By Isiaq N. Oluwamayowa

The Rotaract Club of Medilag Golden in partnership with Origami Society Nigeria organised a maternal and child health project in commemoration of children’s day on 25th May, 2022.

Children are a very essential population of the society. Their growth not only depends on their physical and social needs but also on their psychological needs. This is because the aim is to groom a new generation of capable and brilliant-minded individuals who can take us further in advancement than we can imagine.

Perhaps this is the vision with which the Rotaract Club of Medilag Golden and the Origami Society of Nigeria decided to focus on a theme centred on Origami in Health for Children in Cancer and Other Paediatric Wards in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). This specific theme goes hand in hand with this year’s children’s day theme “investing in our future means investing in our children.”

Although there has been a rise in mental health awareness, especially among young adults and those in medical schools. Lately, little attention is usually paid to that of children, especially in this part of the world.

Children are often marginalised as the health care system seems to be in a dilapidated state.  According to the president of the Rotaract Club of Medilag Golden, Rtr. Princewill Onyekah, this led to their new initiative. The idea was to find ways to help children in hospitals with wellness which eventually led to the discovery of origami. The project director of the Rotaract Club of Medilag Golden, Rtr. Somtochukwu Mbama said they got to contact the President of the Origami Society of Nigeria, Oluwatobi Shodimu about their idea which led to the birth of their partnership. There were virtual sessions with the Origami Society Nigeria for Rotaract members to get acquainted with the concepts of origami. 

Origami, derived from a Japanese word, means folding of paper. It is about using paper as a form of art to communicate to an audience.

Dr John Adenle, one of the facilitators of the program with the Origami Society of Nigeria stated clearly that origami is one of the easiest forms of craft since it is made of paper and paper can be can easily be gotten from anywhere. Origami is used in health to engage participants as a way of expressing themselves and therefore the opportunity for patients going through difficult thoughts or emotions to express it all on paper. This is an opportunity to showcase or improve their creative side and also bring them a sense of calm afterwards. He also stated that origami is used across all age ranges and not just for children as it has also been used in old people’s homes, churches, and even prisons as it helps create a form of happiness among participants.

The children in the paediatric wards were taught how to make several forms of craft from learning how to make paper planes to different ways to make a heart shape and also a ninja star using coloured paper. After all these fun activities with the children and their parents, the Rotaract Club also distributed some gift packages among the children to put a bigger smile on their faces.

In addition, all the parents were appreciative and thanked the organizers with much joy in their hearts. Among the several mothers present, a particular mother with her baby in the ward was most especially grateful as she shared a little more about how she felt. She said she was extremely happy when she saw the origami crafts and was fascinated to learn how to make some of those 3-D designs herself just with paper. She went further to describe how it made her think of good times and less about her current situation and health issues as she had experienced a time with a mental health condition.

Ultimately, the whole event was a very colourful and engaging one in which members of the Rotaract Club of Medilag Golden and the Origami Society Nigeria were happy to see this long expected project come out successfully as their aim of making the children happy had been met and the positive responses of both the children and parents went beyond their expectations.

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