She lost her father to the Jos crisis in 2010, and her mother to breast cancer in 2018. And since then, Blessing Yakubu, a visually impaired lady, has been generously afflicted by sundry unpalatable conditions.
But recently, she was one of 300 indigent students from tertiary institutions across the country that got a rare ray of hope. They received one year educational and mentorship support from HillCity Foundation (HCF), a non-governmental organisation.
Blessing, a 300 level undergraduate from the University of Jos with four younger siblings, said she and her only sister are beneficiaries of the grant. She got a grant of N100, 000.
The young lady had lost her sight while she was in junior secondary school. She believes there is ability in disability and hopes to be an asset to her generation, having fulfilled her dream of starting a charity organisation. Blessing added that the educational grant she had received would help her to be focused in her studies. It has also reinforced her determination to be a blessing to others, she said.
Kalu Benard, a beneficiary from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, opined that educational support and mentorship was what many young Nigerians desire. The 400-level student of medicine, whose mentor is Dr. Uzoma Chiemezie, had previously won a grant worth N50, 000. He explained that the recipient’s academic track record and life situation are some criteria for getting the HCF grant. He said the organisation’s provision for indigent students had been helping him to take his academics more seriously.
Another beneficiary was Beauty Martins. The lady, a sustainable furniture and interior designer, told this reporter that her business was an offshoot of the mentorship, educational support and self actualization opportunities she got from the foundation.
“There are lots of people in the university who cannot continue their education because of the lack of the capacity to pay school fees. We were 300 in class but my department was able to graduate 150 students. HillCity was awesome to me,” she said.
The young lady, who is currently volunteering with Hillcity, hopes to get money from her growing business to support other beneficiaries.
Speaking at the 15th anniversary, the Lead Coordinator of HCF, Mr. Obi Imemba said indigent students could not be blamed for being in positions of need.
“Many young people in our communities lacked the direction and support needed to fulfil their destinies, and some others have had their potential abused or unharnessed at best. This status quo gravely bothered me because I could very easily have become a part of it, but I escaped it.
“We believe we all have a moral burden to support, help and build young lives and, that is the greatest investment one can make in life,” he said.
The Mentorship Coordinator, Chioma Imemba, noted that if many Nigerians could pick one person and make a difference in such a person’s life, Nigeria would be a beautiful country.
Mr Oladamola Soares, secretary and executive administrator of Hillcity, said the 15th anniversary had brought the number of beneficiaries in Nigeria to 2000.
Austin Ufomba, founder of Leadership Seed Foundation was among those that pledged to support the organisation. He advised the recipients to build themselves.
Aside educational and mentorship support, the foundation also offers economic empowerment and self-discovery and personal development programmes to the young people.