A Discussion with Aminat Kikelomo Ale, General Coordinator of He Careth Mission Foundation
With: Aminat Kikelomo Ale
February 27, 2018
Background: As founder and General Coordinator for He Careth Mission Foundation, Aminat Kikelomo Ale works to provide shelter and support to orphans, widows, elderly and the homeless in Nigeria. Joseph Ayodokun a WFDD consultant, spoke with her on February 27, 2018 to learn more about the faith-inspired work being done by He Careth Mission. Born and raised a Muslim, Aminat converted to Christianity and founded He Careth Mission as an Evangelical mission, which today is comprised of eight NGOs and fourteen arms. During the conversation, Aminat discusses the services provided at He Careth’s orphanage, widows’ home and home for at-risk teenagers, as well as the ongoing challenges in efficiently running the foundation. Driven by her passion to help the most vulnerable Nigerians, Aminat hopes to eventually remove illiteracy and poverty from families through the provision of educational, housing and faith-based support.
What is your name?
I am Aminat Kikelomo Ale, an Evangelist and General Coordinator of He Careth Mission Foundation, which is made up of eight NGOs. Globally our ministry is called Field Mission Evangelical Ministries.
Can you tell me a bit about He Careth?
At He Careth, we have an orphanage home, a Shunamite home for widows, an old people’s home, and a refuge for homeless people. We have another home for abandoned and neglected teenagers. To the glory of the Lord, we feed the poor and clothe them in two-week intervals. We also give scholarships to nurseries and we run nurseries, 16 of which are in schools that I sponsor, with many of them in primary schools. We sponsor people in our teenage home to go to school and they are currently in polytechnic school and university. We started this work in 1971.
Can you tell me who founded this mission?
By His grace, I name God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the General Overseer. He called me to start this mission as the General Coordinator, coordinating all activities. I also have many coordinators under me.
For what purpose was this initially founded?
It was founded because I am passionate about people’s souls. At 9 years old, I started taking care of the old people in our area with the little pocket money that I had for school. My father discovered this within the 4 months that I started and told me that he will be my network to finance my vision, mission and passion for helping old people. So, my father funded it until I got married in 1971 when my husband and I continued it and opened other centers to help the less privileged. The whole idea is passion to help the needy, the poor, the less privileged, the motherless, and the disabled.
How big is He Careth Mission?
He Careth Mission has eight NGOs and 14 arms under Evangelical Missions. We go to villages, take things there, and minister to them; we go to African countries, take things, and minister to them. There are poor people everywhere. So, the only real orientation of the Ministry, He Careth Passion Foundation, and Field Evangelical Ministry, is that whoever comes her way for help, should be helped. That is the passion, the mission and the goal. God has never failed me since I started on the goal.
Besides the fact that you go to countries, and other states for evangelical mission, do you have an operational office outside Oyo State?
We don’t have any outside Oyo State. Our headquarters is in Ibadan here at Cocacola Sango Providence Court. That’s our Headquarters Office for the Evangelical Ministry. And He Careth Heritage Orphanage Home is the headquarters for all our eight NGO’s.
What are your goals?
My goal is that I find joy and peace in all the lives that I have helped so far, over 300 lives. I hope that the people I have helped sponsor their siblings once they graduate from higher institution. I also hope to remove illiteracy and poverty from families.
Now let’s focus on the NGOs. What activities are you engaged in? For instance, the orphanage is for the orphans and the motherless, so can you tell me briefly the activities you have been engaging in to make sure you achieve the goals that you described of reaching the poor?
For He Careth Heritage and Orphanage Home, I established it to mark my 60th birthday in 2011. Since my childhood, I have loved children and I hate to see children suffer, which is why I have many children of my own. I established it so that children whose mother had died could receive care from me. I’m praying that once I take care of the children, the widow will also be able to recover over time by knowing that the child is been taking good care of. That was the passion that I had to start here.
Our activities are centered on five foundations, starting with giving the orphans the knowledge of the Lord. All the children that are vagabonds today are a result of not having the foundation of the knowledge of God in their lives.
The second foundation is to instill good character and attitude within them as they are growing. The first four years of a child’s life are very important for teaching them about future character and attitude in order to show good manners, good characters in love, and good direction. The children are improving, so it makes me glad that we started this work.
The third foundation is to give them a Godly and neat environment. If you see our environment, everywhere is neat. When a child grows in an environment like this, it helps them mentally so they grow to be good, to be nice, to be joyful and to grow with wisdom so that they can excel.
The fourth foundation is to give them academic scholarship. They start in nursery school right from age two and God has been helping us.
The fifth foundation, which is the most important, is that we give them the love they could have missed with their mother and their father. Our home is homey, and all our children are happy in the home. I take joy in seeing them joyful to the glory of the most high.
What part of the population do you minister to in all your NGOs?
We minister to children, to toddlers, and to adolescents in the Careth Heritage Orphanage Home. In our abandoned teenage home, we minister to teenagers. In our refuge and homeless home, we minister to youth and adult youth. And in our Shunamites Widows Home, we minister to the widows whose husbands died and the families of the husbands that are giving them problems. We resettle them and we sponsor some of their children. In our Senior Citizens Comfort Home, we minister to old people that are neglected by their children because their children are also poor. Some are jobless, some don’t have money, and some cannot even care for their own family. So, we take their father and mother from them in order to care of them.
Why do you do this work?
I have a passion for people. I hate to see people suffering. I hate to see people crying. I hate to see people needing help when nobody is there to help them. I hate to see people striving, tolling and struggling unnecessarily when somebody can just put laughter in the mouth of such people. The cries of the needy and helpless always touch my heart. So, I love to give hope to the hopeless. I love to rescue the perishing and truncated destinies. I love to put laughter and joy in the heart of the less privileged. And I love to help them achieve the purpose of existence to the glory of God.
How does your faith in God motivate this work?
I was born a Muslim and I grew up Muslim, but I received the Lord Jesus Christ in 1984. I continue in what I’ve been doing and I now realize that even the Bible stresses more help to the fatherless and the widows. Like James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled is this to take care of the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.” I read it a lot in the Bible that Jesus came to give and give and give and He gave His life. If Jesus can give His life and I cannot give my own life, what is left for me to do is to give my life to help in the ministry. I have been doing it and I give God praise.
In doing this work, you work with eight different NGOs for people at differing stages of their lives and in different categories. Can you tell me, how much your faith in God informs your multi-dimensional approach?
I have total faith in God. For example, this morning when I was reading my Bible, I thought about the salaries I pay every month. I don’t lose sleep because I trust totally in God for all my financial needs. I’ve seen God be faithful though I will cry onto Him because my pension is my capital.
I was an administrator at the University of Ibadan for 20 years. I retired in 1992, so I have not been on salary since then. So, I put together my pension and what all my married children give to me as my feeding allowances, as well as any gift I receive by the grace of God, though it may be small. I cry to God when it’s not enough to minister to my children and I ask others not to see me as a liability to them, but to see it as helping the ministry. So, they too help me out and that’s how I pay the salaries and the maintenance.
The people that visit us also bring things like biscuits, beverages, toilet rolls and other things. Most of them say they don’t trust their money in people’s hands, which is true, I don’t trust my money in people’s hands. Nigeria, may God change us. Amen.
How can you say your own faith has informed this work so far?
It has informed this work because I always hear God telling me, you don’t need to worry about this work or your work tomorrow because I’m already there. And the second thing he calls out is that those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything. So, the words have been pushing me on.
But we are still having many challenges as of late. Any money that comes in, I prioritize towards paying others, although I always think of many other things we could have done. For example, our bus is now 15-years-old and we need a change, but we have no money to buy it. We need more houses for extension of this work, but we have no money to build them. And I’ve been praying that God will give me people who will be paying staff salaries for us.
How and where do you get your funding?
My funding comes from my monthly pension that I signed into the work. My funding also comes from my children, specifically the feeding allowances that they give to me because I’m a widow. My husband has been a helper of destiny since he passed on 11 years ago. And my funding is also in any gift anybody gives to me occasionally.
Do you have regular partners that partake in the funding?
No regular partners, but I live by faith. People just come in. Our board of trustee helps me because some of them are my children.
Did you used to partner with people in this work?
I have not done partnerships. I partner with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, who called me.
What do you think will make your work more effective besides funding?
I want to make it more effective. You cannot overlook the material, the supply, houses, buses we need to improve on the work and to enlarge it. What I think will help is better orientation to people that can help others spiritually, financially, materially, and even mentally, in the sense that they can help us to see the physical manifestation of their commitment and dedication. It helps me mentally as I strive, struggle, and toll. So, I just believe that faith in God is the most important thing.
What will make it effective is commitment, love and dedication. For me, I have made the work my life. I make it passion work, mission work, evangelical work; I have made it my life. I have totally dedicated my life to it. What makes it effective is when we have workers that have an interest in the work not just because of salaries but because it benefits them. So, I pray for good workers who are dedicated and committed.
How do you get staff to be as passionate about the vision as you are?
Through frequent training about the care, commitment, dedication, and interest, which is above the salary. I haven’t had a salary since 1992, but I’m happy with what I’m doing. Money taken as salary is not all the benefit, but rather if you go beyond the level you think you can go, God Himself will bless you and bless the money. So, we provide orientation about that, and about the care of the children, and God is helping us.
What are strategies you use in managing different people with different backgrounds?
I introduce Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to them. Every Sunday everybody in our homes meet together to bring forward our burden as a family in the Church, and every Tuesday and Wednesday. Not all of them come during the week because some go to school, some go to work, so it’s only a few that come that are doing retail trade or learning sewing or fashion design. Those that cannot come are excused, but Sunday is mandatory that they all come together to show the love of Christ, who is doing this for us, and to preach to each other to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is when they establish themselves in the kingdom of God, and display Christ-like character, attitude and action. They see me as their mama who cherishes them and blesses them. They pray together in their homes in the morning and evening before going to carry out their duty.
What are you doing concerning internal capacity building?
I studied Business Administration and Human Relations. We also have administrators. We have a head matron, coordinators in each home, managers, caregivers and drivers. Apart from that, we sponsor the children to go to private school, and we have teachers among them who help them at home.
Have you ever tried to access grants?
No, I’ve never done that. I’m just looking on to God. One or two people about 20 years ago talked about grants. I put in a grant request in 1998 and I didn’t see any response. I didn’t put in for any grant requests since.
In conclusion, is there any information that cut across the eight NGOs that you operate in regards to faith?
In general, whoever trusts in God can never fail when God is the one that calls you to do the work. But if you call yourself for any other gain, either financial gain or material, God’s hand will not be there. When it’s a commitment to passion, and you make it your vision and mission, and God ordained it and you have that love, the passion will give you the love for the needy, less privileged or the homeless or any of this that I’m doing. I do the work with all of my life because I know I will give an account of my stewardship when I get to heaven. So, I do everything with accountability, records, commitment and dedication. I’m happy with God on our side, so the little I can do, I am doing.