By Idris Akinbajo
March 23, 2010 12:10AM
Orphanage kids get sports gift as israel idonije teaches the kids basics of American football. Photo: IDRIS AKINBAJO

Over thirty kids from different orphanages were on Sunday, presented with sports wears including boots, jerseys, and gloves by the Israel Idonije Foundation (IIF).

The event, held at the playground of the American International School, Abuja, saw children between the ages of 3 and 17 receive gifts and also partake in soccer and American football training session with Israel Idonije, after which they had food and drinks.

Idonije, a native of Edo State, is a footballer with the Chicago Bears of the United States, where he plays the defensive lineman position.

The footballer, who wears the number 71 jersey for the Chicago Bears, said that there are about 40 Nigerians in the National Football League in the US. To him, 'everybody has a talent; our goal is to help them understand that.' He stated that he established the foundation three years ago in order to assist the less privileged in the society.

Natalie Boe, the executive director of the foundation said, 'we hope to hopefully empower these young children at the local orphanages to reach for their goals, to feel that they have a future, and to know that people care for them all over the world.' Boe revealed that the foundation organises an annual C.A.R.E. Africa trip. 'This third annual trip includes four rural medical clinics, two sports camps including soccer and American football, and water wells.' The bore holes, three of them, NEXT learnt, are in Emure-Ekiti, Ekiti State, while two of the three medical clinics the foundation is partnering with are in Bwari and Kuje, in Abuja; the third one is in Ode-Remo, Ogun State.

'It is about improving the quality of life. Our physicians – 6 doctors and 5 nurses – are able to treat acute medical ailments. They work a lot with pediatrics, new born babies and mothers. They treat hypertension, and improve the quality of life.

The coordinator of Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care, Nuhu Kwaja, who spoke on behalf of seventeen Abuja-based orphanages, commended Idonije and the foundation for such a programme.