‘Taking 1m African Kids Off the Streets by 2030 Achievable’


Abimbola Akosile
The Director General of Rochas Foundation, Mrs. Uloma Rochas Nwosu, has declared that taking one million African children off the streets around the continent by the deadline year of 2030 is achievable.
Mrs. Nwosu, who spoke with journalists at her Owerri, Imo State office recently, explained that, “Rochas Foundation, where over 20,000 indigent students from across the country have benefited for almost 20 years, with almost 10,000 currently enjoying free and qualitative education in Oyo, Plateau, Kano and Imo States, is ready for greater challenges”.
Nwosu also disclosed that 55 students from five African countries are also benefiting from the foundation. “What is of apparent significance is achieving the one million mark dream in 2030, considering that it is just thirteen years from now. That is not too ambitious”, she said.
Her words: “I don’t believe that there are dreams too tall. I believe if you can dream it, you can think it and do it. So the mere fact that you can picture it, if it is an ambition then it is something you can achieve. Like I said, this is one of the core policies that my office will try to achieve, by getting more people involved in the process”.
For her, “Twenty years we have 20,000 people fed by one man. If it is possible for one man to achieve this, and you now preach that it is no longer about Rochas, and no longer about Uloma the DG, but about everybody, you will see that even when you can’t sponsor a child, you will be able to refer those who can.
“We are going to partner lots of private schools, who are making so much money from privileged children. Out of that they should be able to do some CSR (corporate social responsibility) by picking at least two children from the street. If every of such schools, corporate bodies and highly placed individuals among others could do that, then one million will just be too small to achieve by 2030.”
She debunked some insinuations that Rochas Foundation is all about politics, saying: “I heard this perception eight years ago, and about twelve years ago. When I hear this, my reaction is just to laugh it off. And my first thought is, like my dad will always say, ‘If this is politics, then let everybody get involved in this kind of politics’, and the result of that is that we are going to have five to ten million children off the streets.
“But seriously, you can’t be doing same thing consistently and successfully for twenty years; and it is still termed politics. If it is politics, after getting the office of the governor for two terms, then he would have let go. So, definitely, it is not about politics”.
Nwosu said, “Basically, as the DG what I intend doing is to further bring on more structures, and to embrace institutions and individuals as the foundation has gone it alone for twenty years. And I think it is time to get more people involved. That is one of the things my office wants to achieve. Getting more people involved in the activities of the foundation. As a result of that, we will get more African children off the streets.”
Though barely two months in office, she recalled when her foundation recently hosted the President of Liberia in Owerri, and her historic visit to ROFOCA. She said, “At that historic event with my sister, Miss Uchechi Rochas, director of the school, I saw the excitement on the faces of the children, especially when the Liberian children had the opportunity to hug their president.
“It got me emotional, and made me grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity, because these are children who lost their parents to Ebola and were roaming the streets. They never dreamt of an opportunity to shake a minister let