Monday, February 02, 2009

Former Nigerians giving back to build a school

A Nigerian couple who have made a home in the states are giving back to their homeland. Emenike and Chidi Ukazim came to America for higher education with the help of American missionaries. They have stayed here to teach in the Philadelphia area. But now want to give back to help educate the children of Nigeria.

Not only do the Ukazim's want to build a school but they also want to build businesses to employ the parents of the school children. They hope to start a recycling center and a cosmetics factory.

The website Philly Burbs brought the charity to our attention. The Ukazim's call the charity the Intercontinental Education Community Center: Nigeria. A video on the project follows this snippet.

The Ukazims are building an environmentally friendly school and clinic in Otampa, which still has no running water or electricity.

Called the Intercontinental Education Community Center, or ICEC2, it will feature a state-of-the-art school, powered by wind and solar energy, for about 700 kindergarteners through 12th-graders. Students will receive academic and vocational training and online learning will be available for adults.

A separate building will house a medical clinic, offering basic health services and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention education.

"Coming to America, the very first second I thought, 'How can I get this back home?' " said Emenike, 60. "God has given us an incredible opportunity. That's what we're living for."

The Ukazims - who have already acquired 10 acres for the complex and are working on more - estimate it will cost $300,000 to $500,000, a relatively low figure in part because of cheap labor in Nigeria. The couple is pursuing grants from the World Bank and other national and international organizations.

The project is designed and ready to go as soon as they can secure funding. They are accepting public and private donations.

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