Mother Charity’s Orphanage in Lomé (Togo)
Report from 2019: Off to Togo, second time!
We (Patrick, Marc, and Max) wanted to be in Togo a whole week this time, to see and document the orphanage’s progress – and of course, to have more time for Mother Charity, the kids, and the rest of our projects. This was the plan… so that we could leave on Monday and meet Martin, a good friend and photographer, in Lomé on Wednesday. But thanks to the excellent scheduling of our airline, we had to spend another 2 days in Lisbon (missed the connecting flight), and then finally arrive all together in a plane with Martin in Lomé.
Large irritation of the customs officers when they see approximately 300 kg of donated goods distributed on 12 bags, which pile up in front of the X-ray machine. As expected, some bags are immediately pulled out, opened and checked. But as we explain to the chief of customs officials that the children’s clothes and toys are for the orphanage, a smile comes on. He finds our project great, thanks us and lets us through with the remaining bags immediately. That was the easiest customs clearance so far! Anjel and Blaise are waiting for us at the exit. They pick us up with two cars that have been checked by TÜV Süd. After 10 minutes of baggage and human Tetris, the driver skillfully launches the car somewhere behind the spray water tank and bonnet hinge. During this time, four of us were trying to open one of the 5 doors on the other vehicle. By the way, only after 3 days the first of us managed to get out of the vehicle without Togolese help.
In order to minimize the travel distances to our project destinations, Blaise and Anjel have arranged an accommodation close to Blaise’s apartment. We are welcomed by the neighbors and friends of Blaise.
After a short night, due to the limited scheduling, we immediately go to one of the most important projects of our journey. We meet Mother Charity and Christopher, the president of the Fondation Secour Universel (FSU), in their office building. The FSU is the NGO that was founded by Mother Charity in 2003, which now organizes the entire project around the orphanage.
After a very warm welcome, Mother Charity surprised us with a huge print of our Instagram selfie (we’re hip too). Now the picture of us is also in the ancestral gallery of the FSU office, yeah!
They tell us about the progress of the last year and we discuss the costs for the upcoming work. The most important steps are the completion of the electric installations and sanitary facilities on the second floor. After the meeting in the office we visit the children in the orphanage. Meanwhile, they live in the new building on the ground floor. We are excited about the extreme progress of the building and inner courtyard. The children no longer have to play around the dangers of the construction site, but have a nice, large playing area.
The shell of the second floor is currently stagnating for financial reasons. We decide to cover the costs of the upcoming work on the spot. Because of your financial donations, we are able to transfer the sum of around € 11,000. Immediately after receiving the money, the construction works will be continued by FSU and building company. This will allow the children to move into the new dormitories soon. The second floor will contain 6 bathrooms and electricity in all rooms.
Toys: Highlight for the children
The big highlight for the children are obviously the toys, which we brought! The newly built courtyard is becoming one big playground within a short time. Since we are now familiar with playing as young fathers again, we immediately joined …
Soon we will inform you about our future plans for the orphanage. A short documentation will follow as soon as possible.
Marc, Max, Pat & the Seelevel team
BTW: Thanks to Blaise and Anjel for the great time schedule in Togo. And of course a big thank you to Martin Erd, who shoot all these great photos!
- 300 kg of newborn and childrens clothing, packed in 12 large sports bags
- 3 sports bags with toys, mainly made of wood
- around 11000 € financial donation for the completion of the 2nd floor, especially for the electric installations and the sanitary area (6 bathrooms)
Thanks to Martin Erd!
Report from 2018
From the very first time Blaise told us about Mother Charity’s Orphanage in Lomé we knew we definitely wanted to visit her and her charity. We had heard great things about Mother Charity, as she calls herself. But when at last we met her, we were blown away by her charisma, the care she provides for her 59 orphans (that’s how many there were in April 2018) but above all by the passion she puts in to making the orphanage a happy place! The waves of positive energy in the air are infectious, even when you see the incredibly depressing circumstances that Mother Charity and her orphans have to battle with on a daily basis. Nevertheless we saw smiling children who respond to every word Mother Charity says. They are extremely friendly and one gets the feeling that the children are being brought up with love and care. And this impression is confirmed when one talks to the children themselves.
She creates real structure within the orphanage, and runs it meticulously, despite the fact that it currently occupies a stagnating unfinished shell of a building. Often there is no money. Luckily some land has been signed over to her, upon which the new orphanage is to be built. Its own four walls with clean, running water, a dormitory with real mattresses, perhaps even beds.
At the moment the 59 children, who range from 1 to 17 in age, sleep on the floor in two small dark rooms, one for boys, one for girls. There is just one big thin blue sports mattress which they were given some time ago. And until now the rest of the bare floors have been covered with two or three tatty old mats. One can hardly imagine how 30 children can sleep squashed up against one another in rows in a small dark room only 15 square metres big. And Mother Charity sleeps there herself too. There are numerous other things to be done such as providing regular and adequate supplies of fresh food and clean drinking water – just to mention the most urgent. We were quite definite that we want to do something here! Mother Charity is an amazing woman who has been looking after Lomé’s innumerable orphans for more than 20 years. She is motivated by what happens to the weakest of the weak. And this woman deserves our help – no ifs or buts!