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A Nigerian Philanthropist Educates Poor Children for Free

  • James Butty

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Map of Nigeria

Rochas Okorocha says he's giving back to fulfill a promise he made to himself as a child whose parents were also poor

A Nigerian businessman is living the spirit of this holiday season by giving to the less fortunate.

Rochas Okorocha, president of the Rochas Foundation has been building schools throughout Nigeria to provide free quality secondary education for mostly orphans and downtrodden children from poor families.

Okorocha said he’s giving back to fulfill a promise he made to himself as a child whose parents were also poor.

“For me it gives me a lot of satisfaction primarily because I would have been one of those boys working around the streets because I was born into a very poor parentage. I almost did not go to school if help did not come from above that I was able to acquire education. So for me it was a vow I made…that in any way God helps me I will help those who do not have,” he said.

Okorocha said although the education his organization provides is free, there are certain requirements that all potential students must meet.

“The basic qualification is that you must be a child from the poorest of a poor family, a child who ordinarily wouldn’t have gone to school if you did not have anybody taking you to school. You should be able to pass the common entrance exams of the school and take the necessary interview before you can get into the school,” Okorocha said.

He said the criteria are necessary to make sure that students seeking admission are intelligent and who have been deprived from getting the basic education because of their poor backgrounds.

Okorocha said his effort to educate less fortunate children is based purely on sacrifice.

“What we have done basically, because we are not getting help from anywhere in the world, some of our business investment as a company, a major percentage of the income goes to the institutions to pay for the teachers, set up buildings and pay for the kids,” Okorocha said.

He said the Rochas Foundation is looking for partners to achieve what he called a tall dream.

“First and foremost Christ gave his life for mankind. And yet we are not asking that you give your life; we’re not asking that you give all that you have. We are asking that you give a token of what you have for the poor,” Okorocha said.

When the first school opened in October 2001, it admitted just 200 students. Today, Rochas Okorocha said he's is educating 4,000 students, providing free tuition, uniforms, text books, medical care, and monthly stipends.

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