Nigerian High Commissioner applauds Sir Emeka Offor Foundation’s education initiative

 

 

 

The Education Initiative by the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, a Nigerian based non-governmental, not for profit charity organization, to stamp out illiteracy and promote learning across the continent of Africa, particularly in the hard to reach communities, was extended to Bagamoyo, Tanzania, recently where over 1500 students representing six secondary schools gathered to receive over 22,000 academic books shipped to the region in partnership with Books For Africa, a US based NGO.

A similar effort, the foundation says has been extended to about 19 other African countries including Nigeria. Since 2010, the Foundation has distributed over $18 million worth of books and computers to school libraries in the continent, according to its founder, Sir Emeka Offor.

“Education opens the door for Africa’s development and we are proud to support this cause. Without education, people cannot create their own solution.” My Foundation believes in that and that is why we are working hard to ensure that every child within our reach in Africa have the opportunity to read and write, “ continued Sir Offor. He said the Foundation has a similar ongoing partnership with other international NGOs like The Carter Center for the elimination of River Blindness in the southeast of Nigeria as well as long standing joint effort with Rotary International to end polio endemicity in Nigeria and the rest of the world.

 

The Nigerian High Commissioner to Tanzania, His Excellency Ambassador Dr Ishaya Samaila Majanbu who was present, applauded Sir Offor and the Foundation for the exemplary act of altruism and support of academic enlightenment amongst Africans. He noted that such philanthropic gestures by the Foundation ought to be emulated by other privileged Africans.

 

Tom Worth, founder of Books For Africa, who was represented by Anthony Nyeshire, Nianjema Secondary School headmaster, stated that Sir Emeka Offor has “enabled us to send over two million books to the students of Africa.” He said, “This generous Nigerian’s charitable activities are an example to us all. It is with his help and the help of others like him that we are working towards our goal of ending the African Book Famine. Clearly, Sir Emeka Offor-by thinking big and funding large-scale book projects-is leading the way!”

 

Sir Emeka Offor Foundation and Books For Africa (BFA) Donate 20,000 Books to Tanzania Schools

 

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Sir Emeka Offor Foundation and Books For Africa (BFA) Donate 20,000 Books to Tanzania Schools

Over $18 million worth of books and computers have reached African schools through the support of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation since 2010

 

ABUJA, NIGERIA, March 12, 2015 The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), a non-governmental, philanthropic organization focused on youth employment, widows cooperative, education, healthcare and infrastructural development, is set to deliver a total of 20,000 academic books to five secondary schools, plus a University and a Primary school, in the Bagamoyo region of Tanzania. A celebration of the donation of books is scheduled tomorrow morning. The initiative is part of its continuing effort to promote literacy in the continent of Africa. UNICEF reports Tanzania’s total adult literacy rate is 67.8 percent.

 

Since 2010, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation has partnered with Books For Africa, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, to fight illiteracy and promote education. Their combined efforts are aimed at ensuring African schools and libraries – including those in hard to reach communities – are sufficiently equipped with reading materials.

 

“Our partnership with Books For Africa is paying great dividends and I am happy that we can help provide access to books for as many children as possible in our continent,” said Sir Emeka Offor. “Without education, people cannot create their own solution.”

 

So far, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation has underwritten the shipment of more than 73 40-foot containers of books and computers to approximately 19 African countries, including Nigeria and Tanzania. The estimated financial value for this logistical effort is estimated at $18 Million. 

 

“Over 99 percent of schools in Tanzania have inadequate or non-existent libraries, which are an essential asset of a school, so we are using the donated books to open a doorway that provides students a chance to explore knowledge,” said Charles W. Sloan, Jr., the Manager of Nianjema Secondary School. “The impact of this donation on the lives of these students is immense. It is wonderful that someone from the other side of the African continent can use his time and money to help others so far away in such a dramatic way.” 

 

Getting books to some regions in Africa can be fraught with logistical challenges along the delivery route, particularly when it comes to security and hazardous roads. A successful delivery is often a cause for celebration for schools and communities.

 

“Our school libraries are really lacking books, so this is big for us,” said Mr. Sloan.

 

Books For Africa relies on the generosity of donors, young and old, business entities and publishers who flood their massive warehouse in Atlanta with books that cover all areas and levels of education. In addition, Books For Africa depends on their growing volunteer team to effectively sort and repackage donated materials for onward distribution to African countries. According to Books For Africa, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is the single largest independent African donor to their organization since the organization’s inception.

 

About the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the sufferings of the less privileged through philanthropy, and focuses primarily on giving support and hope to those in need irrespective of tribe, creed, religion and nation. The Foundation has affected the lives of many Nigerians through its domestic programs and projects, which include youth empowerment, Widows Cooperative, education, and health services and infrastructural development. For more information, visit http://sireofforfoundation.org or like us at https://www.facebook.com/siremekaofforfoundation.

 

 

 

 

Person of the Year: The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation

 

 

Globally, a number of corporate organisations, governmental or non-governmental bodies, apolitical groups, religious bodies to mention a few bestow awards at the end of the year on deserving individuals, personalities or icons who have in no small measure impacted positively their immediate community, society or the world at large. The impacts these personalities exude, either in terms of promoting moral principles, innovative tendencies, pursuing social and human justice among others, makes them not only an epitome of pride but also persons worthy of emulation among a section of the populace. It is therefore, not surprising that President Barack Obama, both in 2008 and 2012, was selected Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (known previously as Man of the Year until 1999). Another award three years back would also make him the “Most Admired Man in the World” for six consecutive years (2008-2013).

What do we understand by the term Man/Person of the Year? According to Time magazine, it is a yearly award that highlights and profiles a person, group, idea or object who has positively or otherwise acted in many ways to influence the course of the year’s event. It is simply regarded, or spoken of, as a form of honour, award or prize bestowed on “subjects” or “objects” admired by people for their impacts. While Time’s conception is not to be endorsed wholly, after all, the Hasty Pudding Man of the Year bestows award to members of the Hasting Pudding Theatricals society who have made “lasting and impressive contribution” to the entertainment world and the Silverbird Man of the Year awards “a Nigerian…perceived to have positively affected the lives of Nigerians the most,” both, if not all, pursues almost a similar objective or aim—to honour someone or something that has impacted humanity throughout a year.

This therefore, takes us to my own Man/Person of the Year. The year 2014 for many Nigerians rounded off with lots of mixed feelings. Apart from those known challenges, it was a year that was perceived with mixed feelings. Despite the challenges 2014 brought, this writer make bold to say that we have every reason as a people to be appreciative. Not many countries in this part of the world would have faced half of what Nigeria faces on a daily basis and live to tell the tale. When we look at Somalia and its failure to form a stable government since the 90s or Southern Sudan, Libya and a host of others whom continually face civil strife and internal divisions, Nigerian would better appreciate their current challenges which this writer believes is surmountable.

When we talk of challenges, this writer sees it in terms of everyday human challenges. It is one of the fundamental problems Third World countries face daily. Poverty, unemployment, civil strife among others remains some of the challenges these countries continue to grapple with. In Nigeria for example, we are faced with insecurity, unemployment, lack of human empowerment etc. It seems that the Nigerian state has neglected its vey constituency, the people, and so not many think the impact of the government has been felt on them. This is where non-governmental agencies (NGOs) come in. A fact remains that government cannot do it all, and so these (NGOs) come to play a complementary role to assist government in its human development objectives. This is where the Sir Emek Offor Foundation (SEOF) comes in. Formed in the early 1990s by its highly ebullient and charismatic founder Sir Emeka Offor, the Foundation in the last two decades has been in the forefront of championing human capacity development, provision of skills acquisition, youth empowerment, widows cooperative, health services, educational grants and infrastructural development programmes. Through the Foundation’s support for small and medium enterprises, a significant number of lives have been touched positively.

The SEOF is not only one of the most outstanding Foundations in Nigeria in terms of how much it places value on human development, it is well respected for its important partnerships with international organisations and institutions whose core objectives are in tandem with SEOF’s own core values — empowerment and human sustainable development.

In the last couple of years, SEOF has taken its international partnership to a remarkable whole new level which for many marked a turning point in the history of human philanthropy and social responsibility in contemporary Nigeria. First, the founder Sir Offor felt the need to throw his weight behind the fight against polio, a disease which until now placed Nigeria as one of the three polio endemic countries in the world, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. Polio as we all know cripples the legs and places a heavy socio-economic burden not only on the individual and family but also the state. Its effect is better imagined than felt. Nigeria’s polio endemic status was so alarming that it had to take the intervention of stakeholders to begin a process that will reduce the country’s endemicity. Starting from 2013, the SEOF went into a bold multi-year partnership with Rotary International. That year in Lisbon, Portugal, a grand donation of $1.3 million was made by the SEOF as part of its commitment to the END POLIO NOW. This donation was made after an earlier donation of $250,000 which Rotary had applied immediately to the on-going efforts in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.   

This commitment did not however stop there; the Foundation also presented another donation of $1 million last year to Rotary International PolioPlus campaign to provide resources that support polio immunization efforts both in Nigeria and globally. This totalled $3.1 million, marching the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2 for 1, bringing the total to $9.3 million. The SEOF and Nigeria’s strong will and determination to end Polio will see it declared Polio free by the United Nations later this year.

For reasons that may or may not be identifiable, education on the continent has been poorly funded, utterly disregarded and in the process has adversely affected literacy levels among students. The situation is so grim that most schools in Africa do not have libraries and even when they do, are not adequately equipped. Understanding the value of education and borrowing from Peter Drucker’s statement that “Knowledge is the only meaningful resource today,” the SEOF as part of its core objectives champions the cause of education in Africa through its partnership with Books for Africa (BFA). Based in the USA, the partnership between the BFA and SEOF has seen shipments of books, desk and laptops and other educational materials to rural kindergarten, primary and secondary schools and local public libraries, including reference books like encyclopaedias across Africa. University libraries too receive books from the liberal arts, sciences, jurisprudential book volumes for law libraries and other specialised books which cover all areas of business administration. Interestingly, these books are not only new but also current while others are minimally used.

Since the initiation of the partnership in 2010, the SEOF has funded the shipment of over 73 containers of books to some of the most educationally disadvantaged countries in Africa, including Chad, South Sudan, Niger, The Gambia, Somalia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia to mention a few. Nigeria alone has received sixteen containers of books delivered to libraries across the regions, making it the largest recipient country. Between 2010 and now, the SEOF have successfully provided the delivery of about 1.7 million books and computers worth more than $18 million to 19 African countries. The “one book, one child at a time” strategy has been a highly successful one and a testament of SEOF’s resolve to pursue an aggressive literacy and education campaign for the current generation. SEOF today remains the single largest independent donor to the BFA since its inception.

Understanding that youths are leaders of the future, the SEOF has placed much priority on the youth through its Youth Empowerment schemes. The Foundation empowers youths through provision of loans and micro-finance grants to low income earners and highly industrious persons. All these are basically done to engage youths in more productive ventures and help them to be independent. The motorcycle transit venture is one of the many programmes aimed at helping the youths to plan and manage their businesses. Remarkably, a high number of youths have been able to expand through this, venturing into commercial bus enterprise. This has not only brought additional employment to others, over 500 young minds have been touched and have success stories to tell of how a single, yet simple gift can grow ideas.

Aside the above, the SEOF supports people with disabilities through sponsorships to local and international sporting events. The 2014 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire England was one of those where Nigerian Paralympian Emmanuel Godwin who participated in the weightlifting category won Gold at the event, doing both the country and the SEOF proud.

One could go on and on but significantly, it must be noted that the local and international partnerships and collaborations SEOF engages with a number of reputable local and international organisations are very key to its philanthropic core objective which is humanity first. This is done basically to help build bridges, cement hopes and transform lives at all times. Our world today must revolve around removing people from poverty and helping to sustain their human needs. We need to understand that human development policies or strategies are the first and last steps to providing human needs without which crisis may set in. For the SEOF, its capacity to fulfil a significant number of our human challenges over the years represents a right step in the right direction of a purposeful human development strategy. It is only when people feel disconnected from their society and immediate environment that they begin to show deviance, a sign that crisis is about to happen. Nations must begin to invest heavily on people rather than on weapons and other less important issues.  

From the above, one would agree with this writer that the SEOF deserves a stellar award for championing the cause of humanity in so many ways. Not many philanthropic organisations today in Nigeria have done so much in terms of how deeply and positively they affect human lives. The SEOF continues to be a pointer to how private philanthropic organisations can effect dramatic changes in highly disadvantaged societies. No doubt, when the history of polio eradication, literacy and education advancement, youth and widows empowerment among other human development programmes are mentioned in Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation will really be part of that history. It is therefore, why this writer bestows the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation with the Person of the Year award. It is already etched in stone and its imprints are now felt on the sands of time.

 

Raheem Oluwafunminiyi wrote via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Scholarship Awards: SEOF Calls for Applications

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) is calling for applications for its 2014/2015 scholarship awards. Below is the announcement, and a link to download the application form

 

 SEOF Scholarship Announcement

 

Click on this link to download the Application form: SEOF Sccholarship Form

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