Rochas Foundation has offered 1,000 scholarships to children in displaced camps in Benue as a result of the recent clashes in the state.
Director General of the foundation, Mrs Uloma Rochas Nwosu, made the announcement in an interview with journalists in Owerri, Imo State at the 20th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the foundation.
According to her, the offering of scholarships to the 1,000 children was part of the agenda of the foundation which is to take off one million African children from the streets by 2030.
The Benue State Government recently announced that over 10,000 children are unable to go to school as a result of killings and clashes between herdsmen and farmers forcing thousands to relocate to camps for displaced persons.
“As a foundation, we shall be offering free and qualitative education to 1,000 children at the IDP Camp in Benue State. This may not be enough considering that over 10,000 children are estimated to be out of school as a result of the recent clashes in that State,” she disclosed.
President of the foundation and Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, called on well to do citizens in Africa to establish educational foundations that could help reduce illiteracy in the continent.
He made the call at the 20th anniversary celebration of the foundation at Heroes Square, Owerri, the Imo State capital, weekend.
According to him, this call has become necessary in view of increasing illiteracy in Africa.
“Those children that have poor background can become somebody if provided opportunity to attend schools,” he noted.
He therefore appealed to well to do Africans to join in the campaign to take one million children off the streets by 2030, adding that he was convinced that children of the continent, if properly educated, are the future of the world.
“As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Rochas Foundation, I am using the opportunity to launch ‘Vision 2030’ which is aimed at taking one million African children off the streets by that date. I urge everyone to volunteer. Help train a child in school. Because I am convinced that these children, if properly trained, are the future of the world,” he declared.
Okorocha pointed out that the Rochas Foundation has come to stay in tackling the problem of the less privileged, not only in Nigeria but in other African countries.
He revealed that since inception of the Rochas Foundation College in Owerri in 2001,Â admission has increased to more than 16,000 students with more than 4,000 having graduated from the university.
In her speech, the Director General of the foundation, Mrs Nwosu said: “From the modest first Rochas foundation college, Owerri in 2001 we have grown into 10 different colleges across the country, we also have the Rochas foundation college of Africa with 5 children from 55 African countries.â€
Wife of the governor and Vice-President of the foundation, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, expressed joy that what started in Jos, Plateau State as a modest contribution to help humanity has grown into a phenomenon.
“When my husband and I decided to set up this foundation we did not know it will grow so fast this way. The children have also learnt well. By the grace of God we shall continue to do good,” she said.
Other speakers at the event include Uchechi Rochas Okorocha, Aham Rochas Okorocha and Amen Rochas Okorocha all of whom extolled the vision of the founder and publicly rededicated commitment to the cause of humanity.
The high point of the event was the handover of a fully furnished apartment, N2 million and a taxi to one Miss Onyemuwa Ihuoma Victoria who won the star prize.
The star prize winner, an orphan from Amuzi, Obowo Local Government of Imo State, emerged after the spinning of jackpot supervised by the Ambassadors of Australia, Pakistan, Gambia and Congo.
Six other winners got brand new homes and N100,000, while several others got cash prizes ranging from N300,000 to N100,000 and N50,000 respectively, while the crowd drawn from 27 local governments of the state and numbering over 12,000 went home with various categories of gift items like sewing machines, grinding machine, bags of rice, cartons of noodles, etc.
Music maestro, Timi Dakolo, hip hop sensation, Yemi Alade and Waje thrilled the audience with several tunes, while Nollywood stars, Uti Nwachukwu and Alex Ekubo, were on hand to witness the event.
The children from the Rochas Foundation Colleges made a special rendition of the Rochas Foundation anthem.