Politics and philanthropic acts are two different phenomena, however walking through the two lanes as a political character in a Nigerian state is a difficult task.
This is the story of ‘The Okorochas’, Imo state governor; Rochas Okorocha, Imo state First Lady; Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha and their daughter; Uloma Rochas Nwosu.
Though they have had their fair share of criticism as political characters in the country, it has not deterred them from showing their ‘Love For The Less Privilege’.
While Governor Okorocha has been running the ‘Rochas Foundation Incorporated’ for over a decade now, his wife, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, a compassionate woman of distinction, whose love for the downtrodden in the society is second to none, has great passion for the welfare of the family and that informed her establishment of the Women of Divine Destiny Initiative (WODDI) , a project which has been in existence long before she became Imo State First Lady, similarly, Uloma Rochas Nwosu, their daughter has followed suit as she recently launched her foundation, the ‘Elfreeda Foundation’. The Elfreeda Foundation is based on four cardinal ideologies which are; Shelter, Thrift store, Food stores and Resource center.
Like the words of Mark Twain, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. A peep into the Okorocha’s family shows that the deaf cannot only hear their kindness but the blind can also see the love that this family have got for the less privileged.
GOVERNOR ROCHAS OKOROCHA AND HIS FOUNDATION
In 1998, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha founded the Rochas Foundation Incorporated with the activities of the foundation spanning the key areas of Education, Economic Empowerment, Health and Social Responsibilities.
Rochas Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit and non-political organization, with a firm commitment to serve humanity and build a credible future for Africa by ensuring every less privileged child has access to comprehensive and qualitative education.
Apparently displeased with the fact that millions of African Children are not going to school due to poverty and also propelled by the difficulties he faced in going to school as a child owing to poverty, Governor Okorocha established the Rochas Foundation to take the children of the poorest of the poor off the streets and open the classroom doors to them for a better future.
Since its inception, the Foundation has planted smiles on many faces. The foundation as of today boasts of a roll call of over 13,000 children receiving free education in secondary schools across Owerri, Jos, Ibadan, Kano, Zaria, Bauchi, Yola, Sokoto, and Enugu.
The Rochas Foundation College(s) (RFC) started with the establishment of the RFC Owerri in 2001, and today has colleges in Jos, Gboko, Ibadan, Kano, Zaria, and Adamawa.
The colleges operate the Nigerian basic school curriculum. Apart from the over 12 subjects of choice taught at the Colleges, Rochas Foundation also empowers her students with non-academic skills in sports, music, communication, sewing, arts, craft among others.
The foundation currently caters for the education of over 13,000 less privileged children with about 3,000 of them graduates and undergraduates from different universities across the world; providing them with free tuition, books, uniforms, feeding, Medicaid, boarding facilities in some special cases, as well as monthly allowances.
In 2007 some of the kids had the opportunity to attend Summer Camp in the United States. Apart from the kids, the Pioneer Staff of all Rochas Foundation Colleges nationwide have also benefitted from the kind gesture of Mr. Okorocha.
December 2016, Mr. Okorocha fulfilled his promise to give cars to the Pioneer Staff of all Rochas Foundation Colleges Nationwide.
The cars were presented to 13 pioneer staff RFC Owerri and Gboko (8 from RFC Owerri, 5 from RFC Gboko) by Dr. Bunmi Babs, Churchill Utazi, and the Head Office Staff.
Rochas Okorocha has affected lives in the education sector, health sector and has also empowered many economically. This indeed shows that his love for the less privilege knows no bound.
FIRST LADY, NNEOMA NKECHI OKOROCHA AND HER SELFLESS SERVICE TO HUMANITY
Like her husband, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha is a known philanthropist who carried out several philanthropic acts before she got married to Mr. Okorocha.
Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha is the Vice President of Rochas Foundation Incorporated which comprises Rochas Foundation Colleges, spread across the nation in Ogboko in Ideato South of Imo State, Owerri in Imo State, Jos in Plateau state, Ibadan in Oyo state, Zaria in Kaduna state, Bauchi, Yola in Adamawa and Kano state.
Though she started the Women of Divine Destiny Initiative (WODDI), before she became Imo State First Lady, Mrs. Okorocha expanded the scope of WODDI, which now has other initiatives such as:
- She Needs A Roof Project (SNARP)
- Skills Acquisition Center
- Nneoma Campus Summit
- Nneoma Kitchen
- Leadership Forum
- Monthly Prayer Meeting
- Girl Child Summit
- Nneoma Schools Stopover Programme
- NneomaFit For Life
- Nneoma Women Empowerment Programs
- August Meetings,
- Health Programmes et al.
The Imo State First Lady has wiped off tears from the faces of many indigent widows and orphans through her WODDI initiative: “She Needs A Roof Project” (SNARP) which provides homes for poor indigent widows and orphans. The initiative has also built, furnished and handed over One hundred and Seventy-Two (172) Bedroom bungalows to the beneficiaries of the initiative at no cost.
Like her WODDI initiative: “She Needs A Roof Project” (SNARP), the Imo State First Lady initiated: The Girl Child Education Summit, and also the Leadership Forum for all prefects in public and private schools in Imo state and Nneoma Campus Summit to equip students for the future.
Mrs. Okorocha has also shown that skills acquisition is another angle she does not joke with apart from education. To prove this, she built Skills Acquisition Centres in each of the senatorial zones of the state; in Orlu LGA for Orlu zone, Ihitte Uboma LGA for Okigwe zone and also in Owerri North LGA for Owerri zone. The projects are targeted at ensuring that people acquire skills that will make them self-reliant.
The First Lady also established the Nneoma Kitchen Initiative which consists of a mobile kitchen. Through her Nneoma Kitchen, she reaches out to the prisons, orphanages and any other indigent clusters in order to feed and bring assistance to them.
In addition to this, she has empowered many people most of whom are indigent women by providing them with sewing machines, hair dryers and revolving free capital.
Would all these good works have gone unnoticed? the answer is NO! has her good works have attracted encomiums as she is a recipient of both national and international awards among which are:
- International Inner Wheel Award of Excellence …2009
- Evangelistic First lady, Women Ministries of Assemblies of God, Owerri District. …2011
- Virtuous mother of St. Mulumba’s Catholic Parish, Owerri … 2011
- Matron of the International Prison Chaplaincy Association of Nigeria …2012
- Matron of Pyrantrin Kids Club … 2011
- Net Ambassador by the Federal Ministry of Health and Carter Centre, USA …2012
- Award of Excellence as the Light of Women in Nigeria, Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) 2013,
- Award of Most valuable First Lady, South East Zone 2014
- Award of Excellence to the Matriarch of New Imo by Imo State House of Assembly 8th House 2016
- Award of Excellence and Quality Leadership by Voice of Evangelism International Houston Texas, USA.
- Chairman Imo State Amnesty Committee ….2016.
- Outstanding Fellowship award by Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN) …2016
- Diamond Award from Nigerian Union of Petrol and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)
- Ambassador of Hope Award by Association of Nigerian Academic Doctors (ANWAD).
ULOMA ROCHAS NWOSU AND HER FOUNDATION
Just like the idiomatic expression”the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree“, Uloma the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Okorocha, the Governor and First Lady of Imo state, has shown that she is not only the first daughter of Imo state but also a great philanthropist.
While her father is the founder of ‘Rochas Foundation Incorporated which has been in existence since 1998, her mother runs Women of Divine Destiny Initiative (WODDI), “She Needs A Roof Project” (SNARP) and many other humanitarian projects.
Like her parents, Uloma launched her foundation, the ‘Elfreeda Foundation’ on August 11, 2017, in Owerri, the Imo state capital, southern Nigeria, which ALEDEH reported.
The vision of the foundation is ” to create a safe haven where homeless women and children in the society find stability and help rebuild their lives”.
Elfreeda Foundation intends to provide a 100-bed temporary facility where homeless women and children are welcomed to and cared for.
According to the foundation, the homeless women and children can stay for the night or for a maximum of 30 days, where they will be provided with a bed and a meal a day, noting that the shelter is open daily from the hours of 6:00 pm and closes at 9:00 am.
Like the saying: “A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed“, truly the Okorochas remain a friend indeed to the Imo state people and every other person that has been affected by their philanthropic acts.
As Elfreeda clocks a month old after its official opening, ALEDEH recognizes the Okorochas: [Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, Imo state First Lady, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha and their daughter, Uloma Nwosu for their selfless service to humanity.