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Bristow Employees Serve the Orphans of Ijamido Children’s Home in Nigeria

December 17, 2015

Bristow employees at Nigeria have taken on the Ijamido Children's Home as a project, performing work on the home's facility and collecting funds for the children.

The home, which currently houses 176 children, is located in a congested area near Lagos, Nigeria, and consists of three buildings – with one house for the boys and one for the girls. The third building contains a school area for the young children and rooms for the volunteers who monitor the children.

Most volunteers are former orphans from the home. They understand how important it is for the home to remain open, and are willing to do the work to ensure it stays operational.

Since the Bristow team was made aware of the home, the engineers and pilots have held several fundraisers to support the children. The team also participates in speaking engagements in their local communities around the world during time off to help raise additional funds to meet goals.

"These kids are in this position by no fault of their own, and that makes it an easy decision for people to contribute to their cause," said Bristow Engineering Superintendent Mike Jenkins, who helps lead efforts for the home. "The unpredictable schedules and workloads of the pilots and engineers – as well as logistical difficulties – make it difficult to plan hands-on work, but we can start a pot of gumbo or chili, or a barbecue at the drop of a hat for an impromptu fund raiser."

In addition to donating and collecting funds to improve the facility, pay school fees, provide shoes for all the students, and send food supplies when needed, employees have rolled up their sleeves and put in the work to make the home better. Facility improvements include refurbishment of the bathrooms and showers, updating the drainage and cooking, and installing a washing area to aid in cleaning clothes.

"Ijamado does a great job caring and advocating for the children in their home," said Bristow Engineering Training Manager Chris Ruggiano, who also helps lead efforts for the home. "It is my privilege to contribute to their efforts. Giving has never felt so good."

Several of the children at the home have visited the Bristow hangar complex, and are now aspiring to become pilots and engineers. This has inspired many of the children to study harder in school in order to be academically eligible to apply for one of the many Bristow Academy scholarships when they are older.

"I feel it's our responsibility to ensure orphans have the same opportunities as other children, including the love of family and to witness compassion," said Bristow Project Engineer David Moore, who led the efforts during his time in Nigeria.