Not less than 4000 primary, secondary and university students, whose hope were hanging in the balance due to no finance to continue their education now have cause to smile, having been rescues by a businessman through his foundation.
Some of the benefiting students had on October 14, converged on Echoes of Calabar Restaurant, Lagos, to have a memorable outing with their benefactor. Indeed, it could be termed emotional moment when these students who benefited from Churchill Foundation’s scholarship, met the founder of the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Dr. Olakunle Churchill.
At the event, the students, some who are already graduates, took turns to shared their testimonies, particularly of how the package came as saving grace for them and their families.
One of the beneficiaries, Faith Peace Nnajiofor, who just graduated from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said that her studies might have been truncated if the scholarship didn’t come her way in 2018.
Nnajiofor, who graduated from the department of Educational Foundation (Guidance and Counselling), said that she lost her father, who had managed diabetes for years, while she was in her third year. She confessed that it was a turbulent time for her and her family.
She said that it would have been a devastating blow on her, especially as her chances of completing her degree became slimmer due to lack of finance and support from no other sources.
Saying that she didn’t know anyone from the foundation, she thanked God for using Churchill to avert the looming shame in her family.
According to her, she became a beneficiary after a random pick from the selection process at the university, recalling that it was one of her greatest moments in life.
“The scholarship covered all my school fees and other development levies from 300-level till I graduated. Indeed it was a big relief for me and my family, particularly when I lost my dad. Before then, we had spent a lot of money on my dad’s ailment.
“I thank the founder for being in line with his destiny. As he has chosen to serve humanity with his financial resources, God will continue to uplift him in all facets of life,” Nnajiofor said.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Churchill, who is a businessman and philanthropist, said that he got the act of generosity from his grandmother and late father.
On why he started the foundation, he said tht philanthropy is like missionary, adding that God has sent everyone to this world to help people, especially the downtrodden.
He stated that the NGO was not looking back on its target to empower 500 students every year. He said that the largesse is extended to students at the primary, secondary and university levels.
He disclosed that more than 4000 students have so far benefited from the scheme.
He said: “At times, we don’t meet up with the target. This depends on the money we have on ground because we are also into other projects to uplift people from their predicaments.”
Explaining how he gets money to run the scholarships, he said that the foundation was a subsidiary of Churchill Group, comprising different companies. He said that ten per cent of the proceeds from the firms were channelled towards helping those in critical needs.
“I feel happy and fulfilled anytime the foundation put a smile on the face of any Nigerian irrespective of where he or she comes from. I also see giving as part of what I’m supposed to do. So, I’m happy when I’m doing it.
“I will continue to give to the needy til I go back to my creator. As far as I’m alive, I will continue on this path because this is what God has sent me to do.
“People don’t really see all these works in the news or social media because I just want to be done with one event and move on to the next one. I prefer the work I’m doing to speak for me. I’m not saying is not good to showcase what you are doing to help people, especially to encourage other people or bodies to do same.
“My wife is a supportive wife. She is always there for me and part of everything I do,” Churchill said.
Another beneficiary, who is a 400-level student from Educational Management, UNILAG, Ezechi Favour Onyekachi, thanked the NGO for the opportunity given to her and her family.
Feeling excited that she has so far benefited from the package in her 200 and 300 level, she prayed for God to sustain the scheme so that it could be extended to more students in the future.
On his part, Okoli Kelechukwu Onyedika, who just graduated from UNILAG, courtesy of the scholarship, said when his parents held that he has won a scholarship in 2018, their joy knew no bounds.
He said that prior the scholarship, his family were struggling to pay his fees.
“On behalf of my family and other beneficiaries, I thank Dr. Churchill and his team for this wonderful opportunity to become a graduate without any financial burden. Paying fees at UNILAG is not easy. May God continue to bless him and his family,” Onyedika said.