The Rosalie Projects: Children of Courage

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Daughters of Charity, News

Lost children wandering the streets of Port Harcourt

The Centre de Marillac (Hope for Street Children) is located in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria.

It is run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who live among the poorest of the poor in the Diobu district.

“Although the booming oil industry is a financial windfall for the state government, natural disasters, mismanagement and corruption are preventing the state from developing rapidly and fighting poverty effectively.” – Sr. Josephine

More and more people are sinking into great misery: industrialization is uneven, urbanization rapid and unplanned. Oil spills into the sea have hampered fishing and other agricultural activities. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of access to justice and poor social services all contribute to family breakdown. Victims of domestic violence, parental drug addiction and unemployment, poverty and lack of education, many children abandon their homes to live on the streets.

“Some families give their children away as domestic servants in the cities, others abuse them. Many are victims of sexual abuse

“Some children are born on the streets to beggar parents, and these children give birth to other children, still on the streets. When parents die, orphaned children are forced to turn to the streets to survive. Some are not accepted by their stepfathers and stepmothers. Others are taken to the city by traffickers who promise them a better life.”

These children survive by doing all sorts of odd jobs from morning to night without eating a thing: selling pure water, sweeping up and clearing away garbage in the markets, acting as porters in markets and parking lots, selling on the sly in the streets and markets, carrying soapy water and brushes to clean car windscreens.

“When they’re not eating in rubbish dumps, they attend uninvited parties in cities and eat the leftovers of guests’ dishes. They spend the night under bridges, some settle in tunnels along freeways, others sleep in parking lots and market squares. Some of them pick pockets, steal phones and handbags.”

“Begging for food is not forgotten and, of course, prostitution of teenage girls is commonplace, all to get money.”


Project: Food aid, healthcare and schooling for the children cared for by the sisters at the MARILLAC center.

The center welcomes 95 children (70 boys and 25 girls) from the streets.


We work to ensure that these street children can move from the cold of a precarious existence on the streets to the warmth of a secure existence, under the care of responsible adults at the Center, or with a relative under the Center’s supervision or support. Some children have been reintegrated into their families, but continue to come to the center for food and schooling. Other “transients” come to the center every day to have a meal, rest and then return to the street.”

“We welcome children mainly in January and September, when they can be enrolled in school or a vocational training center. We take care of school fees, school uniforms and teaching materials.”


“In terms of nutrition, they receive a meal three times a day, as well as fruit for a balanced diet.”

From time to time, some children fall ill, others have injuries that require first aid hygiene and health care (doctor’s visit, hospitalization, medication)”

The center is making efforts to set up income-generating activities to finance the center’s needs (sale of ice blocks, hairdressing salon).

“The children have also learned to make liquid soap, hand disinfectant and Vaseline. They produce for our domestic use and sometimes sell these products to visitors eager to be of service”

“We do outreach in markets, churches, and to individuals and organizations who sometimes visit the center to bring us food and make cash donations as they are able”

But given the number of children in care, the high level of inflation and poverty in Nigeria, the income will never be enough.

“Thanks to your contribution, we will be able to continue to protect them, monitor them and meet their needs.”

Thank you so much for supporting us.