Obi Ndigbo SA ‘Educational Assist Project’ donated educational hampers to 100 children

The 2021 edition of the ‘Educational Assist Project’ of the Obi Ndigbo South Africa was held at the Braamfontein Recreational Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday 27th November 2021. The event was attended by members of the Nigerian community as they discussed the agenda of the day as well as the distribution of the educational hampers to the beneficiaries. One of the highlights of the event was the moving speech by Sunny-Unachukwu Chukwuemeka the Secretary-General to the Obi Ndigbo South Africa.

Read Sunny-Unachukwu Chukwuemeka John Esq. speech below;

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in South Africa, The Consul General of the Consulate General of the Republic of Nigeria in South Africa (Consul Abdulmalik Mike Ahmed), and their entourage, distinguished Ladies and gentlemen representing various community organizations here present. All protocols were observed.

Obi Ndigbo Cultural Organisation is an Independent socio-cultural organisation formed by Igbo Nigerians resident in South Africa with the mandate and institutional authority of the then the apex cultural and socio-political heads of the Igbo ethnic nationality in Nigeria (Eze Cletus Illomuanya of the South East Nigeria Council of Ndi Eze and Late Chief Dozie Ikedife of Ohaneze Ndigbo respectively) in their joint-visit to ascertain the welfare of Igbo Nigerians in South on the 26th of October 2008.

Our prime objectives are to provide a vehicle to launch the Igbo community positively into the South African mainstream socially, economically, politically, and otherwise. And to champion the advancement and propagation of inter-community integration and harmony between Igbos and all our Nigerian compatriots resident in South Africa through engagements with other Nigerian organisations in South Africa and our host communities.

The fall of the previous repugnant and racially oppressive government of this country, saw to the influx of many persons from uncountable nationalities into South Africa and with it also came the Igbo/ Nigerian Community who entered the space for the proverbial greener pastures.

With these influxes came many challenges for the new immigrant communities of which the Igbo/Nigerian community which we represent is one. For the Igbo community, a realization that the sojourn of its many peoples in South Africa and the consequent interactions and marriages will obviously create a new generation of Igbo/ Nigerians that need a rooted organisation that will like a guiding rudder, direct the Igbo Nigerian generations yet to come to the realization, appreciation, and application of our rich Igbo-Nigerian culture to build better diaspora community of Nigerians in South Africa.

It is common knowledge that there exist constant frictions that emanate now and then via our interaction as Igbos (and Nigerians at large) and our South African host communities. This realization necessitated that we as Nigerian Citizens should explore the use of our rich culture, kindness, care and Ubuntu to interface and approach our hosts closer in order to change the grossly wrong narratives about us, through positive usage of our rich cultural practices and beliefs to impress on the misinformed that we are actually a hardworking, peace-loving and industrious people who are here to add to the building of the country in many ways rather than in destroying it. It is the goal of Obi Ndigbo South Africa to constantly through our inter-community interactions, make case that a harmonious relationship between Igbos (and Nigerians at large) and our host communities is attainable.

The program that we are showcasing today is tagged EDUCATIONAL ASSIST PROGRAM. It has a great significance to us as Igbo Nigerians because it falls into the period that we must have finalized the celebration of IRI-JI/ IWA-JI being the hallmark celebration of the harvest of our agricultural and social endeavors. Iwa ji as we all know has adopted a whole new meaning amongst the Igbo in recent times as we also utilize the time not only for reaping fruits of our agricultural labour but as a time that we engage in the intellectual harvest. Worthy of note is that immediately after the harvest festivities in the Igbo calendar, comes planning for the next planting season agriculturally and intellectually. Hence, Obi Ndigbo SA scheduled this august occasion within this season of reflection and scheming, to plan investments into the intellectual development of our disadvantaged young people, by sowing into their capacity to develop educationally during the coming intellectual planting season (which is the beginning of the next academic season) through this EDUCATIONAL ASSIST PROGRAM.

Last year during our Iwa-Ji Festival and true to the avante garde nature of Obi Ndigbo, we departed from the usually meaningless end of year community merriment rife within the Nigerian Community in SA and rather decided to embark on an  ‘Educational Assistance Program ’ through which we raised funds from Igbo/Nigerian Individual and corporate donors to cater for the educational needs of the children of late Igbo/Nigerian fathers who due to the demise of the breadwinners find it extremely difficult to cope with their very important educational needs.  We provided twenty-five (25) of those kids with educational hampers containing a school bag, complete school uniforms comprising of shirts, blouses, trousers or skirts and shoes of the different schools of the 25 recipients’ kids. This year we have decided to replicate the success of that endeavor by providing for 100 of our children who fall into the above-stated category and who are spread all over the nooks and crannies of the Republic, by providing them with the same essential educational materials to commence and to continue schooling next year.

The success of this noble pursuit by Obi Ndigbo would not have been possible if we did not mention that we have received tremendous support from individuals, corporate entities, social clubs, and other organisation from the Nigerian community who have helped via donations to assist us to be able to meet up with the large budgetary demands for realizing our target. These persons and organisations realized that there had to be a paradigm shift in the way we do things in our community by realizing that our ever-growing community face a legion of challenges of which we must collectively start to find solutions for. Our partnership with these persons and organisation since we commenced on this journey has given us the hope and belief that we can do better in terms of collectively ensuring that the basic educational need of all Nigerian kids in South Africa who face severe challenges due to absence or death of a parent can be met. And we are thinking of establishing in the future, a proper fund to that effect to provide lasting and sustainable solutions to that cater for that challenge.

To our children who are recipients of these educational hampers today and their surviving parents, we would like you to know that we care for you like our children and spouses. We understand the challenges that you face and wish we can do better to alleviate your struggles. However, may this token be a reminder that you are not forgotten and that your challenges are seen and felt by us as your people.

We urge you to accept the educational hampers that we have given to you today with a cheerful heart and with the belief that tomorrow will be better for you and your children.

We promise to continue striving to raise awareness about your struggles and provide structures that can assist in the sustainable alleviation of your challenges.

We wish you all a merry Yuletide and a prosperous New Year in advance.

Once more we thank you all for joining us to make this occasion a memorable one.

Nnoo no!
Unu abiala!
Sunny-Unachukwu Chukwuemeka John Esq.
Obi Ndigbo South Africa

Ben Okoli, The President of NICASA and unidentified guests at the Obi Ndigbo Educational Assist Event

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