MY UNN STORY AND THE BIRTH OF WE-CARE WITHOUT BORDERS by EBUKA OBI
Intro by Edith Ohaja
Many of us have glowing ideas and laudable intentions of how we can serve others and make a positive difference in society. But we don’t often implement those ideas because we are afraid we might fail or we feel we lack the resources to even begin. Many times, we don’t realise that around us might be everything we need to actualise those noble intentions if we can just share our vision with the right people. That is why I asked Super-Jacksonite* Ebuka Obi to share with us the story of how he started his charity called We-Care Without Borders Foundation. Ebuka’s story is inspiring and enriching as I believe that much of our worth as human beings comes from the good we allow God to use us to do.
A big bouquet of thanks to Ebuka for taking time out of his busy schedule to bless us with this story. May God enlarge his coast on every side and expand his humanitarian activities in Jesus’ name.
MY UNN STORY AND THE BIRTH OF WE-CARE WITHOUT BORDERS by EBUKA OBI
Memories of the Lion’s Den
I gained admission into the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2007 to study Mass Communication. I was quite fortunate to have a wonderful set of classmates and in no distant time, I had turned many of them into friends. Before I gained admission, my desire was to study my books, shun school politics or social activities and ensure that I leave the Den, as UNN is called, with an awesome grade, but life happened along the way. I found myself swimming in the ocean of school politics and became more social than I could imagine.
During my second year in school, I was elected Member of the House of Representatives, Students’ Union Government (SUG). At the same time, I was the President of Aguata Students’ Union, UNN; the General Leader of Christ Church Chapel Sunday School Department amongst other tasking positions. In view of these roles, to be able to cope with the academic burden that was upon me, I dedicated 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. as my study time, at least during weekdays. This actually helped me to cope with the academic pressure and keep my grades up.
UNN wasn’t really a new environment to me. I grew up practically inside the Den of Lions and Lionesses. My parents are UNN Staff. My primary school was the UNN Staff School while my secondary school was the University of Nigeria Secondary School, so I was quite at home. However, most of my classmates didn’t know that I was a staff kid. I hid it from many except those who were quite close to me. In fact, I told some of them who insisted on visiting where I lived that I was squatting in my uncle’s house. Funny enough, they became confused whenever they saw me driving my so-called uncle’s cars.
You might be wondering why I did this. I figured that if the lecturers and students knew that you were a staff kid, a lot of attention might be focused on you and if your parents happened to be the troublesome type, then you could expect some revenge grades in your results from some iniquitous lecturers. So I never allowed any of our departmental lecturers to know my ‘staff kid’ status except one that already knew my parents before I enrolled into the department. I wasn’t certain that I would be victimised as I feared, but I didn’t want to take any chances.
It was also during my undergraduate days that I came to know Aunty Edith Ohaja from afar. She was my lecturer, always smiling, very friendly, beautifully beautiful but yet, quite strict! I just loved her personality. In fact, I still can’t easily forget ‘cliché’, ‘leapfrogging’ and other terms we learnt from her. It wasn’t until I came back to the department for my Master’s degree programme and as Class Representative of my post-graduate class that I got closer to this very amiable lecturer. She indeed plays a motherly role in the department of Mass Communication, UNN. She takes a keen interest even in little details that most lecturers will never notice in their students. She is actually a role model.
In July 2011, I bagged my undergraduate degree from UNN. My result was impressive (Second Class, Upper Division), praise God! Life seemed bright. I was delighted not just because I was leaving the Den, but because while I was a student, a seed was sown which is still growing today.
The Seed That Is Still Growing…
While I was an undergraduate student of UNN, precisely in the year 2009, I noticed that I had a lot of Facebook friends. That was the year that the rave of Facebook started blowing in Nigeria and we spent a lot of time online chatting. Most of these my Facebook friends were my classmates and other UNN students. I suggested to them that it will be cool if we can rally ourselves and visit an orphanage. To my surprise, a lot of them indicated interest and before the end of August 2009, almost 30 friends of mine came together and we visited the orphanage.
That outing was just the beginning. Today, by God’s grace, I have a full blown foundation called We-Care Without Borders Foundation through which we are continuing the work. We-Care is a registered non-profit organisation facilitating and operating compassion outreaches in Nigeria with a focus on social and economic development. Our mission is to care for the less privileged, feed the hungry and empower the hopeless.
Since we started in 2009, we have been able to impact the lives of children in different orphanages such Our Place of Hope Orphanage, Opi, Enugu State; Our Saviour’s Orphanage Home, Delta State; Obinwanne Motherless Babies Home, Ede-Oballa and Nsukka Orphanage Home amongst others. We have also organised various outreaches such as Hope Alive Outreach where we visited Central Primary School, Agamaede in Isi-Uzo LGA in Enugu State and donated new school bags, new school uniforms and new school sandals to the pupils of the school who previously came to school barefoot, almost naked and used cellophane bags as school bags. It was quite painful watching the children in their frayed clothes.
We were also at the Durumi IDP Camp, Abuja, where we donated food items, toiletries, gift items to the displaced residents of the camp. We have also held outreaches in Makoko Slum, Lagos where the primary school children were given school bags, study materials, food items, etc. On the streets of Enugu city, we have fed the physically challenged and we have been to Edo State amongst other places.
If you would like to know more about We-Care Without Borders Foundation, you can visit our Facebook page. You will learn more about our activities, modus operandi and how to be part of the movement if you so wish. As part of our insistence on transparency, we publish donations we receive and from whom in our annual reports and our members collectively decide how and where these monies are spent.
I must thank all the members of We-Care: the Team Members, the State Co-ordinators and every person who has ever been part of the movement through encouragement, donations and joining us for an outreach. The foundation could not have become a success without them.
Life Beyond the Den…
So far, life beyond the Den has been an interesting journey. Today, I am practising what I was taught in school. I work as the Public Relations Officer of the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State, and indeed even my first year notes have aided me a lot in my career path. Recently, I was appointed as the Public Relations Officer of all Public Relations Officers in Nigerian Colleges of Education. I am also a farmer, essayist and publisher.
All glory to God! Amen.
*Super-Jacksonites are graduates of the Mass Communication Department, UNN.
Hi! Let’s chat about this story.
Do you do any work of charity? Please share to inspire the rest of us.
Do you have a vision for humanitarian work that you hope to pursue in future? Share with us, if you will.
What and what did you learn from Ebuka’s story?
May God bless everyone of us richly as we daily use every opportunity He gives us to be our brother’s keeper in Jesus’ name.
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