founders and board members, we also spend our personal funds.
In all, our God remains faithful. He is our Provider and we believe that we shall not lack.
What are some of the challenges of the ministry?
So many challenges I must say but basically, they are centred on cash flow and manpower.
Sometimes we are at our wits end because there is no money to do the needful, especially in terms of paying the school fees of the children but we call upon God and He makes a way where there seems to be no way.
Sometimes too, people come around as though they want to serve but they get offended and quit when they discover that here it is all about selfless service, not for personal aggrandizement.
In all, God remains our Refuge and Strength, a very Present Help in trouble. He has not failed us and will never fail.